in Washington Melodrama (1941)
|Born||Daniel James Dailey Jr.
December 14, 1915
New York, New York, U.S.
|Died||October 16, 1978
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Complications from hip surgery|
|Esther Rodier (?-1941)
Elizabeth Hofert (1942-1951) one child
Gwen Carter O'Connor (1955-1960)
|Children||Dan Dailey III, (1948-1975)|
Daniel James Dailey Jr. (December 14, 1915 - October 16, 1978) was an American dancer and actor. He is best remembered for a series of popular musicals he made at 20th Century Fox such as Mother Wore Tights (1947).
Dailey was born on December 14, 1915, in New York City, to Daniel James Dailey Sr. and Helen Theresa (née Ryan) Dailey. His younger sister was actress Irene Dailey.
In 1940, he was signed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to make films and, although his past career had been in musicals, he was initially cast in the drama Susan and God (1940). He also played a Nazi in The Mortal Storm (1940).
Dailey was the juvenile lead in The Captain Is a Lady (1940) and Dulcy (1940). He appeared in a musical comedy in Hullabaloo (1940), then had a small role in the drama Keeping Company (1941) and was the juvenile in The Wild Man of Borneo (1941). He could be seen in Washington Melodrama (1941) and Ziegfeld Girl (1941), and played a gangster in The Get-Away (1941).
Dailey's last film for MGM was Panama Hattie (1942). It was a hit and Dailey's career looked like it was going to the next level when cast in For Me and My Gal. However Dailey was drafted and Gene Kelly ended up taking the role.
He served in the United States Army during World War II, and was commissioned as an Army officer after graduation from Signal Corps Officer Candidate School at Fort Monmouth in New Jersey. During his army service, he appeared in This Is the Army (1943).
When Dailey returned to Hollywood MGM agreed to let him sign a contract with 20th Century Fox. Their association began brilliantly with Mother Wore Tights (1947) in which Dailey supported the studio's biggest star, Betty Grable. His part was built up during filming and the movie was Fox's most popular movie of 1947, making $5 million.
Fox promptly cast Dailey opposite their other big female star, Jeanne Craine, in You Were Meant for Me (1948) which was popular. It was directed by Lloyd Bacon who also directed Dailey in Give My Regards to Broadway (1948).
In 1949, he showcased his singing abilities by recording four songs for Decca Records with the popular Andrews Sisters singing trio. Two of the songs were Irish novelties ("Clancy Lowered the Boom!" and "I Had a Hat (When I Came In)"). The other songs, Take Me Out to the Ball Game and In the Good Old Summertime capitalized on the success of two MGM blockbuster films of the same names from that same year, starring Gene Kelly, Esther Williams, Frank Sinatra ("Tale Me Out to the Ballgame" and Judy Garland and Van Johnson ("In the Good Old Summertime"), respectively. Dailey and The Andrews Sisters were an excellent match, and their vocal stylings on these selections were full of gaiety and fun.
Dailey starred in a film for John Ford, When Willie Comes Marching Home (1950) which was a mild success at the box office. He received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy in 1951. More popular was a third teaming with Grable, My Blue Heaven (1950). He made a cameo in I'll Get By (1950).
Dailey was reunited with Anne Baxter in A Ticket to Tomahawk (1950), often noted as one of the first screen appearances of Marilyn Monroe, who played a very small part as a dance hall girl. He made a fourth (and final) film with Grable, Call Me Mister (1951).
Universal borrowed him for a musical, Meet Me at the Fair (1953). Fox put him in a drama, Taxi (1953), then a musical with June Haver, The Girl Next Door (1953). He did another baseball-themed film, The Kid from Left Field (1953).
Dailey was meant to appear in the 20th Century Fox musical extravaganza There's No Business Like Show Business (1954), which featured Irving Berlin's music and also starred Monroe, Ethel Merman, Mitzi Gaynor, Johnnie Ray, and Donald O'Connor, whose wife Gwen divorced O'Connor and married Dailey around that time. Filming was delayed due to an illness to director Walter Lang, so Dailey was going to appear in Susan Slept Here and Heller in Pink Tights. Susan ended up being made with Dick Powell and Pink Tights was postponed. Eventually There's No Business Like Show Business was made and proved to be Dailey's biggest hit in a long time.
Dailey went to MGM to play GI-turned-advertising man Doug Hallerton in It's Always Fair Weather (1955) alongside Gene Kelly. The film was screened at drive-in theaters and was not a box-office success, although it did receive good reviews.
He was one of several stars in Fox's comedy Oh, Men! Oh, Women! (1957). For the same studio, he was part of the ensemble in The Wayward Bus (1957). Dailey made a profitable low-budget war film for MGM, Underwater Warrior (1958).
As the musical genre began to wane in the late-1950s, he moved on to various comedic and dramatic roles on television, including starring in The Four Just Men (1959-60).
In the late 1960s, Dailey toured as Oscar Madison in a road production of The Odd Couple. co-starring Elliott Reid as Felix Unger and also featuring Peter Boyle as Murray the cop. He did a stint on Broadway in Plaza Suite.
From 1969-71, Dailey was the Governor opposite Julie Sommars's J.J. in the sitcom The Governor & J.J. which revolved around the relationship between his character, the conservative governor of an unnamed state and his liberal daughter Jennifer Jo. His performance won him the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Musical or Comedy for performances in 1969, the year that this category was introduced.
He starred in a short lived series Faraday & Company in 1973.
Dailey's son committed suicide in 1975.
Dailey broke his hip in 1977, and developed anemia. He died on October 16, 1978, from complications following hip replacement surgery. He is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.
For a number of years, movie exhibitors voted Dailey among the most popular stars in the country: