Lucille Bremer: From Ballet to Baja

Lucille Bremer (1917-1996) had the briefest of of Hollywood movie careers — five years — but it was a high profile one. Raised in Philadelphia, she trained in ballet, first dancing professionally at the age of 12 with the Philadelphia Opera Company. By her early twenties, she was in New York, where she danced with the Radio City Rockettes, in presentations at the 1939 World’s Fair, in the Broadway musical Panama Hattie (1940-42) and in nightclubs like the famous Copacabana.

Arthur Freed saw promise so he brought her to MGM. She played Judy Garland’s older sister in Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), danced in specialty numbers in Ziegfeld Follies (1945), then co-starred with Fred Astaire in Yolanda and the Thief (1945).  She played the fictional Sally Hessler in ‘Til the Clouds Roll By (1946) the last film where were her musical skills were put to use. Then came four dramas: Dark Delusion (1947), and Adventures of Casanova, Ruthless, and Behind Locked Doors, all 1948. And that was that! The general take on her career arc is that her lackluster performance in Yolanda and the Thief caused the film to tank at the box office, but who knows? Maybe it was the title! Would you go see a movie called Yolanda and the Thief? I wouldn’t.

In 1948, Bremer and Hollywood mutually parted ways. That same year she married Abelardo Luis “Rod” Rodriguez, son of the former President of Mexico. The pair opened several resort hotels in Baja Mexico, helping to make the area a fashionable vacation spot amongst the Hollywood crowd. When the couple divorced in 1963 she continued her entrepreneurial bent by operating a children’s clothing store in La Jolla.

To learn more about the history of show business please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous,