'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers' Dancer Marc Platt Dies at 100

With Rita Hayworth (right) and Dorothy Hart in "Down to Earth."
With Rita Hayworth (right) and Dorothy Hart in "Down to Earth."
 Courtesy of Everett Collection

Marc Platt, who danced up a storm on stage and screen in Oklahoma! and played the fourth brother in the classic 1954 Stanley Donen musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, has died. He was 100.

Platt, who danced in the 1930s with the famed Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, died Saturday in Marin, Calif., his daughter Donna told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Platt also displayed some fancy footwork in the Rita Hayworth films Tonight and Every Night (1945) and Down to Earth (1947) and appeared with comic Sid Caesar in the musical Tars and Spars (1946).

Platt created the role of Dream Curly in the 1943 original Broadway production of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, then appeared as a friend of Curly’s (played in the movie by Gordon MacRae) in the 1955 film musical directed by Fred Zinnemann.

In Seven Brides for Seven Brothers -- choreographed by the legendary Michael Kidd and one of the earliest CinemaScope movies made for MGM -- Platt played Daniel, one of the rugged Pontipee brothers living in the Oregon mountains in the 1850s. He marries Martha (Norma Doggett) in the film.

Platt also appeared in such features as You’re In the Army Now (1941), The Swordsman (1948) and Addio Mimi! (1949) and on such TV shows as Sky King, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, State Trooper and Matlock.

Born Marcel LePlat in Pasadena on Dec. 2, 1913, Platt grew up in Seattle and trained for eight years with renowned dance teacher Mary Ann Wells.

He told The Seattle Times in a 2005 interview how he came to love dance: “I walked up to the barre, and grabbed the barre, and I saw all these pretty little girls. I thought, ‘Wow, I could like this.’ ”

His career took off in the 1930s after he landed a spot with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, which had stopped in Washington during a tour. (His name was Russianized to Marc Platoff during his time with the company, which many credit as giving birth to modern ballet.) He reminisced about those years in the 2005 documentary Ballets Russes.

In 1939, Platt choreographed a ballet to music by Rodgers called “Ghost Town” -- which premiered at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York -- then departed for Broadway to star as Curly in Agnes de Mille’s ballet sequence in the original Oklahoma!, the first musical from Rodgers & Hammerstein.

In the 1950s, he toured in a cabaret team with Kathryn Lee and continued acting on stage.

Platt accepted an invitation in 1962 to become the first guest producer-choreographer at Radio City Music Hall in New York and later opened a ballet school in Florida with his wife, Jean Goodall, whom he had met during a tour of Kiss Me Kate. She died in 1994.

Twitter: @mikebarnes4

 

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