My Favorite "Triple Threat" Performers

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43.

Dick Van Dyke



Most people remember him for his critically acclaimed sitcom, but he was a song and dance man long before that, winning a Tony Award for Bye Bye Birdie and reprising his role in the film version. To showcase his skills as a dancer (a skill for which he received no formal training), I have posted "Me Ol Bamboo" from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and those who never thought of Van Dyke as an actor, check out this scene from The Comic where he played a former silent film star named Billy Bright.








Will Gene Kelly make the cut ?

Or Audrey Hepburn ?



Gene Kelly will...Audrey Hepburn was not much of a singer
Have you ever heard her audio recordings of the songs from the movie My Fair Lady? She actually sang pretty good. It's a piety they dubbed her.



44.

Debbie Reynolds



It was a short trip from being a teenage Miss Burbank to getting signed at MGM to star with Gene Kelly in the iconic Singin in the Rain at the tender age of 18. In a career that spanned over 60 years, Reynolds did it all. I wanted to show off Reynolds' dancing skills somewhere other than Singin in the Rain, so I chose a production number called "A Kiss or Two" from Hit the Deck. And to showcase her severely underrated talents as an actress...check out this scene with Don Rickles in the 1960 film The Rat Race:





I'm glad to see that Debbie Reynolds made the list. Most people only know her from Singin' in the Rain, but she's done some great movies. I think she's very underrated.
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43.

Dick Van Dyke



Most people remember him for his critically acclaimed sitcom, but he was a song and dance man long before that, winning a Tony Award for Bye Bye Birdie and reprising his role in the film version. To showcase his skills as a dancer (a skill for which he received no formal training), I have posted "Me Ol Bamboo" from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and those who never thought of Van Dyke as an actor, check out this scene from The Comic where he played a former silent film star named Billy Bright.






Dick Van Dyke would be much higher on my list. You don't have to look much further than "The Dick Van Dyke Show" to see why he's a triple threat. He's the main reason why it's one of my all-time favorite shows.



42.

Ann-Margret



This voluptuous Swedish export made her film debut playing Bette Davis' daughter in the 1961 film A Pocketful of Miracles and it wasn't long before she was making movies, doing television specials, performing in Vegas, a long and glorious career which included earning an Emmy and two Oscar nominations. I have posted her singing "How to Lovely to Be a Woman" from Bye Bye Birdie and a scene from one of her Oscar-nominated performances in Carnal Knowledge.







41.

Matthew Broderick



This show business legacy (son of actor James Broderick) made his film debut in the 1982 Neil Simon comedy Max Dugan Returns and became an official movie star a couple of years later as the star of Ferris Bueller's Day Off. His musical talent didn't come to light until he accepted the role of J Pierpont Finch in a Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. I have posted him performing "I Believe in You" from How to Succeed and "I Wanna Be a Producer" from the 2005 movie musical The Producers:








40.

Sammy Davis Jr



Like the previously mentioned Joel Grey, Davis began his career as a child and between a career that included Broadway, movies, and television and as a member of the celebrated Rat Pack, was one of the biggest stars on the planet right up until the time of his death. I have posted a clip of him tap dancing during a tour of Italy in the 1960's, a clip of him singing during a tour of German, and a clip of his showstopping number in the 1964 musical Robin and the seven Hoods called "Bang".











39.

Michele Lee



One of the most underrated performers in show business history. Before spending 14 seasons playing Karen MacKenzie Fairgate on the CBS primetime soap Knots Landing, she began her career on Broadway replacing the original leading lady in How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying and then reprising the role for the film version. She also received a Tony Nomination for Lead Actress for the musical Seesaw and probably made multiple appearances on just about every variety show you can think of. I have posted a clip of her singing "I Believe in You" from the film version of How to Succeed and displays some dramatic chops in a clip from Knots Landing:







38.

