A couple months ago my son Tim asked me, “How many ‘Tim Walters’ are there in the world?” Good question, probably a lot. And then I thought, hmm, I bet there’s a website for this question … and, of course, there is: HowManyOfMe.com. According to this website, which uses statistics from the Census Bureau, there are 403 people in the U.S. named “Timothy Walters.” The website offers suggestions of “Famous people with the last name ‘Walters.’” The first name it listed was “Charles Walters.” We all know Barbara Walters, but I had no idea who is Charles Walters, so I looked him up in Wikipedia. It turns out the famous Charles Walters was born in Pasadena, California, as both my father and I were. He was also born with the last name of “Walter,” as was my father’s paternal grandfather. Two strange coincidences.
I wanted to learn more about Charles Walters, so I read his biography by former Joffrey Ballet soloist, Brent Phillips, Charles Walters: The Director Who Made Hollywood Dance. Chuck was one of the most prolific directors during the Golden Age of Hollywood musicals. He started out as a naturally-gifted dancer, made it on Broadway as a dancer, quickly became a choreographer on stage and then for film, and just as quickly became a film director under a long-time contract with MGM. One of his closest friends was Judy Garland, whom he directed several times. Recall a big name from that era and he directed them in musicals and comedies: Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Esther Williams, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelly, Doris Day, Bing Crosby, and on and on. [Read more…]