Saturday, March 6, 2010
Marge Champion was the daughter of Hollywood dance director Ernest Belcher and Gladys Lee Baskette. She was a ballet instructor at her father's studio by age twelve. She was hired by Disney as a dance model for their film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. She later modeled for the Blue Fairy in Pinocchio and the Dancing Hippo in Fantasia. She became a Hollywood legend with second husband Gower Champion (1921-1980) as a dancing team during MGM's Golden Age of the 1940s and 50s. MGM wanted them to remake Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films, but only one, Roberta (1935), remade as Lovely to Look At (1952). They performed in the 1951 version of Show Boat and their own show, Everything I Have Is Yours. Champion first married Art Babbitt (1907–1992), a Walt Disney's top animator. She married Gower Champion in 1947. They divorced in 1973 and had two sons, Blake and actor Gregg Champion. Her third marriage was to Boris Sagal, father of actress Katey Sagal. Since retiring, Marge Champion works as a dance teacher and choreographer in New York City. In 1982, she made a rare television acting appearance on the dramatic series Fame, playing a ballet teacher.