Robert Preston




His career in Hollywood actually began in the 1930's but he went unnoticed until he went to Broadway in the 1950's to originate the role of Professor Harold Hill in The Music Man, a performance that won him a Tony Award and became the gold standard for anyone else who attempts the role. He also created the role of Michael opposite Mary Martin in the musical I Do I Do and the role of Mack Sennett opposite Bernadette Peters in Mack and Mabel. After over 50 years in the business, he received his first Oscar nomination for his performance in the 1982 movie musical Victor Victoria. I have posted the spectacular "Marian the Librarian" from The Music Man which shows off Preston's singing and dancing and his scene-stealing finale that had everyone on the floor at the end of Victor/Victoria







38.

Robert Preston




His career in Hollywood actually began in the 1930's but he went unnoticed until he went to Broadway in the 1950's to originate the role of Professor Harold Hill in The Music Man, a performance that won him a Tony Award and became the gold standard for anyone else who attempts the role. He also created the role of Michael opposite Mary Martin in the musical I Do I Do and the role of Mack Sennett opposite Bernadette Peters in Mack and Mabel. After over 50 years in the business, he received his first Oscar nomination for his performance in the 1982 movie musical Victor Victoria. I have posted the spectacular "Marian the Librarian" from The Music Man which shows off Preston's singing and dancing and his scene-stealing finale that had everyone on the floor at the end of Victor/Victoria





I can't believe that I forgot about Robert Preston. I haven't seen a lot of his early movies, but I love him in everything I've seen him in, especially The Last Starfighter, S.O.B., and Victor/Victoria. And I don't think anyone else will ever live up to his Professor Harold Hill.



37.

Danny Kaye



For a guy who had no formal training in any facet of the business, this gifted performer compiled an incredible body of work that included Broadway, Hollywood, and television. I have posted the most famous scene from his classic The Court Jester and is there any better display of his song and dance skills than his classic duet with Vera-Ellen from White Christmas than "The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing"? I also had to include something from my favorite Danny Kaye movie Hans Christian Anderson...the lovely "Inchworm."













Have you ever heard her audio recordings of the songs from the movie My Fair Lady? She actually sang pretty good. It's a piety they dubbed her.
Yes, I have and there's a reason they finally decided to have Marni Nixon sing for her.



37.

Danny Kaye



For a guy who had no formal training in any facet of the business, this gifted performer compiled an incredible body of work that included Broadway, Hollywood, and television. I have posted the most famous scene from his classic The Court Jester and is there any better display of his song and dance skills than his classic duet with Vera-Ellen from White Christmas than "The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing"? I also had to include something from my favorite Danny Kaye movie Hans Christian Anderson...the lovely "Inchworm."

I love Danny Kaye, and I think Hans Christian Anderson is a very underrated movie. It's one of my favorites.

I recently watched his movie The Five Pennies, and "Lullaby In Ragtime" is one of my new favorite songs.




On a personal note, my parents both went to Danny Kaye's high school in Brooklyn, and they used to tell me stories about how he dropped out of school, but he went back years later to perform there, and he would joke about his high school principal.



36.

Robert Morse



Another severely underrated triple threat who first found fame on Broadway with his Tony Award winning role as J Pierpont Finch in the original 1960 production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. His career has moved from stage to screen to television with ease for decades. Youngsters might be more familiar with him from the AMC series Mad Men. I have posted a number called "It's Been a Long Day" from How to Succeed which shows off his vocal abilities and another number from the same show called "Brotherhood of Man" which shows how light he could be on his feet









35.

Nathan Lane



He had his first role in the 1981 TV remake of Valley of the Dolls and has been bouncing between stage, screen, and television ever since, perhaps making his biggest impact onstage, with his Tony award winning role as Max Bialystock in The Producers, a role he would reprise onscreen. He also voiced one of the most popular characters in the disney classic The Lion King. I have posted two scenes from that film that show what a triple threat this guy is...:Along Came Biayli" and "Betrayed", a particularly intricate number where Lane has to re-enact everything that has happened in the movie up to this point.