George Martin

Person
Biography
George Martin began his training in Canton, Ohio, where he was born as Martin Gellenbeck in 1924. Through his ballet teacher's connections with Ted Shawn, he was offered a scholarship to study at the Pillow in 1942, and he traveled here directly after graduating from high school. That summer he performed works by Bronislava Nijinska and Agnes De Mille, and trained with Shawn and Joe Pilates. "You couldn‟t dream of a better beginning," he later said of his Pillow experience. He embarked on his professional career immediately after the summer, and began dancing on Broadway and on tour. His Hollywood career started the next year, and he soon met his wife, Ethel, on a film set. Both Martins became an essential part of Jack Cole's film dance sequences, and George also worked in Kay Thompson's celebrated nightclub act. The Martins relocated permanently to New York in the mid-50s, and he eventually became a production stage manager for multiple Broadway hits including Follies, A Little Night Music, and 42nd Street, directing these and other shows internationally and on tour. He returned to the Pillow only twice after his student summer, most recently in 2010 when he and Ethel both took part in a PillowTalk on Jack Cole and recorded interviews for the Archives. He donated some of his Cole resources and Pillow memorabilia to the Archives before his death in April 2011 at 86, and his family has since sent more treasures.
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