Moira Shearer's 1948 movie inspired generations of young dancers

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated February 02, 2006 09:05 AM

Moira Shearer, the Scottish-born ballerina who rose to worldwide fame with the lead role in the classic 1948 British film The Red Shoes, died Tuesday in a hospital in Oxford, England. She was 80.

“She was full of spirit and also she was very beautiful. She moved wonderfully gracefully as you would expect of a ballet dancer,” Kennedy told reporters after his wife’s death.

The millions of fans around the world who’ve seen the visually splendid Red Shoes – loosely based on a Hans Christian Anderson story – did not have to be told that about the stunning redhead, who first became a principal dancer at London’s Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet in 1942.

Though she took later film roles, nothing Shearer did after The Red Shoes would ever overshadow her work in the movie, which inspired generations of young women to become dancers.

Shearer, who became Lady Kennedy after her husband was knighted, is also survived by her four children.