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Rockettes - Then and Now

E-mail Dorothy Coleman

Then

Now

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"Marjorie Helen (Gaye) Siegfried (1920 - 2005) worked at Radio City Music Hall as a Rockette from 1938-1943.

After a 19-month battle with the effects of a debilitating stroke, Marjorie Helen Siegfried passed away on July 22, 2005.

Marjorie was the oldest of three daughters born in the Bronx, New York and in 1931 her family permanently moved to Dallas, TX. She perfomed in the Little Theatre in Dallas. In 1936 she won the Miss North Dallas and Miss Dallas beauty pageants using the name, Marjorie Gaye and later that year, her introduction to show business was in a spanish dancing role along with Ann Miller in the film "The Devil On Horseback." She was only 16.

In the late 1930's, Marjorie danced in the travelling stage show, Casa Manana produced by Billy Rose. In the mid-late 1930's she and her friend Margo Rosser auditioned for the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, never thinking for a minute they would be accepted, but to their surprise they were and had to go home to Dallas to tell their parents they would suddenly be moving to New York City. Marjorie soon became known by her co-workers at the RCMH simply as "Gaye". In 1942 she married Franklin Siegfried, a violinist in the RCMH orchestra. Franklin had been a violinist there since the hall began.

She left the Music Hall in 1943 and over the next years danced in various stage shows, including Mexican Hayride on Broadway, Connecticut Yankee, My Dear Public, Soundies, and Riviera. In the mid 1940's, she also became the lead chorus dancer at the Clover Club in Miami, FL.

From the late 1940s through 1950s Marjorie became an exotic (burlesque) dancer under the stage name, Mara Gaye. During her career, she headlined at the Holiday Theatre and Club Samoa, both in NYC and danced at Minsky's, the Hudson and Empire Theatres in NJ and the Troc Theatre in Philadelphia, PA, as well as at numerous private events and theatres all around the country. She was once the birthday surprise for Phil Rizzuto. Recently, she became a member of the Burlesque Historial Society www.burlesquehistory.com.

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