Wednesday, February 20, 2013

RIP Matt Mattox

Dancer, actor Matt Mattox passed away on February 18th in France.

Matt Mattox was born 1921 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, spent thirty years in Hollywood performing in movies, and the last thirty years in France teaching dance.    

Beginning his movie career in 1944, Matt Mattox danced in twenty-five movies, ten in which he had featured spots. Matt also appeared with Carol Burnett in Once Upon a Mattress where he played the Minstrel. However, it is as Caleb, the third oldest brother in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers he is best known.  This memorable performance included split jumping over planks during the barn dance and a slow-motion solo singing the Lonesome Polecat lament for a bride.

Matt taught dance in Hollywood beginning in the 1950s.  In the 1970s he moved to France where he taught the Matt Mattox system of modern jazz or "free style" dance.  Now in his eighties and still teaching, he lives with his wife in Perpignan, southern France.

Faithful to his way of being, Matt Mattox left us with great discretion. Known and admired throughout the world, the American mestizo origins of Irish and Scots had begun a journey of great sportsmanship. Football, baseball, diving, swimming and athletics had revealed its qualities of balance and speed. But he had the soul of an artist and at eleven years he played, danced and sang on the stage of the theater district of Tulsa (Oklahoma). He told at the age of five years he had learned a tap dance with a black porter.
 Despite the reluctance of his parents, he took advantage of the move to Los Angeles to enroll in a dance class. This was the beginning of an incredible career. During the war he was mobilized and served in the U.S. Air Force as a fighter pilot.

Partner Marilyn and Fred Astaire

From 1945 to 1960, Matt Mattox will play, sing and dance in thirteen movies with Fred Astaire for partners, Esther Williams, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland ... Hired by Metro Goldwyn Meyer, it provides the choreography of many musicals. A tour of Australia, a television series, as Dance Masters of America, yet the dancer prefers to focus on teaching rather than stardom. It was during an internship in London he met the dancer will become Martine Limeul his wife and muse five years later. Thus, the U.S. moved to Perpignan and founded his school where hundreds of dancers past.

The couple then travels the world to teach the art of tap and modern jazz style.

It is not known another passion: golf. Ignoring the honors, preferring the floor studios that of society salons, Matt Mattox who liked to say "I will continue until my last breath," had stopped teaching there is a little more than a year. Its elegance, energy and style marked the world of dance and remain references.

Condolences to Limeul Martine and his family. A Mass will be held Friday at 11 am at St-Mathieu in Perpignan.

MATTOX, Matt (Harold Mattox)
Born: 8/18/1921, Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.A.
Died: 2/18/2013, Perpignan, Pyrénées-Orientales, France

Matt Mattox's western - actor:
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers - 1954 (Caleb Pontipee)

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