Monday, March 31, 2014

RIP Marc Platt

RIP Marc Platt
By Mary Ellen Hunt
March 31, 2014
Marc Platt, a renown dancer of stage and screen and one of the last remaining members of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, died Saturday in Marin, his daughter Donna Platt said. He was 100.
Mr. Platt, whose reminiscences about the company are documented in the 2005 movie "Ballet Russe," is perhaps best remembered as the original Dream Curly in the 1943 Broadway production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!" and as Daniel Pontipee, the fourth brother in Stanley Donen's 1954 musical film "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers."
While with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, Mr. Platt also choreographed the 1939 production of Rodgers' "Ghost Town." He left the company in 1942 to pursue a career on Broadway, where he was chosen by Agnes de Mille to originate the romantic dream ballet sequence in "Oklahoma!"
For many years Mr. Platt continued to perform in stage and then in movies, dancing with Rita Hayworth in "Tonight and Every Night," and starring as Junior Casady in the 1946 film "Tars and Spars," before landing the role of one of the sprightly and dashing brothers in "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers." Mr. Platt also can be seen as one of Curly's friends in the 1955 film adaptation of "Oklahoma!"
Marcel LePlat was born on Dec. 2, 1913, in Pasadena. In the 1920s, his family moved to Seattle, where his early dance training took place under Mary Ann Wells. It was Wells who advised the young man to audition for the renowned Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, then led by Colonel Wassily De Basil. Choreographer Leonide Massine hired the good-looking tall red-headed American and changed his name to Marc Platoff, to match the "Russianized" image of the company. The energetic, lanky young dancer would tour with that company until Massine founded his own offshoot of the Ballet Russe with Rene Blum in 1938, and Platt became a founding member of the new company.
During a tour of "Kiss Me Kate," he met Jean Goodall, whom he would later marry in 1951 and with whom he has two children. Goodall, who co-directed a dance school in Florida with her husband for many years, died in 1994.
In the late '50s and early '60s, Mr. Platt appeared on television and also the cabaret stage. In 1962, he was appointed director of the Radio City Music Hall ballet company in New York.
Ever the irrepressible character and a passionate dance artist throughout his life, Mr. Platt continued to perform well into his 90s, appearing in Marin Dance Theater's "Nutcracker" as the Toymaker.
As he told The Chronicle last December on the occasion of his hundredth birthday, "Always do what you love for as long as you can. I was a dancer and I'm always a dancer."
Mr. Platt is survived by his son Ted LePlat, from his marriage to Eleanor Marra; and from his marriage to Goodall, his son Michael and daughter, Donna and her partner, Stewart Munson, as well as granddaughter Casey Price. A memorial for Mr. Platt is pending.
PLATT, Marc (Marcel Emile Gaston LePlat)
Born: 12/2/2013, Pasadena, California, U.S.A.
Died: 3/29/2014, Marin, California, U.S.A.
Marc Platt’s westerns – actor, dancer:
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers – 1954 (Daniel Pontipee)
Oklahoma! – 1955 [dancer]
The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (TV) – 1958 (Mel Herrick)
Hotel de Paree (TV) – 1960 (Gaskins)

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