The Baron Twins: Tap Dancing in Stereo

Thank Barry Mitchell, for the tip that resulted in this post!

William and Wilbur Baron (1922-2010, both of them) were a pair of tap dancing twins! Born in Youngstown, Ohio they moved to Baltimore with their family in early childhood. Their father was a tailor. The boys started dancing in order to help with family expenses during the Depression. They made their professional debut at age eight in 1930 at Baltimore’s Hippodrome theatre, and also played kiddie shows at Carlin’s Park. They tapped in tandem, and did a comical mirror routine, making maximum use of the fact that they were identical. When they were older they studied with Henry LeTang,  who taught the Nicholas Brothers.

They reached the pinnacle when they were cast in the original production of the Broadway musical  Best Foot Forward (1941-42) with Gene Kelly. In 1942 they were drafted and both were allowed to serve together in the same assignments, They were sent to the Pacific (New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands and the New Hebrides), where they were technicians and warehouse workers by day, and entertained troops by night. They continued to perform in nightclubs after the war, and got a spot on Paul Whiteman’s tv variety show.

When they weren’t dancing they worked at jobs in Baltimore. Wilbur worked at the family businesses, Baron Cleaning (dry cleaning) and Baron Stage Curtains. William also worked in a hat shop. Both brothers passed away in 2010: Wilbur in April, William in December.

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