Jeni LeGon (born Jennie Ligon, August 14, 1916 – December 7, 2012), also credited as Jeni Le Gon, was an American dancer, dance instructor, and actress. She was one of the first African-American women to establish a solo career in tap dance.
In 1931, LeGon began performing across the southern United States with the Whitman Sisters company. In 1933, she and her half-sister, Willa Mae Lane, formed the LeGon and Lane song-and-dance team.They were given the opportunity to go to Detroit and work with nightclub owner Leonard Reed. While there, they received an offer to travel to Hollywood and perform with composer Shelton Brooks. Upon arrival, they discovered there was, in fact, no job. LeGon heard about auditions being held by Ethel Waters' former manager, Earl Dancer. The audition was for a film that Fox Studios was producing. She won the part and subsequently appeared in dance numbers in several musicals. In 1935, she signed with RKO Pictures to be the dancing partner of Bill Robinson in the film Hooray for Love. She also performed in a 1935 London production of the revue At Home Abroad, taking over numbers that Waters and Eleanor Powell had in the Broadway version.While in Hollywood, LeGon had the opportunity to work with performers such as Waters and Al Jolson. She danced with Fred Astaire and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, becoming the first African-American woman to do so on film. MGM signed her to a long-term contract, making LeGon the first African-American woman to receive such an opportunity, but cancellation of the contract soon followed.On Broadway, LeGon portrayed Jenny in Black Rhythm (1936), and Lily Ann in Early to Bed (1943). She danced at a number of clubs and theaters including the Apollo, Cafe de Paris, Howard, Paramount and Lincoln Theaters. In the early 1950s, she appeared on the televised version of Amos 'n' Andy,LeGon owned and operated the Jeni LeGon Dance Studio in Los Angeles and managed the Drama & Dance Playhouse in Los Angeles. In 1969, she settled in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she taught tap and pointe. In 1999, the National Film Board of Canada released a documentary film about her life, Jeni Le Gon: Living in a Great Big Way, directed by Grant Greshuk and produced by Selwyn Jacob. She appeared in the film Bones (2001).
In 1943, LeGon married composer, conductor and pianist Phil Moore. They composed the song "The Sping", sung by Lena Horne in the film Panama Hattie.
Movies & TV shows
In the Shadow of Hollywood: Race Movies and the Birth of Black Cinema
This documentary captures the sounds and images of a nearly forgotten era in film history when African American filmmakers and studios created “race movies” exclusively for black audiences. The best o...
I Shot Jesse James
Bob Ford murders his best friend Jesse James in order to obtain a pardon that will free him to marry his girlfriend Cynthy. The guilt-stricken Ford soon finds himself greeted with derision and open mo...
My Son, The Hero
Learning that his long-unseen son is soon to arrive for a visit, a small-time con-man enlists the help of his cronies to help him pretend to be a wealthy and important businessman. Comedy.
I Walked with a Zombie
A nurse in the Caribbean turns to voodoo in hopes of curing her patient, an unusual woman whose husband she's fallen in love with.
Dancing great Bill Williamson sees his face on the cover of Theatre World magazine and reminisces: Just back from World War I, he meets lovely singer Selina Rogers at a soldiers' ball and promises to ...
Take My Life
A well meaning Dr. lends his building to a group of neighborhood kids. When the neighbors learn that they are members Harlem tough -kid gang, they suspect that their operation there conducting nefario...
Jon Hall, Maria Montez and Sabu star in this lush, epic story of two half brothers who battle each other for the power of the throne and the love of a sensual, gorgeous dancing girl, Scheherazade
Tommy McCoy and "Dude" Markey are both in love with Harlem singer/dancer Nita. Markey robs a jewelry store and turns the loot over to gang-boss Murray Howard. Later, Markey robs the safe, steals the j...
Ali Baba Goes to Town
While visiting Hollywood a starstruck movie fan (Eddie Cantor) fantasizes about himself cast in an Arabian adventure. Director David Butler's comedy--with many songs--also features Tony Martin, Roland...
The Adventurous Blonde
The third of nine Torchy Blane movies. Angry that police detective Steve McBride (Barton MacLane) is giving preferential treatment to his reporter-fiancée, Torchy Blane (Glenda Farrell), reporters f...
Hooray for Love
A wealthy young man falls hard for a beautiful showgirl, and her wily father quickly realizes the naïve boy would make the perfect investor for his daughter's new show. Comedy with music.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Jeni_Le_Gon", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.