Busby Berkeley was the famed dance director for an array of Broadway shows in the 1920s and ’30s, going on to work in Hollywood films that included ’42nd Street’ and ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame.’
Busby Berkeley was born on November 29, 1895, in Los Angeles, California, to parents who were part of the theatrical community. Serving in the military during WWI and specializing in troop parade formations, he later worked as dance director for an array of Broadway musicals before going to Hollywood in 1930. There he was the mastermind behind elaborate dance numbers for projects like 42nd Street (1933), Gold Diggers of 1933 and Dames (1934); he later directed films that included Men Are Such Fools (1938) and Take Me Out to the Ballgame (1949), with the latter starring Frank Sinatra and Esther Williams. Having suffered from alcoholism and a highly volatile romantic life, Berkeley would be recognized for his cinematic/stage contributions and made a comeback of sorts in the early 1970s. He died on March 14, 1976 in Palm Springs, California.