Remembering the Original Dancing With the Stars

Daughter of Dance Hall King Arthur Murray Waxes Nostalgic on Family's TV Show From the 1950s

CINCINNATI, OH--(Marketwire - April 26, 2010) -  Decades before there was a Dancing with the Stars, Dance hall king Arthur Murray and his wife Kathryn starred from 1950 to 1961 on The Arthur Murray Party, which featured guests like movie idol Errol Flynn, singer Connie Francis, and even comic legend Groucho Marx.

Celebrity winners received prizes, Murray successfully promoted his nationwide chain of dance schools, and his daughter Jane sat in the wings, a witness to the spectacle, and a passenger on the celebrity train that ran for that decade.

Now, daughter Jane Heimlich is reminiscing about those days in her memoir "Out of Step" (, and she is also collaborating with her childhood friend, Dick Clark, to assemble some clips from the show in a TV documentary about the series.

"There are some amazing moments on those shows, and it was the type of show that paved the way for shows like Dancing with the Stars," said Heimlich. "And even though I watched from the wings, I was able to get into the act as a writer. My mother was given a segment on the show in which she'd perform a pantomime skit, featuring a new character each week. On the show, she discovered her gift for comedy, and I was able to help that along by writing some of her skits for her. The pay was handsome, upwards of $250 per skit, which was a month's salary for most women of that period, and the reward was that each week I'd see the product of my imagination on the screen."

Jane, now an author and respected expert in homeopathy (having written two of the seminal books on the topic), had a second brush with fame when her husband, a little-known surgeon named Henry Heimlich, invented a first aid technique that would later be named for him: The Heimlich Maneuver. Having lived in the spotlight of celebrity both as a child and as an adult, the story of Jane's life offers a unique perspective on the celebrity-driven world of today.

About Jane Heimlich

Jane Heimlich is coauthor of the widely acclaimed Homeopathic Medicine at Home and author of What Your Doctor Won't Tell You. She lives in Cincinnati with her husband, Dr. Henry Heimlich, inventor of the Heimlich Maneuver.

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Rachel Friedman