Lindy Hop Dancer Was 98

Jean Veloz, the progressive Lindy Hop dancer who dazzled in Swing Fever and different Hollywood musicals of the Forties, has died. She was 98.

Veloz died Sunday at her residence in Los Angeles, her buddy, agent and supervisor Rusty Frank informed The truestarz. Frank co-produced the 2010 occasion A Tribute to the Groovie Film, which celebrated Veloz and her contribution to bop.

“Jean innovated a mode of swing dance that was admired around the globe,” Frank stated. “It was silky clean and tremendously contrasted the extra jitterbug model prevalent through the Nineteen Thirties-’40s.”

Generations of dancers idolized her.

In MGM’s Swing Fever (1943), Veloz whirled with servicemen portrayed by Lennie Smith and Don Gallagher within the high-octane quantity “One Woman and Two Boys,” accompanied by Kay Kyser’s band and sandwiched between Marilyn Maxwell’s singing.

She additionally did the jitterbug in The place Are Your Kids? (1943), starring Jackie Cooper; danced with Bob Ashley in Jive Junction (1943), starring Dickie Moore; partnered with rug-cutter/hep cat Arthur Walsh within the 10-minute MGM swing brief Groovie Film (1944); and stepped out with Dean Collins in The Horn Blows at Midnight (1945), starring a trumpet-playing Jack Benny.

After showing within the refrain line of Nick Fort-choreographed productions in 1946 on the El Rancho Vegas lodge, she began coaching with Frank Veloz at one of many faculties he operated together with his spouse, Yolanda. (The famend dance couple appeared in movies together with 1942’s Pleasure of the Yankees.)

Quickly, she would accomplice with him. They taught Anthony Dexter the tango for the title function in Valentino (1951) and had been choreographers on Latin Lovers (1953), starring Lana Turner, Rita Moreno and Ricardo Montalban, earlier than marrying in 1963.

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Jean Grinnell Phelps was born on March 1, 1924, in Los Angeles. She and her brothers, Robert and Raymond, typically practiced the Lindy Hop with their mates in the lounge at residence. Later, she and Ray received a jitterbug contest in Santa Maria, California, in a contest with greater than 500 different dancers.

Teaming with Gene Halverson, she prevailed in a dance contest at Hollywood Legion Stadium, and the victory got here with a Display screen Actors Guild card and a task in Swing Fever. In 1947, she married Harold “Babe” Davi, however they might divorce.

As Jean Davi, she and Frank Veloz starred on a 1956-57 L.A. recreation present known as Fare for Girls, doing the tango, waltz, rhumba, samba, swing and foxtrot whereas educating these dances on dwell tv.

They later helped out choreographer Marge Champion on the acclaimed 1975 CBS telefilm Queen of the Stardust Ballroom, starring Maureen Stapleton and Charles Durning.

She retired when her husband died in 1981, however the filming of a swing documentary in 1992 introduced her again to performing. She was inducted into the California Swing Dance Corridor of Fame in 1996.

Veloz served as a dance teacher on ABC’s The Bachelorette in 2016 and danced to “One Woman and Two Boys” a yr in a while NBC on the Steve Harvey-hosted Little Massive Photographs: Ceaselessly Younger. At age 95, she lindy hopped to “Love Me or Go away Me.”

Veloz made numerous appearances through the years as a particular visitor artist at dance festivals worldwide, the final one in February 2020 at Rock That Swing in Germany.

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Survivors embody her niece, Stacey. Her late step-daughter, Yolanda, was married to actor Bernie Kopell from 1974 till their 1995 divorce.

“Each second spent with Jean was a lesson on how you can dwell a life,” stated Frank, who first met Veloz in 1997. “Her constructive angle was unparalleled, her love of individuals immense.”



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