Happy Birthday, Liz Kelley
(above) Liz Kelley rehearses for her number with The Golddiggers on the 23rd Annual Emmy Awards, hosted by Johnny Carson and telecast in May 1971.
(below) A freeze-frame captures a close-up of Liz during The Golddiggers’ live performance at the 1971 Emmy Awards ceremony.
Airing in Dean Martin’s Thursday night time slot during July and August of 1970, The Golddiggers In London represented the third successive — not to mention, successful — summer series for the all-girl singing-dancing troupe, raising their profile to new heights. But the delightful dectet would gain even more visibility that fall, when they succeeded the ladies that had been collectively known as Dean’s Girls as the regular female performers backing Dean each week on his show.
With so many eyes now gazing at The Golds on a steady basis, the sudden emergence of a single vacancy in the group’s lineup just a few weeks into The Dean Martin Show‘s 6th season meant that the gal selected to fill the opening had to be someone really special. Fortunately for the ensemble, the program, and the viewers at home, the lovely lass chosen more than met expectations.
Liz Kelley was still in her teens when she was already working with the likes of Ethel Merman, Carol Channing, Charlton Heston and Arthur Godfrey; and at age 17, she was performing three solos nightly with her idol, Gene Kelly, in his Las Vegas show.
So by the time she was picked to join The Golddiggers just a short while later, she not only fit right in, but proceeded to excel as one of the group’s most outstanding members and a dancer in a class by herself. In fact, it was such terpsichorean proficiency that no doubt led to the establishment of her own school of dance — Dance Studio 1 — in her hometown of Kansas City, where she and her staff of instructors continue to train future generations of girls who aspire to be the next Liz Kelley.
With today being her birthday, we want to wish Mz. Liz (as she’s know to her students) A Very Happy Birthday, and Many, Many More.
(above) Liz grabs hold of Dean (with colleague Rebecca Jones peeking in between them), as The Golddiggers guest star on the 12/21/72 Christmas edition of The Dean Martin Show
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