"All men want to be José Greco, and all women want to be loved by José Greco!"José Greco was described by dance critic Arlene Croce of the New Yorker magazine as “the undisputed Spanish dance star of the 50s and 60s...In terms of box-office power, he may have been the greatest of all dance stars until the advent of Rudolf Nureyev.”
In fact born in Italy and brought up in New York, Snr Greco nevertheless dominated the art-form of flamenco for decades, and, indisputably, brought it to a mainstream audience who might otherwise never have discovered its allure. He appeared in many movies, including Around the World in 80 Days (with David Niven and Shirley MacLaine), Sombrero (with Cyd Charisse), and Holiday for Lovers (with Jane Wyman and Jill St John); on myriad US television spectaculars hosted by the likes of Bob Hope, Ed Sullivan, Perry Como and Johnny Carson; and toured the world for years with his own flamenco company.
"About forty years ago José Greco appeared on the Mike Douglas television show. Mr Douglas asked, 'Where did you learn how to dance flamenco?' Jose answered, 'Brooklyn!'"Nevertheless, Spanish dance was his forté, and to demonstrate - here's his utterly breath-taking Flamenco Danse from the aforementioned Around the World in 80 Days:
Facts about José Greco:
- In 1951, Greco shared with Carol Channing the title of “New Broadway Personality of the Year.”
- So familiar a personality did he become in America that he was often spoofed on TV by the likes of Ernie Kovacs and others.
- A coroner claimed his death - officially from a heart attack - was a "homicide" as a result of an unfortunate clash with Amtrak train officials.
- His children - notably son Jose Greco II - have carried on their father's legacy in the arts, particularly in dance.