Marc Platt: “Always Do What You Love For As Long As You Can”

Although there were seven brothers for those seven brides of the musical of 1954, only five of the men were professional dancers.

Now, only three of the five are still alive. Marc Platt, who played the role of Daniel in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers died at the age of 100 on 29 March.

And Matt Mattox, who was Caleb in the movie, died in February 2013.

The survivors of that wonderful group of brothers are Jacques d’Amboise, Russ Tamblyn and Tommy Rall.

Choreographed by Michael Kidd, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers was a landmark in dance on film, with a highlight being the extraordinary athleticism and finesse of the Barn Dance scene. At the end of the number Mattox, Platt, Rall and d’Amboise all performed virtuosic gymnastic leaps as they balanced on a beam.

Platt was already a well known name in the musical world in 1943 when he danced as Dream Curly in the Broadway production of Oklahoma!

He was born Marcel Emile Gaston Leplat on 2 December 1913 in Pasadena, California.

His French father, Maurice, was a violinist who with his family moved to Seattle. Mark began to dance aged 11.

When the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo was on tour in Seattle, Platt, then in his early 20s, successfully auditioned for the company and took the Russianised name of Marc Platoff, sometimes written as Platov.

In an interview in The Seattle Times in 2005, Platt remembered that at the audition, the choreographer, Léonide Massine, asked him: “How do you do? You have dance? Do!”

The press report went on: “He remembered ‘ghosting’ in hotels: One dancer would register for a room, and six more would sneak upstairs to share it. ‘We’d toss coins to see who would sleep on the box spring or the mattress, which we’d pull off onto the floor’.

“After performances, they’d return to the hotel and rehearse, in the hotel ballroom, until very late. ‘We were dragging, we were tired’, said Platt, ‘but we were also stimulated by what this man [Massine] was doing’”.

In 1942, he left the company for the Broadway stage and to dance in movies.

From the 1960s Platt was the producer and director of Radio City Music Hall’s ballet troupe and in the early 1970s, he and his wife, Jean Goodall, opened a ballet school in Fort Myers, Florida.

At a party celebrating his 100th birthday, he told The San Francisco Chronicl: “Always do what you love for as long as you can.”

That’s the inspirational quote of the day for all dancers in their twilight years!

In the movie, Platt wears a mauve shirt, Mattox wears yellow, Tamblyn, blue, Rall, red and d’Ambroise, dark green.

Howard Keel, the singer, wore light green. Keel and Jane Powell were the stars of the movie.

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Marc Platt in 1947

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers movie poster

It’s Always Fair Weather (1955), left to right, Michael Kidd, Gene Kelly and Dan Dailey