Agnes de Mille

Agnes de Mille (1905–1993) was born in New York City, the daughter of the writer and director William C. de Mille, and the niece of the well-known film producer-director Cecil B. DeMille. Raised in New York and California, she attended the University of California, Los Angeles, and trained to become a dancer, studying in New York and London and touring with companies in the United States and Europe. In 1942 de Mille had her first great success as a choreographer with Rodeo. She went on to choreograph celebrated musicals such as Oklahoma! and Carousel, and the award-winning Brigadoon and Kwamina, fusing modern and classical dance techniques to create her own innovative style. She also wrote widely about her work as a dancer, the early years in Hollywood, and childhood summers spent at the family estate in New York. Despite a stroke in 1975 that led to partial paralysis, de Mille continued to work, choreographing dances for American Ballet Theatre and other companies, as well as writing and lecturing. In 1986 she was awarded the National Medal of Arts for her lifetime achievement in the theater.