I just learned today that my friend Larri passed away a few months ago. I somehow missed the obit in the trades. I got a call today letting me know of a memorial for her this week.
In her honor, I wanted to post the notice that was in the Hollywood Reporter – she had quite a career! I will always remember her great stories, and how much we used to laugh when we worked on set together. In fact, one time in particular – it became an issue. She and I were standing-in on a show called “Partners” – and we had to climb in the back of a vintage Volvo. The two actors were quite smaller than Larri and I, and we could barely squeeze our legs into the back of the car. Well, we started to get the giggles – and then we couldn’t stop. And then we got stuck! We couldn’t get out of the back of the car when they needed to have the actors step back in. And laughing didn’t help. It took several teamsters to extract us from this dumb car – and Larri and I just roared the entire time. I think they wanted to kill us, but we thought it was funny.
That’s how I’ll remember Larri – the laughter, and all of those great dancer stories. I still see her on TCM all the time, and will look forward to continuing to do so. I’m sure she and Bruce are dancing together in heaven – both with a good set of knees again.
Larri Thomas with actor Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez in the 1950s.
Larri Thomas, Dancer and Actress, Dies at 81
Larri Thomas, an actress and dancer who did a striptease during the steamy opening title sequence of The Silencers, the first movie to star Dean Martin as counter-agent Matt Helm, has died. She was 81.
Thomas, who also adorned the big screen as a featured Goldwyn Girls dancer in the classic musical Guys and Dolls (1955), died Sunday at her home in Van Nuys shortly after suffering a fall, a family friend said.
A leggy blonde, Thomas also appeared in such films as Road to Bali (1952), Million Dollar Mermaid (1952), House of Wax (1953), Artists and Models (1955), Love Me or Leave Me (1955), The Best Things in Life Are Free (1956), The Pajama Game (1957), South Pacific (1958), Ask Any Girl (1959), The Music Man (1962), Papa’s Delicate Condition (1963), Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964), Frankie and Johnny (1966) and Earth Girls Are Easy (1988).
She also served as a stand-in for Julie Andrews for physical scenes on Mary Poppins (1964) and The Sound of Music (1965) and had bit parts in those films as well.
In the erotic start to The Silencers (1966), Thomas follows a striptease by Mary Jane Mangler with one of her own, using a white feather boa rather effectively. Up next is Cyd Charisse, who preens as she lip-synchs the title song performed by Vikki Carr.
In addition to The Silencers, Artists and Models and Robin and the 7 Hoods, Thomas worked alongside Martin on his popular NBC variety show in the 1960s.
She danced on three Fred Astaire live TV specials beginning in the late 1940s and had roles on such series as Bachelor Father, Peter Gunn, Route 66, The Lucy Show and Coach and as Henrietta the Hippo on New Zoo Revue.
Born Lida Thomas in Wayne, Pa., Thomas got her start doing TV commercials. She was married to actor John Bromfield, whom she met on the set of Curucu, Beast of the Amazon (1956), and dancer Bruce Hoy.
In addition to Hoy, survivors include daughters Amy and Elizabeth.
Check out Thomas’ performance in the opening to The Silencers here.