TBT: Marge and Gower Champion’s First Dance Magazine Cover

January 18, 2024

The January 1949 issue of Dance Magazine marked the first cover appearance of Marge and Gower Champion. While the pair met as teenagers—Gower was a competitive ballroom dancer who took ballet from Marge’s father; the ballet-trained Marge was Walt Disney’s model for Snow White and the Blue Fairy in Pinocchio—it wasn’t until after World War II that they reconnected, debuting as a dancing couple and marrying in 1947.

In a black and white archival photo, Marge and Gower sit backwards on directors chairs emblazoned with their first names. His arm is around her shoulders as they put their heads together, both studying something off camera. Marge has one knee pulled up to her chest; their legs almost seem to tangle.
An image of Marge and Gower Champion that ran in the September 1954 issue of Dance Magazine. Photo courtesy DM Archives.

“I’d call it musical-comedy dancing,” Marge recalled of their style in the July 1976 issue of Dance Magazine, “somewhere between ballet and ballroom, with a little hoofing thrown in!” The couple’s kids-next-door charm made them an in-demand act, booking nightclub, television, and film appearances, including the Jack Cole–choreographed Three for the Show, a slew of movies under the auspices of a seven-year contract with MGM, and a short-lived 1957 sitcom loosely based on their careers.

Gower was also a successful Broadway director and choreographer (with Marge acting as his assistant when not busy raising their children), earning a 1963 Dance Magazine Award and eight Tonys for musicals like Bye Bye Birdie, Hello, Dolly!, and, posthumously, 42nd Street.