18 Facts About Busby Berkeley


Busby Berkeley's works used large numbers of showgirls and props as fantasy elements in kaleidoscopic on-screen performances.


Busby Berkeley made his stage debut at five, acting in the company of his performing family.


Busby Berkeley's top shot technique appeared seminally in the Cantor films, and the 1932 Universal film Night World.


Busby Berkeley's numbers were known for starting in the realm of the stage, but quickly exceeding this space by moving into a time and place that could only be cinematic, to return to shots of an applauding audience and the fall of a curtain.


Busby Berkeley used one camera to achieve this, instead of the usual four, to retain control over his vision so no director could edit the film.


Busby Berkeley always denied any deep significance to his work, arguing that his main professional goals were to top himself and never repeat his past accomplishments.


Busby Berkeley had several well-publicized run-ins with MGM stars such as Judy Garland.

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Busby Berkeley's next stop was at 20th Century-Fox for 1943's The Gang's All Here, in which Berkeley choreographed Carmen Miranda's "Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat" number.


Busby Berkeley returned to MGM in the late 1940s, where he conceived the Technicolor finales for the studio's Esther Williams films.


Busby Berkeley toured the college and lecture circuit as well as directed a 1930s-style cold medication commercial for Contac capsules titled the "Cold Diggers of 1969", complete with a top shot of a dancing clock.


The 75-year-old Busby Berkeley returned to Broadway to direct a successful revival of No No Nanette, starring his old Warner Brothers colleague and 42nd Street star Ruby Keeler; both played cameos in the 1970 film The Phynx the same year.


Busby Berkeley's wives included actresses Merna Kennedy, Esther Muir, the starlet Claire James, and Etta Dunn, who survived him.


Busby Berkeley was involved in an alienation of affections lawsuit in 1938 involving Carole Landis, and he was engaged to Lorraine Stein.


Busby Berkeley drank heavily, often having martinis in his daily bath.


In September 1935, Busby Berkeley was responsible for an automobile accident in which two people were killed and five seriously injured.


Busby Berkeley was admitted to a hospital for an extended stay, an experience which severely affected his mental state.


Busby Berkeley died from natural causes on March 14,1976, in Palm Springs, California at the age of 80.


Busby Berkeley is buried in the Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California.