Arthur Freed discovered Lucille when she was working in a nightclubdoing a specialty dance act, and decided to cast her as Rose Smith inMeet Me in St. Louis, and began building up her career which neverreally took off despite being put in 3 big musical productions at MGM. When she married, she decided to retire. A brief but beautiful little wave in the MGM musical pool during themid-40s was lovely, classy, red-headed Lucille Bremer.
Her naturaldancing talent, aristocratic manner and stately carriage dazzledfilm-goers briefly, like a shooting star, and then was gone. She wasgroomed by the studio for big things after 'Eleanor Powell (I)' retired and Lucille seemed more than ready to ascend the MGM pedestal. One major musical misfire, not to mention typical studio politics andmodest acting ability, left her career floundering after only threeyears. The name of Lucille Bremer, as a result, became a distantrecollection. She was born in Amsterdam, New York on February 21, 1917 (many referencebooks incorrectly list the year as 1923), but the family moved toPhiladelphia while she was still quite young.
She began taking balletlessons at age 7 and before she was even a teenager, the promisingdancer was accepted into the Philadelphia Opera Company. At age 16 shebecame a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall in New York and toured withthe girls throughout Europe. She took her first Broadway curtain callas a "Pony Girl" chorine (along with two other up-and-coming hopefuls'Vera-Ellen' and 'June Allyson' ) in the Broadway musical"Panama Hattie" in 1940. She also served as an understudy. Shortlyafter she earned a featured part in the musical "Dancing in theStreets" but the show closed during out-of-town tryouts.
The followingyear she nabbed the ingénue role in the 'Gertrude Lawrence' musical "Lady in the Dark". It was MGM producer 'Arthur Freed (I)' who happened to discover thehigh-kicking Lucille dancing at a Versailles Restaurant's floor show. He had her screen-tested and no less than 'Louis B. Mayer' himselfwas taken by her, predicting a star-making career for her. Lucille,with no training at all, had an innate dramatic flair.
After she and'Cyd Charisse' danced in the 'Stan Kenton' musical short This Love of Mine (1944) , Lucille was given the featured role ofRose, the eldest Smith daughter, who yearns to become part of thesnobby elite in Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) . While the movieobviously focused on younger sister 'Judy Garland' , the camerastill showed an appreciation for Lucille and MGM wasted no time infinding a proper star vehicle for her dancing talents. This came in the form of the exotic and lavish Technicolor musicalfantasy Yolanda and the Thief (1945) , directed by'Vincente Minnelli' , in which she co-starred with'Fred Astaire' . Astaire plays a conman with designs on the lovelyLucille, a naive, convent-bred heiress who takes him for a "guardianangel" of sorts.
While this was an "A" vehicle for Lucille, and thehighly interpretive dance styles of Bremer and Astaire, particularly in"Will You Dance With Me?" and the "Coffee Time" finale, meshedbeautifully together, the storyline had problems. Far too heady, adultand Freudian in nature to please weary, war-time audiences seekingescapism, the movie was deemed an expensive box-office failure. Astairewas already a star and was able to rise above the ashes; Lucille, whosechilly beauty and demeanor was at times a negative, was not as lucky. She was never given another starring role in a musical film. Her MGM highlight actually came later with Astaire by her side onceagain in two dancing segments of Ziegfeld Follies (1945) .
Theduo danced to the lovely ballet number "This Heart of Mine" and thescene-stealing "Limehouse Blues" sequence. She would also be among theillustrious roster of MGM musical talents in Till the Clouds Roll By (1946) , the fictionalized biography ofsongwriter and "Show Boat" composer 'Jerome Kern' . Her singing wasdubbed as she appeared alongside 'Van Johnson (I)' in the "I Won'tDance" segment, and the "One More Dance" and "The Land Where the GoodSongs Go" numbers. MGM and Freed quickly grew disenchanted with Lucille. Her final MGMpicture was a "B"-level dramatic programmer -- part of the "Dr.
Kildare" series entitled Dark Delusion (1947) . Here again sheplays a wealthy woman -- this time with life-threatening health issues. Her final three pictures, all released in 1948, were on loan to"Poverty Row" studio Eagle-Lion. The budget-bare swashbuckler Adventures of Casanova (1948) emphasized her beauty, if nothingelse, opposite the equally handsome 'Arturo de Córdova' ; thewell-cast drama Ruthless (1948) , which starred'Zachary Scott (I)' , had her playing an aloof second fiddle to theantics of Southern tycoon "husband" 'Sydney Greenstreet' ; and Behind Locked Doors (1948) , opposite 'Richard Carlson (I)' and 'Douglas Fowley' , was a rather hodgepodge tale that involved ajudge on the lam, a reporter who tracks him down and an insane asylum. All came and went without much notice.
Lucille, seeing her career slipping away, wisely focused on her privatelife. While filming Adventures of Casanova (1948) on location,she met millionaire Abalardo Louis Rodriguez, the son of a formerinterim president of Mexico. The couple married in July of 1948 and sheofficially retired. Although there were infrequent talks of a"comeback," nothing materialized and Lucille remained adamant about notreturning to show business in any way, shape or form. After living as awealthy person in La Paz and Mexico City.
The couple, who had two sons,Nicholas and Torre, and two daughters, Christina and Karen, divorced in1963 and Lucille eventually moved to La Jolla, California, where shelater owned and operated a children's dress shop. She traveledextensively in her twilight years and died at a La Jolla hospitalfollowing a heart attack at age 79 in 1996. .
|1||Thats Entertainment! III||1994||as Performer in Clip from 'Yolanda and the Thief'|
|2||Till the Clouds Roll By||1946||as Sally Hessler|
|3||A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies||1995||as Rose Smith, 'Meet Me in St. Louis'|
|4||Adventures of Casanova||1948||as Lady Bianca|
|5||Behind Locked Doors||1948||as Kathy Lawrence|
|6||Dark Delusion||1947||as Cynthia Grace|
|7||Meet Me in St. Louis||1944||as Rose Smith|
|8||Meet Me in St. Louis: The Making of an American Classic||1994||as Herself|
|9||Penny Arcade||1942||as Woman|
|10||Ruthless||1948||as Christa Mansfield|
|11||This Love of Mine||1944||as Dancer|
|12||Yolanda and the Thief||1945||as Yolanda|
|13||Ziegfeld Follies||1945||as Princess ('This Heart of Mine')/Moy Ling in 'Limehouse Blues')|