Shearer, Moira (1926–2006)

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Shearer, Moira (1926–2006)

Scottish ballerina and actress. Name variations: Mrs. Ludovic Kennedy. Born Moira Shearer King, Jan 17, 1926, in Dunfermline, Fifeshire, Scotland; died Jan 31, 2006, in Oxford, England; dau. of Harold Charles King (civil engineer) and Margaret Crawford (Reid) Shearer; m. Ludovic Kennedy (writer and lecturer), 1950.

Joined the International Ballet Company (1941), and danced as the Fairy of Song Birds in Aurora's Wedding and the Guardian Swallow in Planetomania; danced with the Vic-Wells Ballet in the Pas de deux in Orpheus and Eurydice, and became soloist (1942), dancing such roles as the Serving Maid in The Gods Go a-Begging, the Pas de deux in Les Patineurs, the Nightingale in The Birds, Pride in The Quest, Pas de trois and Rendezvous pas de deux in Promenade (all 1943), the Polka in Façade, The Butterfly in Le Festin d'araignée, the Young Girl in Spectre de la rose, Chiarina in Le Carnaval, and A Lover in Miracle in the Gorbals (all 1944), Odile in Swan Lake, Mlle Théodore in The Prospect Before Us, Lover in The Wanderer, Countess Kitty in Les Sirèns, and the Dancer in The Rake's Progress (all 1945); earned rank of ballerina (1946); made film debut in The Red Shoes (1948), which was an enormous international success; danced the title role in Giselle at Edinburgh Festival (1948) to great success; appeared on stage and in film (1948–62); retired from dancing (1954), except for a single tv appearance in Gillian Lynne's A Simple Man; choreographed for the Northern Ballet Theater (1987); on theatrical stage, performed for an entire season with the Bristol Old Vic (1955–56); appeared in title role in Major Barbara in London (1956); wrote Balletmaster: A Dancer's View of George Balanchine (1986); her success as a dancer and actress in films tends to overshadow her achievements in ballet. Films include Tales of Hoffmann (1951), The Story of Three Loves (1953), The Man Who Loved Redheads (1954), Peeping Tom (1960) and Black Tights (1962).

See also Women in World History.