Alex Romero, a dancer and choreographer who directed Elvis Presley's dancing for the movie "Jailhouse Rock" and also worked with Presley on three other films, has died. He was 94.
He worked with the King of Rock 'n' Roll on four films including 'Jailhouse Rock,' choreographing the routine for the film's title song.
Romero died Sept. 8 of natural causes at the Motion Picture and Television Fund home, according to Mark Knowles, a dance writer and friend. He had been a resident of the home for several years.
A gracefully athletic dancer, Romero got his start in movies in the early 1940s. He was a featured dancer in "On the Town," a 1949 film that starred Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra. He also performed in the 1951 film "An American in Paris," which also starred Kelly.
He worked as an assistant choreographer before he went out on his own. His earliest solo credits include "The Affairs of Dobie Gillis," starring Bobby Van and Debbie Reynolds in 1953. Romero was named staff choreographer for MGM in the late 1940s and held the position for almost 20 years.
For Presley, Romero choreographed "Double Trouble" and "Clambake" in 1967 as well as "Speedway" the next year. Their most memorable collaboration remained "Jailhouse Rock" in 1957.
"Jailhouse became a signature piece for Elvis, and it helped make rock 'n' roll an acceptable dance form for films," Knowles said.
The production number for the movie's title song was Presley's first choreographed routine, according to "Down at the End of Lonely Street: The Life and Death of Elvis Presley," by Peter Harry Brown and Pat H. Broeske (1997).
"I guess he thought that I was going to give him some slick dancing steps," Romero said in the book. "I chose steps that were foreign to him, but that were also like him, so he could pick them up."
Source: LA Times / Updated: Sep 18, 2007