Frankie Manning

Frankie Manning, the recognized master of the Lindy Hop, was born in Florida in 1914.  He started dancing at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom and the Cotton Club in the 1930s, appeared in The Hot Mikado at the 1939 New York World's Fair, and created what is regarded as the best film example of the Lindy Hop for Hellzapoppin'.  He took a post office job in the 1950s and concentrated his energy there for more than thirty years, until engaging in the Lindy Hop revival of the late 1980s.  He enjoyed a remarkable renaissance, sharing a Tony Award in 1989 for his contributions to the Broadway revue Black and Blue.  He trained Denzel Washington for a Lindy scene in Spike Lee's Malcolm X, and appeared in the Ken Burns documentary series, Jazz.  In 2008, he participated in one of the most unusual PillowTalks to date, interviewed through a telephone hookup from his Brooklyn home after recent surgery prevented him from making the trip to the Berkshires.  The power of his personality was strong enough to totally captivate a capacity crowd in Blake's Barn, even though they only heard his voice.  At the time of his death in April 2009, he was preparing for a five-day celebration of his 95th birthday in New York, which instead became his memorial.