JEROME ROBBINS Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


Biography » theater opera and movie personalities » jerome robbins


Name: Jerome Rabinowitz                                                                 
Born: 11 October 1918 New York City, New York                                           
Died: 29 July 1998 New York City, New York                                             
Jerome Robbins (October 11, 1918 - July 29, 1998) was an American Academy Award         
winning film director and choreographer whose work has included everything from         
classical ballet to contemporary musical theater. Among the numerous stage             
productions he worked on were On the Town, High Button Shoes, The King And I,           
The Pajama Game, Bells Are Ringing, West Side Story, Gypsy: A Musical Fable and         
Fiddler on the Roof.                                                                   
Robbins was born Jerome Wilson Rabinowitz, on October 11, 1918, exactly one             
month before the end of World War I, in the Jewish Maternity Hospital in the           
heart of Manhattan’s Lower East Side – a neighborhood populated by many             
immigrants. The Rabinowitz family lived in a large apartment house at 51 East 97th     
at the northeast corner of Madison Avenue. Known as "Jerry" to his loved ones,         
Robbins was given a middle name that reflected his parents' patriotic enthusiasm       
for the then-president. Rabinowitz, however, translates to “son of a rabbi”, a     
name Robbins never liked, since it marked him as the son of an immigrant.               
In the early 1920s, the Rabinowitz family moved to Weehawken, New Jersey. 10           
years earlier, Fred and Adele Astaire had lived there briefly as children, only         
a block away from one of Robbins’ boyhood homes. His father and uncle opened the     
“Comfort Corset Company,” a unique venture for the family, which had many show     
business connections, including vaudeville performers and theater owners.               
Robbins began college studying chemistry at New York University (NYU) but               
dropped out after a year for financial reasons and to pursue dance. He studied         
at the New Dance League, learning ballet with Ella Daganova, Antony Tudor and           
Eugene Loring; modern dance; Spanish dancing with the famed Helen Veola; folk           
dance with Yeichi Nimura; and dance composition with Bessie Schoenberg.