Bambi Linn left Westport years ago. But when she lived here, she was one of our legendary arts icons: a former Broadway dancer who as a 16-year-old joined the chorus of “Oklahoma!”, and 3 years later played Louise — Billy Bigelow’s daughter — in the original 1945 production of “Carousel.”
She starred on Broadway for 17 more years. Her last show was “I Can Get it For You Wholesale.”
Bambi Linn is now 92. The New Yorker magazine caught up with her recently, at the “Carousel” revival. It opens next Thursday (April 12).
She attended a preview matinee with her husband, former ballroom dancer Joe De Jesus. (He taught countless Westport teenagers how to dance.)
The New Yorker “Talk of the Town” story called Bambi Linn “petite and zesty.” It described her encounters with Renée Fleming, who now sings “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and Brittany Pollack, the current Louise.
It zips through Bambi Linn’s past (at age 6 she studied with Agnes de Mille; during “Carousel” she had enough downtime to go across the street to watch Ethel Merman in the 1st act of “Annie Get Your Gun”), and touches on the different ways in which the 2 productions — nearly 75 years apart — treat Billy’s beating of his wife Julie, and slapping of his daughter.
“I never thought of it as domestic violence,” Bambi Linn says. “I never thought of Julie as a put-upon woman. She loved him, so she was willing to accept it. But I come from an era way back.”
It’s a typical New Yorker “Talk of the Town” piece. You’re never sure what the point is, or why it’s there in the first place.
But it gets you thinking about something — or someone — you haven’t thought about in a long time.
Like one of Westport’s most famous Broadway stars, of all time.
(For the full New Yorker story, click here. Registration may be required.)