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Killer Joe Piro

Stage Name

Birth Name

'Killer Joe'

Frank Joseph Piro

   Joe Piro was the son of an Italian Tailor who would grow up to be crowned the "King of dance" and Instructor for the Mob!. Won the 1942 Harvest Moon Ball and later opened his own Dance Studio in Manhattan and taught many famous people such as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Margot Fonteyn, Ray Bolger, The Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Lucy Baines Johnson ( President Johnson's daughter) to dance such dances as the Jitterbug, Cha-Cha, Mambo, Twist and Watusi as well as others.

   In World War II, he served in the Coast Guard and upon his return started dancing in many nightclubs and contests as well as later becoming the main teacher at the Palladium In the 1950's. He would eventually become a board member of prestigious Friars Club.

   The "Killer" was also said to have taught such infamous people as Al Capone. Piro got his nickname from his ability to wear  down many partners over a period of hours through dancing and a "Killer" dancing style. (Not his connection to the mob as some people have said.) He was married to Lucienne and has a daughter and step son and two sisters. Joe Piro died of kidney disease in New York City hospital, he was 68 years old.

| More Photos |
There are a couple of songs written about or dedicated To "Killer Joe".

Birth Place

Birth Date



New York City, New York 3/2/1921-2/5/1989 Lucienne n/a

Dance Types

Dance Partners

Music Titles

Bossa Nova, The Leonora Betz "Killer Joe"- Manhattan Transfer
Cha-Cha, The Nancy Ames Viva La Pachanga - back cover
Foxtrot, The Ann Milne (1942 Harvest Moon Ball) Enoch Light Orch."Discotheque"
Frug    Pérez Prado -Cha Cha Cha & Mambo LP
Jitterbug, The      
La Bostella      
Mambo, The      
Mule, the        
Pachanga, the      
The Twist      
Waltz, The      
Watusi, The      

Night Clubs



Ciro's n/a n/a
1942 - Harvest Moon Ball        
NY Palladium (teacher)         
Peppermint Lounge (NY)         
Savoy Ballroom         




1950 - Mambo Madness1964 - That Was the Week That Was10/1955 - Dance Magazine
1953 - Dance Hall Racket (as Icepick) Jerry Lewis Telethon11/1960 - Dance Magazine
1967 - Mad Monster Party (Chor.)7/1965 - Hy Gardner Calling / Celebrity Party1962 - Harper's Bazaar
      1966 - Smirnoff Vodka Ad


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