Marge Champion, actress, dancer and Snow White model, dead at 101

Champion continued dancing into her 100th year, her director son Gregg told Fox News

Marge Champion, a legendary actress and dancer during Hollywood’s Golden Age and Broadway stage performer, has died. She was 101.

Her death was confirmed to Fox News by Champion’s son, film and television director, Gregg Champion.

“My Mother, Marge Champion passed away peacefully on Wednesday afternoon at our home in Los Angeles where she had been living with us for the last 6 months," the statement read. 

“At 101, she was an inspiration to us all as she had persevered through several career incarnations, as a young ballet and ballroom dancer,” Champion raved of the performer, whose father Ernest Belcher was a notable Hollywood dance teacher who taught Fred Astaire and Shirley Temple — and was friends with Walt Disney.

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Born on Sept. 2, 1919, Champion -- once a CBS Radio actress  -- served as the real-life model and inspiration for Disney’s animated Snow White. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

Born on Sept. 2, 1919, Champion -- once a CBS Radio actress  -- served as the real-life model and inspiration for Disney’s animated Snow White. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

Born on Sept. 2, 1919, Champion served as the real-life model and inspiration for Disney’s animated Snow White. 

Additionally, she worked as Disney’s model for the Blue Fairy in 1940’s “Pinocchio,” Hyacinth Hippo in 1940’s “Fantasia” and Mr. Stock in 1941’s “Dumbo.”

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Champion made her Broadway debut in 1945 with “The Fair Witch in Dark of the Moon.” In his statement on Thursday, Gregg said his mother absolutely loved her craft and continued to dance with her partner, Donald Saddler, on Broadway in Steven Sondheim's “Follies” “doing 8 performances a week for 6 months” until she was 82 years old.

In 1947, Champion -- once billed as Marjorie Bell -- tied the knot with Gower Champion. The pair would act alongside each other as Gower & Bell, where their talents saw them playing in nightclubs and co-starring with Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca on NBC’s “The Admiral Broadway Revue.”

Marge Champion and Gower Champion performing a dance number in a scene from the 1955 film 'Three For The Show.' The pair was married from 1947 to 1973. (Photo by Columbia Pictures/Getty Images)

Marge Champion and Gower Champion performing a dance number in a scene from the 1955 film 'Three For The Show.' The pair was married from 1947 to 1973. (Photo by Columbia Pictures/Getty Images)

They parlayed that success into their own headline show “The Marge and Gower Champion Show” in the summer of 1957 which was critically acclaimed.

Soon the pair began lending their choreography to the original production of “Hello, Dolly!,” which ran from 1964 through 1975. The couple divorced in 1973.

Champion won an Emmy for her choreography in the 1975 telefilm “Queen of the Stardust Ballroom.”

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“She continued dancing as she aged into her 100th year and always had a positive outlook often stating that ‘one should celebrate every decade for what it gives you and not for what it takes away,’” Gregg recalled of his mother.

He added that Champion’s motto was always to "Keep Dancing!"

Marge Champion, pictured here in 2013, had a motto to always 'keep dancing,' her son Gregg told Fox News.  (Photo by Michael Buckner/WireImage)

Marge Champion, pictured here in 2013, had a motto to always 'keep dancing,' her son Gregg told Fox News.  (Photo by Michael Buckner/WireImage)

In addition to Gregg, Champion is survived by daughter-in-law Christine Champion and grandchildren Dylan Gower Champion and Alana Blake Champion. 

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She also had another granddaughter Vanessa Rose and grandson Gabriel Marantz, who is the son of Blake Champion who died in a car accident at 25, he added.

Fox News' Stephanie Nolasco contributed to this report