Dancer Ann Miller dead at 81

Jan. 22, 2004 at 6:46 PM

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Ann Miller, a leading star of Hollywood's golden age of musical comedy, died of lung cancer in Los Angeles Thursday. She was 81.

A spokeswoman for Miller said the star of such musicals as "On the Town" and "Kiss Me Kate" died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Born Johnnie Lucille Collier in Houston, Miller was sent to dance school as therapy for a case of rickets. By age 12, she was supporting herself and her mother by dancing.

She graduated from vaudeville and nightclubs to Hollywood, breaking in with small parts before being featured as a dancer in the 1936 musical "The Devil on Horseback." She went on to star with Katharine Hepburn and Lucille Ball in "Stage Door," with James Stewart in "You Can't Take It with You," and The Marx Brothers in "Room Service."

Miller enjoyed a renewed popularity in the 1980s when she joined fellow MGM musical star Mickey Rooney in the Broadway and touring productions of the musical review "Sugar Babies." Most recently, she appeared in the 2001 David Lynch drama "Mulholland Falls.

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