Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Born Today In 1943, Oscar- and Emmy-Winning Director and Producer Emile Ardolino

Emile Ardolino was born today, May 9, in 1943.  He was an American film director, choreographer, and producer, best known for his films Dirty Dancing (1987) and Sister Act (1992).

Ardolino was born in Maspeth, a neighborhood of Queens, New York, the son of Italian immigrants. He began his career as an actor in off-Broadway productions, but soon moved to the production side of the business. In 1967, he founded Compton-Ardolino Films with Gardner Compton. In the 1970s and 1980s Ardolino worked for PBS. His profiles of dancers and choreographers for their Dance in America and Live from Lincoln Center series earned him 17 Emmy Award nominations. He won three Emmy Awards.

Ardolino won an Academy Award for Best Documentary for the 1983 movie He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin'. He found commercial success with the 1987 sleeper hit Dirty Dancing, and went on to make several other mainstream films.

Ardolino, who was an out gay man, died in California on November 20, 1993, of complications from AIDS. His last films, The Nutcracker (based on George Balanchine's New York City Ballet version), and the television production of Gypsy starring Bette Midler in the role created on Broadway by Ethel Merman, were released posthumously. 

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