Vera-Ellen, ‘White Christmas’ Star: Tiny Waist Due to Anorexia?

Filed in Gather Celeb News Channel by on December 12, 2010 0 Comments

Vera-Ellen: was her famous tiny waist due to anorexia? She became a singer, dancer, and all-around celeb of the 40s and 50s and starred in a series of popular musicals, including the 1954 runaway hit and top moneymaker “White Christmas”, with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney. “White Christmas”, a perennial Christmas TV favorite, is set to run this Sunday night (December 12). Watch for Vera-Ellen and her fantastic dancing, her tiny, to-die-for waist, and her chemistry with co-star Danny Kaye. But unknown to most of her friends and co-workers, Vera-Ellen was seriously ill. According to, she suffered from anorexia for most of her career, and it took a devastating toll on her body.

Vera-Ellen: Anorexia Nervosa?

American actor Vera-Ellen sitting on a chimney, holding a bugle and a sack of Christmas presents. She wears a fur-trimmed outfit with a hat and boots. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

In the 1950s, anorexia nervosa was not a household word. The term existed, but most people had no idea not-eating could be a disease. No one knew how to help or handle a person who simply would not—could not eat enough to stay healthy. Vera-Ellen was known and recognized as a very thin woman, in an era when voluptuous was a sexy word. “Bean pole” and “broomstick” were terms used for skinny women. And since dancing is really hard work, she likely teetered on the edge of starvation, most of the time.

Vera-Ellen: Rumors

Publicity pictures, the movies, themselves, and photo ops with Vera-Ellen all have one thing in common: her throat is covered. Watch “White Christmas” Sunday, and the fact will be obvious. Here is the mystery. Why ? Why did Vera-Ellen always cover her throat, even in the most revealing dance costume? No one knows for sure, but Hollywood speculation is that anorexia – a disease which leads to premature aging – had wrinkled her throat long before her time.

White Christmas, One More Time

You’ve seen it before, you’ll see it again.  The singing and dancing are superb. calls then spectacular. Irving Berlin’s songs live on today. But the story-line is totally stupid. The audience is supposed to believe a WW II General’s former men are so loyal they drop everything on Christmas Eve and drive to Vermont for a little cash-flow-problem-controlling vacation? Not likely, but who cares.

Meanwhile, watch Vera-Ellen dance. Some have called her the best of her era. And she was known for the smallest waist. Maybe now we know why.

© Cindy Kroiss 2010

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Freelance Journalist and Entreprenuer

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