R.I.P. Nita Bieber, who once danced on a rooftop with The Three Stooges
Image: The Everett Collection
On November 28, 1949, just after Thanksgiving weekend, a new issue of LIFE magazine hit the newsstands. The cover depicted a beautiful brunette seated on the floor, her legs tucked under a chiffon dress. MOVIE DANCER, the text declared, NITA BIEBER. Inside, the screen performed talked up her big number in Nancy Goes to Rio, a movie musical starring Ann Sothern. She had recently signed to MGM and was plugging the picture. Her scene ended up on the cutting room floor.
Fortunately, Bieber had already shown off her moves, most notably in the 1946 Three Stooges short Rhythm and Weep. The slapstick comedy begins with the Stooges getting thrown out a theater — for the 26th time that month. So, the self-deprecating trio decides to end it all. Larry, Moe and Curly head up to a rooftop to jump.
Atop the building, the Three Stooges meet a threesome of women who are also looking to leap. They are dancers who have an act, but no theater will hire them. Naturally, the two trios team up. The Stooges slip into tutus. High jinks and eye pokes ensue.
Bieber played Wilda, who is paired with Moe. She shows off the swing in her hips in one number. It would be her first credited acting role.
The following year, Bieber appeared alongside the popular "Bowery Boys" in the film News Hounds. It was a small role, but she was featured on the poster.
The Los Angeles native also landed parts alongside Judy Garland in Summer Stock and Tony Curtis in The Prince Who Was a Thief. In the Fifties, Bieber formed her own troupe, The Nita Bieber Dancers, and performed in Las Vegas, headlining at the El Rancho. The Nita Bieber Dancers also performed on Jerry Lewis' The Colgate Comedy Hour in 1954.
Earlier this week, Bieber passed away at the age of 92, as reported by her son to The Hollywood Reporter.