Professional Dancers Society & The Gypsy Awards

Professional Dancers Society & The Gypsy Awards
Dancers from movies & TV get the spotlight at Gypsy Gala

That’s Entertainment was the title of a series of feature films glorifying the Golden Age of movie musicals. Those magnificent musicals would not have been the same without the hardest working performers in show business– the dancers.

At the recent 24th Annual Gypsy Awards presented by the Professional Dancers Society, it was emphasized just how hard the dancers work. After years of training, injuries, and very little pay for the endless hours they spend perfecting their craft, a precious few gain acclaim and stardom. The president of the Professional Dancers Society, Mitzi Gaynor is a great example of that. But most of the “gypsies,” the dancers who go from show to show working their tootsies off adding pizzazz to movies and television productions, do it because dance is their greatest passion.

The ballroom at the Beverly Hilton Hotel was packed with those fabulous folks and friends supporting the entertainment industry’s toe-tapping pros. Plus there was entertainment from a new generation of dancers, with Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo (So You think You Can Dance choreographers) doing a breathtaking Argentine Tango. A snappy chorus line number from the Will Roger’s Follies was another showstopper.

There was a special loving roast to Carl Reiner, comedian, actor, writer, producer, director– and yes, a dancer. He was noted for his “crazy legs” routines, most notably on Sid Caeser’s Your Show of Shows. On the dais were musical stars Dick Van Dyke, Florence Henderson, Carol Lawrence, and comic Norm Crosby. Betty White presented this year’s Gypsy Award to Reiner.

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Norm Crosby, Betty White & Carol Lawrence

Among the musical stars making presentations was sensational Stefanie Powers, who says yoga is the secret to a long and active life. Plus, Margaret O’Brien and Betty Garrett, who introduced a special memorial to her late-great On The Town co-star Vera-Ellen. Lee Hale put together an impressive film tribute to Vera-Ellen and an homage to the stars of movie musical and television variety shows.

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Stefanie Powers

Event chairlady Joni Berry handled the hosting duties. And among the celebrities on hand were Bill Hayes and wife Susan Seaforth Hayes, Ruta Lee, Anne Jeffreys, Jane Kean, Bea Wain, Ann Rutherford, Monty Hall, Dick Van Patten, John Byner, Barbara Bain, Mamie Van Doren, Paramount’s A.C. Lyles, and designer Bob Mackie, who added dazzle to Mitzi Gaynor’s dance numbers on the vintage variety show.


Frank Barron is the former editor of The Hollywood Reporter, having served twice in that capacity. In between, he was West Coast news director for Billboard Publications, supervising their five magazines. Barron also created the western TV series “The Man From Blackhawk” for the ABC network. For more than three decades he and writer-wife Margie Barron have covered Hollywood for Production Update magazine, and they currently contribute to numerous publications. Frank started in showbiz as publicity director for the KHJ radio and television station. Before moving to California, he was a sports editor in New Jersey.

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