Disney's Snow White model Marge Champion dies aged 101

Actress and dancer Marge Champion, who also modelled for Disney’s Snow White, has died aged 101.

The performer, who was studied by animators for the 1937 movie to ensure the character’s movements were realistic, died in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Her dance teacher, Pierre Dulaine, confirmed the sad news to The Hollywood Reporter.

Champion was highly influential in the film, not only modelling Snow White, but also characters including Dopey, so as the film’s animation would be as natural as possible.

She was 14 at the time and recalled in a 1998 interview with the Archive of American Television: ‘None of them [the all-male animation team] had been a young girl or knew how a dress would do this or that or the other thing.’

She modelled again for the Blue Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, Hyacinth Hippo in Fantasia, and Mr Stock in Dumbo.

Aside from her work for Disney, Champion won an Emmy in 1975 for choreographing the film Queen of the Stardust Ballroom.

She also performed with her husband, Gower Champion, for Broadway, film, and TV, including appearances in Mr. Music (1950), which starred Bing Crosby, Jupiter’s Darling (1955), and Three for the Show (1955), which starred Jack Lemmon.


She is survived by her step-daughters, actress Katey Sagal, and twins Liz and Jean Sagal, stepson Joey Sagal, and her son, producer-director Gregg Champion.

Tributes have been pouring in for the late star, with one fan writing: ‘Rest in peace to the beautiful Marge Champion, a talented dancer who died at the age of 101’.

‘I’ll never forget how starstruck I was turning around on the #TCMFF red carpet and seeing 94 year old Marge striking a pose for the cameras as only a dancer with her grace and pizazz can,’ another added. ‘Thank you for all the beauty you brought to us.’

One more said: ‘RIP to dance dynamo Marge Champion, who fleetly floated through films and television in the 1950s and who also modeled for Snow White’s likeness in the 1937 Disney film [sic].’

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