Carol Haney (Carol Haney)

Carol Haney

Born Carolyn Haney in New Bedford, Massachusetts, she began to dance at age five and opened a dancing school in her teens. After high school, Haney left her home town for Hollywood and landed bit parts in movies until she was spotted by dancer/choreographer Jack Cole, becoming his dance partner and assistant from 1946–48. In 1949, Carol Haney was hired by Gene Kelly to be his assistant choreographer on several M-G-M musical films, and she aided Kelly in some of his best work, including On the Town (1949), Summer Stock (1950), An American in Paris (1951), Singin’ in the Rain (1952),[2] as well as Kelly’s dream project, Invitation to the Dance (1956). Carol Haney danced with Bob Fosse in the 1953 film version of Kiss Me, Kate, and when he landed his first Broadway choreographing assignment, The Pajama Game (1954), he recommended that Haney be cast in a small dancing part. She then impressed director George Abbott so much that Abbott combined her role with a larger part, resulting in the character of Gladys Hotchkiss. The role shot Haney to Broadway fame and won her a Tony Award and two Donaldson awards. The role of Gladys was lucky for Haney’s understudy, Shirley MacLaine. A month into the run of The Pajama Game, Haney injured her leg, and MacLaine took over the role. She was spotted by Hollywood producer Hal Wallis, who had come to the show to see Haney, and MacLaine got a film contract that launched her career, while Haney never became a Hollywood star.

After this, Carol Haney appeared in a few shows, including the touring production Ziegfeld Follies of 1956, but developed paralyzing stage fright. She was seen on television, and she recreated her performance as Gladys in the film version of The Pajama Game (1957). She focused her career on choreography for Broadway shows: Flower Drum Song (1958, directed by Gene Kelly), Bravo Giovanni (1962), She Loves Me (1963) and Funny Girl (1964). The American Dance Machine (1978) featured her choreography from television. She was nominated for three more Tony Awards, for choreography, for Flower Drum Song, Bravo Giovanni and, posthumously, for Funny Girl. In May 1958, she and Dick Van Dyke appeared together as guest stars on Polly Bergen’s NBC’s short-lived variety show, The Polly Bergen Show. Carol Haney died in Saddle River, New Jersey in 1964, at age 39, six weeks after the opening of Funny Girl, which she choreographed. The cause of death was pneumonia, complicated by diabetes and alcoholism.

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  • December, 24, 1924
  • USA
  • New Bedford, Massachusetts


  • May, 10, 1964
  • USA
  • Saddle River, New Jersey

Cause of Death

  • pneumonia


  • Old Landing Cemetery
  • Marion, Massachusetts
  • USA

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