Dancer Marge Champion, who modeled for ‘Snow White’ animators, dead at 101

LOS ANGELES — Dancer and choreographer Marge Champion, who modeled for animators working on Disney’s 1937 classic “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” has died at age 101, her family said.

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According to The New York Times, Champion, born in 1919 as Marjorie Celeste Belcher, died Wednesday in Los Angeles, her son, Gregg Champion, told the newspaper.

Marge Champion began dancing at age 3 and, by age 14, was performing for “Snow White” animators so they could observe her movements, according to the Hollywood Reporter. She married animator Art Babbitt at age 17 and also modeled for other Disney films, including “Pinocchio,” “Fantasia” and “Dumbo,” the entertainment outlet reported.

She later divorced Babbitt and married longtime friend Gower Champion in 1947, according to the Times. Starting in 1949, the two, who were dance partners, appeared on “Admiral Broadway Revue” and in the 1950s films “Mr. Music,” “Show Boat,” “Lovely to Look At,” “Everything I Have Is Yours,” among others. They appeared in their own sitcom, “The Marge and Gower Champion Show,” in 1957, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The couple divorced in 1973, and she went on to marry director Boris Sagal, who died in 1981, the outlets reported.

Marge Champion also was known for her work as a choreographer and won an Emmy for her work on “Queen of the Stardust Ballroom,” a 1975 TV movie, according to the news outlets.

In addition to her son, Gregg, Marge Champion’s survivors include stepdaughters Katey, Liz and Jean Sagal, and a stepson, Joey. She was preceded in death by a son, Blake Champion, in 1987, the Times reported.

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