In 1933, they did their first studio performance doing a Tango,
and it was a hit.
Marge and Gower went to Jr. High School
together, but did not really notice each other until the school
threw a talent contest where Marge and her father Ernest Belcher
both took some notice of these two fine dancers. Belcher gave
Gower a full sponsorship to his school of dance to Gower, but
left Jeanne in the cold. Gower would continue his lessons with
Jeanne at Ryan's studio as well as himself at Belcher's. On
2/25/1936: Jeanne and Gower entered and won the Veloz
and Yolanda's Waltz
To Fame Contest, taking 1st place. The prize was a weeks engagement
at the Cocoanut Grove. Altho, Gower was still in school, this
was the start of his career. Jeanne and Gower danced successfully
in many more nightclubs and hotels with Beatrice in tow. They
were billed as "Gower and Jeanne, America's Youngest Dance
After graduating High School, Gower and
Jeanne toured what was left of the declining Vaudeville Circuit,
just before most vaudeville theatre's became movie Theatres,
they did achieve some success. Their dancing together was good,
but hardly really good enough, it was the charisma and enthusiasm
they shared together on the floor that the audience loved. Jeanne
and Gower continued with much success dancing in Movie house,
with Big Bands Like Eddie Duchin, Vaudeville stages, night clubs
and more up untill Gower enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard during
World War II. "America's Youngest Dance Team" would
be no more.
Upon gaining an honorable discharge from
the service, Gower returned home and would be partnered with
Marge Belcher. This teaming would prove to be a major success
throughout both their lives. Marge and Gower's first professional
engagement together was credited as "Gower and Bell"
at Montreal's "Normandie Roof" in April, 1947. Marge
and Gower's first big show was in the "Persian Room"
of the Plaza Hotel in New York. Their first movie together was
in "$ Mr. Music" with Bing Crosby and their first
starring picture was in "Everything I Have is Yours."
Marge danced with Herb Ross and Paul Glodkin in the Broadway
Play "Beggars Holiday" in 1946. Success led to Dick
Pribor who became the Champion's musical director. With all
this success came sponsor advertisements, which they did many,
such as Ipan Toothpaste, Camel Cigaettes, General Tire and Kroehler
was Marge's father, a ballet teacher who started
his daughter at an early age of five months of age. Marge's
first dance partner was Louis
and her first screen appearance was in the film
"Sorority House" in 1939. At age 14, Marge was used
by Disney as the model for " Snow White," then later
the "Blue Fairy" in Pinocchio and the "Hippopotamus
Ballerina" in FANTASIA. Marge and Gower were wed on October
5, 1947 and divorced in 1973. Actress, Lina Basquette was Marge's
half sister. Marge also appeared in various Westerns as Marjorie
Gower was diagnosed with Waldenström
macroglobulinemia, a rare form of blood cancer. He died in New
York City at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in 1980.
Marge (90 in 2009,) partially resides in
Stockbridge, Mass. She still dances twice a week with choreographer,
actor, and original member of American Ballet Theatre... Donald
Saddler, who first performed at Jacobs Pillow in 1941. The still-spry
dance partners are making a documentary "Still Dancing,"
which chronicles their biweekly dance sessions.