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July 06, 2008

Award-winning Choreographer Michael Darrin Dies

Award-winning choreographer Michael Darrin died July 2 in Las Vegas. He was 62.

Darrin, who won a Primetime Emmy for his work on the 1990 American Music Awards, had been battling Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Darrin (born James Lentini), worked with an array of screen stars, recording artists and distinguished dancers throughout his career, including Cyd Charisse, Juliet Prowse, Martha Raye, Elizabeth Taylor, Bob Hope, Diana Ross, Cher, Paula Abdul, and Lucille Ball, among others.

Darrin choreographed Paula Abdul's video for single "Cold-Hearted Snake," which became one of the most popular videos of its era and garnered great critical acclaim and many awards for Darrin.

He collaborated with Abdul again, choreographing their Emmy-winning opening number for the 1990 American Music Awards and another for the 1990 Academy Awards. Variety named Darrin "Choreographer of the Year" that year.

Darrin choreographed more than 50 Broadway and stock musicals, and lent his creative wizardry to a spectrum of special productions.  For instance, he was a multifaceted creative force behind the multi-million dollar extravaganza, "Celebration," honoring the tenth anniversary of Sun City, South Africa. He directed, choreographed, and designed extravagant costumes for this historical event.

Darrin conceived his own HBO special, Les Sorcery, featuring guest star Vincent Price. He not only choreographed and starred in the program, but also directed and designed costumes and special makeup for the production.

He is survived by his mother, Betty Switenko, his brother, Bob Lentini.

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