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Best Tap Dancer All-Time Eleanor Powell

Updated on April 14, 2013

Eleanor Powell would be 100 years young this year. She was acclaimed "The World's Greatest Feminine Tap and Rhythm Dancer" by the Dance Masters of America. She danced with the legendary Bill Robinson when she was just fifteen in private shows in New York.

She started her legendary career on Broadway in 1929 where she would earn the title of World Champion in Tapping.

She would dance with the legendary Fred Astaire one time in 1940 in Broadway Melody. When you watch this video you will understand why he never danced with her again. You could not take your eyes off of her. She was way too good for Astaire's ego. After seeing it, Frank Sinatra said "You will never see the likes of this again." Astaire said, "She put 'em down like a man, no ricky-ticky-sissy stuff with Ellie. She really knocked out a tap dance in a class by herself."

Eleanor was inducted into the International Tap Dance Hall of Fame in 2002 (inaugural class). She became the very first specialty tapper to ever appear at Carnegie Hall. She tapped so effortlessly and even had the looks and figure to go with that talent.

Some of her most famous movies she starred in were Born to Dance (1936), Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935), Lady Be Good (1941) and Ship Ahoy (1942). She was a very talented actress as well as a hoofer and the two combinations made her a fan favorite. This is Eleanor with James Stewart in Born to Dance.

Eleanor would go on to star with many of the top leading men including Robert Taylor, Robert Young and Nelson Eddy.

She would marry movie star, Glen Ford in 1943 and divorce in 1959 with one child. In her later years, she would become an ordained minister.

Eleanor Powell died on February 11, 1982 in Beverly Hills, California of cancer.

Her nickname: The Queen of Tap Dancing


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    • discovery2020 profile image

      WILLIAM EVANS 6 years ago from GARLAND, TEXAS

      Did you watch the video? Good to hear from you, again.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I have heard of Eleanor Powell a lot on TCM but haven't seen any of her flicks. She sounds like a one of a kind talent. I've always admired those who could dance like that, especially in tap since it takes a great bit of stamina. Very cool hub!