Collier, Lucille Ann 1919(?)-2004 (Johnnie Lucille Collier, Ann Miller)
COLLIER, Lucille Ann 1919(?)-2004 (Johnnie Lucille Collier, Ann Miller)
See index for CA sketch: Born April 12, 1919 (some sources say May 15, 1923), in Chireno (some sources say Houston), TX; died of lung cancer, January 22, 2004, in Los Angeles, CA. Entertainer and author. Collier, who was best known by her stage name, Ann Miller, was a famous dancer and actress during the heyday of Hollywood musicals. Her career began when she was just a child performing in clubs. In her twenties, she traveled to Hollywood, and her incredible tap-dancing skills—she could dance at a lightning speed of five hundred taps per minute—and good looks quickly won her a contract in 1937 with the studio RKO. Her first movie, New Faces of 1937, appeared that year, followed by such films as Stage Door and the Oscar-winning You Can't Take It with You. During World War II, Miller starred in a string of Hollywood B films; then, in 1948, she signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and enjoyed stardom in such successful musical hits as Easter Parade, On the Town, Two Tickets to Broadway, Lovely to Look At, and Kiss Me Kate. With the decline in popularity of musicals in the mid-1950s, Miller turned increasingly to stage work, starring in productions of Mame, Blithe Spirit, Can-Can, Panama Hattie and Hello, Dolly, as well as acting in television shows and performing in night clubs. The greatest success of her later career, beginning in 1979, was her long-running tour with Mickey Rooney in Sugar Babies, in which she continued to dazzle audiences with her dancing. She also received acclaim in 1998 when she performed in Stephen Sondheim's Follies. Spending her golden years in Beverly Hills, California, and Sedona, Arizona, Miller penned the books Miller's High Life (1972), Tops in Taps (1981), and Tapping into the Force (1990).
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, Volume 4, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1987.
International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, 4th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2000.
Chicago Tribune, January 23, 2004, section 3, p. 11.
Los Angeles Times, January 23, 2004, p. B10.
New York Times, January 23, 2004, p. A23.
Times (London, England), January 24, 2004.
Washington Post, January 23, 2004, p. B7.