Monday, December 23, 2013

Remembering José Greco

Constanzo Greco Bucci was born on December 23, 1918 in Montorio nei Frentani, Molise, Italy. He later changed his real name to José Greco. When he was 10 years old, Greco and his family moved to New York City. He began dancing in Brooklyn with his sister Norina at a young age.
He made his professional dancing debut in 1937 at the Hippodrome Theatre in Manhattan. His most famous partners were La Argentinita (Encarnación López Júlvez) and, after her death, her sister Pilar López. In 1949, he started the José Greco Dance Company, with which he toured extensively.
Greco also appeared in a number of films, including “Sombrero” (1953), “Around the World in 80 Days” (1956), “Holiday for Lovers” (1959), “Ship of Fools” (1965), and his only Euro-western “The Proud and the Damned” (1968).

He received many honors and awards including being knighted by the Spanish government (Cruz Laureada del Caballero del Mérito Civil) and also received 4 honorary doctorates.
José started the José Greco Foundation for Hispanic Dance in 1972 and retired from the stage for the first time in 1974. He published an autobiography, Gypsy in My Soul: The Autobiography of José Greco, in 1977. He had six children, three boys and three girls. His sons José Luis and Paolo are composers; his son José Greco II is a dancer as are his three daughters, Alessandra, Carmela and Lola.
He came out of retirement in the late 1980s to form a company featuring his children. He appeared on stage for the last time in 1995, at the age of 77. Until his death he was Visiting Professor of Dance at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA.
Greco died of heart failure in his home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on December 31, 2000. He is survived by his wife Margaret-Ana Börger-Greco, professor of Spanish at Millersville University.
Today we remember José Greco on what would have been his 95th birthday.