Dancer Marge Champion at 101

Longtime Berkshire Resident

By: - Oct 23, 2020

Dancer Marjorie Celeste Champion (née Belcher; September 2, 1919 – October 21, 2020) had a remarkable life and career.

She was a long-time resident of Stockbridge and a familiar presence at Berkshire arts events.

As a performer she remained fit and active into her 90’s.

Champion and Donald Saddler, who met while performing together in Sondheim's Follies in 2001, are the subjects of a short film about the two dancers leading meaningful lives at age 90. She still danced twice a week with choreographer, actor, and an original member of American Ballet Theatre, Saddler, who first performed at Jacob's Pillow in 1941. The still-spry dance partners were making a documentary "Still Dancing," which chronicles their biweekly dance sessions.

At 14, she was hired as a dance model for Walt Disney Studios animated films. Ahe worked on the landmark film Snow White.  Later, she performed as an actress and dancer in film musicals, and in 1957 had a television show based on song and dance. She also did creative choreography for liturgy, and served as a dialogue and movement coach for the 1978 TV miniseries, The Awakening Land, set in the late 18th century in the Ohio Valley.

She married her second husband, Gower Champion, in 1947. They became theatrical partners on stage and screen. The Champions had two sons and divorced in 1973. Her third marriage was to director Boris Sagal in 1977. He was killed four years later in a helicopter while directing a miniseries.

New York Times obituary.

 Tribute from Steve Lawson of Williamstown's Theatre and Film Festivals.