Matt Mattox, Hollywood jazz dancer, dies

Matt Mattox appeared in "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" in 1954.

A master of dance who lit up Hollywood has died.

Matt Mattox was 91 when he died in France on Feb. 18, The New York Times reported. The newspaper did not list a cause of death.

Mattox was hailed as one of the best dancers in America and was cast in "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" in 1954.

The Los Angeles Times cited three of Mattox's most memorable moments from "Seven Brides" as when he wields an ax, vaults a sawhorse and pirouettes on a plank.

Jacques d'Amboise appeared in the movie with Mattox and told the Times, "Everyone on the movie set agreed that he was the best dancer of all. He's up there on Mt. Everest with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly."

As successful and respected as he was, Mattox, who learned to dance at age 5, decided to leave Hollywood in the 1950s to focus on teaching and choreography. The Times reported that he went to New York City and later Europe, establishing himself as an influential component in the evolution of jazz dance along the way.

Even as his fame back home in America faded, his star brightened overseas, where he became known as a catalyst for the jazz dance scene, the Times said.

The New York Times reported that Mattox choreographed "The Bell Telephone Hour" for NBC in 1959, as well as "Jennie," a Broadway musical that opened in 1963. In the '70s, the Times said, he started his own dance company, JazzArt, in London, later moving it with him to France.


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