Nora Kaye

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Nora Kaye-Ross (January 17, 1920 – February 28, 1987) was an American prima-ballerina known for her ability to perform dramatic roles. Called the Duse of Dance after the acclaimed actress Eleonora Duse, she also worked in films as a choreographer and producer and performed on Broadway.

External video
You may watch Nora Kay partnered with Hugh Laing dancing The Gods Go a-Begging (Les Dieux Mendiants) at Jacob's Pillow in 1951 here on

Personal life[edit]

Kaye was born Nora Koreff in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrant parents, Louise (1895-1973) and Gregory Joseph Koreff (1893-1976).[1] She later changed her surname to Kaye.


In 1936, she joined the American Ballet, directed by George Balanchine. She later became a member of the Radio City Music Hall corps de ballet and danced in several Broadway productions, including Giselle (1941), Antony Tudor's Pillar of Fire (1946), and Two's Company (1952), a revue starring Bette Davis. She worked as an assistant on the musicals I Can Get It for You Wholesale (1962), Tovarich (1963), and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1965).

Kaye married Michael Van Buren in 1943 (divorced) and married violinist Isaac Stern in 1948 (divorced).[2] She was briefly engaged to Jerome Robbins in 1951.[3] She married the film director, producer, choreographer and actor Herbert Ross in August 1959. The couple collaborated on several screen projects, including Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), The Last of Sheila (1973), Funny Lady and The Sunshine Boys (both 1975), and The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976). Playwright and screenwriter Arthur Laurents claimed in his autobiography Original Story By (2000) that he and Kaye had an on-again, off-again romantic relationship after he was discharged from the U.S. Army in 1946.[4]

Kaye's producing credits include The Turning Point (1977), Nijinsky (1980), Pennies from Heaven (1981) and The Secret of My Succe$s (1987).


Kaye-Ross died from cancer in Los Angeles at age 67, and is buried with her husband Herbert Ross in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles. Their gravestone is inscribed "They Loved Each Other".


  1. ^ Profile,; accessed December 13, 2015.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Arthur Laurents, Original Story By Arthur Laurents: A Memoir of Broadway and Hollywood (Alfred A. Knopf, 2000), pp. 41–49; ISBN 978-0-375-40055-1

External links[edit]