May 11, 1932|
Fresno, California, U.S.
|Died||February 19, 2013
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Tybee Arfa (1958-?) (1 child)
Jordan Michaels (1986-?)
Sondra Scott (1970-?) (1 child)
|Children||Christina (with Scott)
Giavonna (with Michaels)
John F. Brascia (May 11, 1932 – February 19, 2013) was an American actor and dancer, best known for his dancing partnerships on film with Vera-Ellen in White Christmas (1954) and with Cyd Charisse and Liliane Montevecchi in Meet Me in Las Vegas (1956).
John Frank Brascia was born on May 11, 1932, in California, to Italian immigrants Gaetano (Galtano, Tommy) Brascia and Caterina "Katie" Napolitano. The Brascia clan including grandparents Mike and Consetta Brascia moved from Brooklyn, New York, before John Frank was born. John had older sister Cecilia and brother Vincent. The oldest of the Brascia children was their who graduated from Colton High School (Colton is a suburb of San Bernardino, California) in 1945. The Brascia family attended the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church of Colton where in the late spring of 1944 John received his first Holy Communion.
Johnny Brascia was a high-school basketball player beginning in his sophomore year at Colton High, acting as a co-captain. At 5’11” he took the position of guard in his junior year; he was a starter for the Colton Yellowjackets. He played for Colton on the football squad as the starting quarterback in his junior and senior years.
Brascia was a featured dancer with Vera-Ellen in White Christmas (1954) and with Cyd Charisse and Liliane Montevecchi in Meet Me in Las Vegas (1956). With dancer Tybee Arfa (1932–1982), the dance team known as Brascia and Tybee became - beginning in 1957 - a top specialty in major U.S. nightclubs, appearing as the opening act for artists like Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne, Tony Martin and George Burns, among others. Married in 1958, the duo appeared frequently on television's The Ed Sullivan Show (1958–1966) and on The Hollywood Palace (1967). Brascia began acting in non-dancing film roles beginning in 1967, culminating in 1980's The Baltimore Bullet for which he was Producer, and credited with the film's Story and Screenplay.
Brascia made his Broadway debut on February 11, 1953 in the musical version of the film "Nothing Sacred," titled Hazel Flagg, which featured a score by Jule Styne and Bob Hilliard. The production was supervised and choreographed by Robert Alton (who choreographed the film White Christmas, featuring Brascia, a year later). Brascia won a Donaldson Award for his performance in the musical.
John Brascia was a featured dancer in The Magic Carpet Revue, New York - Paris - Paradise, which opened at the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas on May 23, 1955 and starred Vera-Ellen with a cast of 60.
"... the entire evening was built around Vera-Ellen, who tapped and did ballet and sang, happily undubbed, and wore gorgeous costumes by Hollywood's famed designer Howard Shoup. ... Her routines were based on those developed for her by Robert Alton. She did partnered dances with friend John Brascia, who was also given solo dancing opportunities."
Meet Me in Las Vegas " ... the best thing, by far, is the finale — a gaudy, satiric ballet, done to the old "Frankie and Johnny" ballad, as arranged by Johnny Green. Miss Charisse is accompanied in this one by Liliane Montevecchi as "the other dame" and John Brascia as the luckless Johnny, and the ballad, with modern bebop lyrics, by Sammy Cahn, is sung by the off-screen voice of Sammy Davis Jr. It's crazy, man! And cool!" -- Bosley Crowther, New York Times
- White Christmas (1954)
- Meet Me in Las Vegas (1956)
- The Ambushers (1967)
- The Wrecking Crew (1969)
- Executive Action (1973)
- Walking Tall (1973)
- Pray for the Wildcats (1974)
- S.W.A.T. (1975)
- Joe and Sons (1976)
- The Baltimore Bullet (1980)
- "Bingle All The Way - Crosby And Kaye Celebrate An Early 'White Christmas'". Life Magazine. October 11, 1954. Retrieved January 8, 2011. Photo of Brascia in "Mandy" production number. Check date values in:
- imdb.com, Tybee Brascia.
- Powell (2007), pp. 169-171.
- Powell (2007), p. 251.
- imdb.com, Brascia and Tybee.
- imdb.com, The Baltimore Bullet.
- ibdb.com, Hazel Flagg.
- Bloom and Vlastnik (2004), p. 312. Color photo of subject with Helen Gallagher.
- Suskin (1990), p. 294.
- Powell (2007), p. 170. Powell incorrectly reports that John Brascia won a Tony Award; she must have confused this with the Donaldson Award.
- Soren (2003), pp. 159-160.
- New York Times. March 14, 1956. Missing or empty
- Bloom, Ken and Vlastnik, Frank. Broadway Musicals - The 101 Greatest Shows Of All Time. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 2004. ISBN 1-57912-390-2.
- Powell, Josephine. Tito Puente: When The Drums Are Dreaming. Bloomington, IN: Author House, 2007. ISBN 978-1-4259-8158-7 (hard cover). ISBN 978-1-4259-8157-0 (soft cover).
- Soren, David, with Banasiak, Meredith and Johnston, Bob. Vera-Ellen - The Magic and the Mystery. Baltimore, MD: Luminary Press, 2003. ISBN 1-887664-48-3.
- Suskin, Steven. Opening Night On Broadway - A Critical Quotebook of the Golden Era of the Musical Theatre, Oklahoma! (1943) to Fiddler on the Roof (1964). New York: Schirmer Books, 1990. ISBN 0-02-872625-1.