Virginia Bosler (foreground) with Cyd Charisse in the film Brigadoon (1954). Courtesy Chuck Pennington

Virginia Doris, Broadway and Film Dancer, Has Died at 93

ELLSWORTH, ME—Virginia Doris, 93, known professionally as Virginia Bosler and by the childhood nickname "Winkie," died on August 30, 2020, while under hospice care at Seaport Village, her home for the past three years. She was born Virginia Bosler on September 23, 1926, in Newton, MA, the daughter of John D. Bosler, a marine engineer, and Marjorie (Fairbanks) Bosler, an artist.

Virginia began dancing at age seven, spending several summers as a teenager at Jacob's Pillow in Becket, MA, where she learned Pilates directly from its creator, Joseph Pilates. After her high school graduation from Cherry Lawn High School in Darien, CT, she attended Barnard College for a year before leaving to pursue dance as a career.


Virginia's stage career began in 1946 with her first job at age nineteen in the national tour of the Harold Arlen-E.Y. Harburg musical Bloomer Girl starring Nannette Fabray and choreographed by Agnes de Mille. The following spring Virginia made her Broadway debut as Jean MacLaren in the original cast of the Alan Jay Lerner–Frederick Loewe classic musical Brigadoon, also choreographed by de Mille. Virginia repeated this role in the 1954 film adaptation, directed by Vincente Minnelli starring Gene Kelly, as well as on tour and in several revivals. A favorite dancer of Agnes de Mille, Virginia also performed in the 1955 film edition of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!, directed by Fred Zinnemann and starring Shirley Jones, as well as in the 1956 live television adaptation of Bloomer Girl starring Barbara Cook, both re-creating de Mille's stage choreography.

Virginia retired from the stage in 1963 after performing in other shows on Broadway, on tour, and in regional theater across the country. In all she performed her signature role in Brigadoon well over a thousand times. A second career as a professional dance notator trained in Labanotation, a method of transcribing dance and ballet choreography in print, followed from 1981 to 1991 for the Dance Notation Bureau; her work includes notated scores of works by George Balanchine, Agnes de Mille, and Eugene Loring. In 1996, at age seventy, Virginia embarked on yet another career teaching yoga.

She is survived by her daughter, Julia Byrnes and husband, Tom, of New York, NY; five grandchildren: Alexander Guptill of Eastbrook, ME; his mother, Sharon Guptill of Eastbrook, ME; Duncan, Sydney, Crosby and Hudson, all of New York, NY. She was predeceased by her husband, Hubert A. Doris; her sister, Ann "Bunny" Vidor -Trumbull; and son, Alexander "Xander" Rust Doris.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. Arrangements in care of Jordan-Fernald, 113 Franklin St., Ellsworth. Condolences may be expressed at www.jordanfernald.com.

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