43 Facts About Jerome Robbins


Jerome Robbins received two Academy Awards, including the 1961 Academy Award for Best Director with Robert Wise for West Side Story and a special Academy Honorary Award for his choreographic achievements on film.


Jerome Robbins was the son of Lena Robbins and Harry Rabinowitz.


Jerome Robbins graduated in 1935 from Woodrow Wilson High School.


Jerome Robbins began studying modern dance in high school with Alys [CK] Bentley, who encouraged her pupils to improvise steps to music.


Jerome Robbins joined the company of Senya Gluck Sandor, a leading exponent of expressionistic modern dance; it was Sandor who recommended that he change his name to Robbins.


In 1937 Jerome Robbins made the first of many appearances as a dancer at Camp Tamiment, a resort in the Poconos known for its weekly Broadway-style revues; and he began dancing in the choruses of Broadway shows, including Great Lady and Keep Off the Grass, both choreographed by George Balanchine.


Jerome Robbins had begun creating dances for Tamiment's Revues, some of them comic and some dramatic, topical, and controversial.


From 1941 through 1944, Jerome Robbins was a soloist with the company, attracting notice for his performance as Hermes in Helen of Troy, the title role in Petrouchka, the Youth in Agnes de Mille's Three Virgins and a Devil, and Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet; he came under the influence of the choreographers Michel Fokine, Antony Tudor, and George Balanchine.


Jerome Robbins performed in it when it was presented at the Metropolitan Opera as part of the Ballet Theatre's 1944 season.


Later that year, Jerome Robbins conceived and choreographed On the Town, a musical partly inspired by Fancy Free, which effectively launched his Broadway career.


Jerome Robbins's next musical was a jazz-age fable, Billion Dollar Baby.


Two years later, Jerome Robbins received plaudits for his humorous Mack Sennett ballet, High Button Shoes, and won his first Tony Award for choreography.


That same year, Jerome Robbins would become one of the first members of New York City's newly formed Actors Studio, attending classes held by founding member Robert Lewis three times a week, alongside classmates including Marlon Brando, Maureen Stapleton, Montgomery Clift, Herbert Berghof, Sidney Lumet, and about 20 others.


In 1949 Jerome Robbins left Ballet Theatre to join George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein's newly formed New York City Ballet as Associate Artistic Director.


At New York City Ballet Jerome Robbins distinguished himself immediately as both dancer and choreographer.


Jerome Robbins was noted for his performances in Balanchine's 1929 "The Prodigal Son", Til Eulenspiegel, and Bouree Fantasque, as well as for his own ballets, such as Age of Anxiety, The Cage, Afternoon of a Faun, and The Concert, in all of which LeClercq played leading roles.


Jerome Robbins continued working on Broadway, as well as, staging dances for Irving Berlin's Call Me Madam, starring Ethel Merman, Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I, in which he created the celebrated "Small House of Uncle Thomas" ballet in addition to other dances, and the revue Two's Company, starring Bette Davis.


Jerome Robbins performed uncredited show doctoring on the musicals A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Wish You Were Here, Wonderful Town, and choreographed and directed several sketches for The Ford 50th Anniversary Show, starring Mary Martin and Ethel Merman on CBS.


In 1954, Jerome Robbins collaborated with George Abbott on The Pajama Game, which launched the career of Shirley MacLaine, and created, choreographed, and directed the Mary Martin vehicle, Peter Pan.


Jerome Robbins directed and co-choreographed Bells Are Ringing, starring Judy Holliday.


Jerome Robbins recreated his stage dances for The King and I for the 1956 film version.


Jerome Robbins re-teamed with Sondheim and Laurents, and the music was by Jule Styne.


In 1950, Jerome Robbins was called to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, suspected of Communist sympathies.


In 1960, Jerome Robbins co-directed, with Robert Wise, the film adaptation of West Side Story.


However, when the film received 10 Academy Awards for the 1961 award year, Jerome Robbins won two, one for his Direction and one for "Brilliant Achievements in the Art of Choreography on Film".


In 1962, Jerome Robbins directed Arthur Kopit's non-musical play Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad.


The production ran over a year off-Broadway and was transferred to Broadway for a short run in 1963, after which Jerome Robbins directed Anne Bancroft in a revival of Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children.


Jerome Robbins was still highly sought after as a show doctor.


Jerome Robbins took over the direction of two troubled productions during this period and helped turn them into successes.


Sondheim wrote and Jerome Robbins staged an entirely new opening number, "Comedy Tonight", which explained to the audience what was to follow, and the show played successfully from then on.


That same year, Jerome Robbins won Tony Awards for his direction and choreography in Fiddler on the Roof.


Jerome Robbins continued to choreograph and stage productions for both the Joffrey Ballet and the New York City Ballet into the 1970s.


Jerome Robbins became ballet master of the New York City Ballet in 1972 and worked almost exclusively in classical dance throughout the next decade, pausing only to stage revivals of West Side Story and Fiddler on the Roof.


Jerome Robbins was awarded a fifth Tony Award for it.


Jerome Robbins nevertheless staged Les Noces for City Ballet in 1998, his last project.


Jerome Robbins suffered a stroke in July 1998, two months after the premiere of his re-staging of Les Noces.


Jerome Robbins died at his home in New York on July 29,1998.


Jerome Robbins was cremated and his ashes were scattered on the Atlantic Ocean.


Jerome Robbins had romantic relationships with a number of people, including Montgomery Clift, Nora Kaye, Buzz Miller and Jess Gerstein.


Jerome Robbins shared the Academy Award for Best Director with Robert Wise for the film version of West Side Story.


Jerome Robbins was only the second director to win the Academy Award for Best Director for a film debut.


Jerome Robbins was awarded three honorary doctorates including an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 1980 from the City University of New York and an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from New York University in 1985.


Jerome Robbins was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1979.