Saturday Dance: Jeni Le Gon

When dancer Jeni Le Gon migrated from the East coast to Hollywood, she hoped to be a tap star in the movies. However, in an industry that saw African American women as maids and mammies, she didn’t get the support she needed to make it to the top. Fortunately, she still managed to film some great performances in shorts, specialty numbers and race movies.

Here Le Gon looks charming in a white tux and top hat as she sings The Boy From Harlem in this specialty number from Fools For Scandal (1938):

 

This is one of Le Gon’s most famous movie performances, singing and dancing I’m Livin’ in a Great Big Way with Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and Fats Waller in Hooray for Love (1935):

 

And here she is at 92 years, showing the young ones how it’s done:

 

After seeing that clip, I wish I could spend an afternoon with Ms. Le Gon. She looks like a lot of fun!

Here’s a few more links if you’d like to see more:

I love Le Gon’s lively rendition of Getting it Right With You from Double Deal (1939). She could tap so fast!

She shows off great technique in the Swing is Here to Sway number from Ali Baba Goes to Town (1937).

Ms. Jeni was also Minnie the Moocher opposite Cab Calloway in the musical short Hi De Ho (1947) (she doesn't sing or dance here, but she does show that she could act.)

2 comments:

ykw2 said...

This is great stuff! Not much Jeni LeGon online Thanks!

KC said...

I'm glad you liked it! Why isn't this amazing woman better known?

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