Vera-Ellen (February 16, 1921 – August 30, 1981) was an American actress and dancer, principally celebrated for her filmed dance partnerships with Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Danny Kaye and Donald O'Connor.
In 1939 Vera-Ellen made her Broadway theatre debut in the Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein musical Very Warm for May at age 18. She became one of the youngest Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, although she was not tall. This led to roles on Broadway in Panama Hattie, By Jupiter, and A Connecticut Yankee, where she was spotted by Samuel Goldwyn, who cast her opposite Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo in Wonder Man.
She danced with Gene Kelly in the Hollywood musicals Words and Music and On the Town, while also appearing in the last Marx Brothers film, Love Happy. She received top billing alongside Fred Astaire in the MGM musicals, Three Little Words and The Belle of New York (1952). She had a co-starring role with Donald O'Connor in the Ethel Merman vehicle, Call Me Madam for 20th Century-Fox, and in perhaps her most well known and beloved film, with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney in Paramount's blockbuster hit, White Christmas, in which she was partnered with Clooney ("Sisters"), Kaye ("The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing" and "Choreography") and dancer John Brascia ("Mandy," "Choreography," and "Abraham"). Let's Be Happy was Vera-Ellen's final film.
During the 1950s she was known for having the "smallest waist in Hollywood", and is believed to have suffered from anorexia nervosa. She retired from the big screen in 1957, and retired completely after the death of her 3-month old daughter in 1963.Guest appearances on the television variety shows of Dinah Shore and Perry Como in 1958 and 1959 were among the last of her entertainment career.