v Kathryn Murray, 1999/08/06

HONOLULU (Reuters) - Kathryn Murray, whose elegant dancing inspired millions of students in dance schools run by her late husband, famed instructor Arthur Murray, died Friday in her sleep, relatives said. She was 92.

The Murrays made ballroom dancing a household word by creating a chain of successful dance studios across the United States in the 1940s. At its peak in 1952, when Arthur Murray sold the franchise, there were 500 studios around the world. Currently, there are 275 worldwide.

Arthur Murray died in Honolulu in 1991, a month shy of what would have been the couple's 66th wedding anniversary. They met during a radio broadcast in Newark, NJ in 1924.

Kathryn Murray served as host for the popular television show, ``The Arthur Murray Dance Party'' which first aired in 1950 and ran for 11 years on a variety of networks.

``She was always elegant,'' said Richard Murphy, owner of the only Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Hawaii. ``I think for millions of people who have learned to dance -- not only in the United States, but around the world -- when you think of dance instruction, you think of the Arthur Murray name. And Kathryn was synonymous with Arthur.''

The Murrays were full time Hawaii residents since 1968.

Kathryn Murray is survived by twin daughters, Phyllis McDowell of New Haven, Conn. and Jane Heimlich of Cincinnati, wife of Dr. Henry Heimlich, who discovered the emergency technique to dislodge an object stuck in the windpipe that bears his name.

[And for a more cynical note:] The Arthur Murray Dance Schools were the original junk callers, back when published phone numbers were actually usable. The Murray people would call and ask a dumb question (e.g., "Who's buried in Grant's Tomb?"), and you would "win" several free dance lessons if you paid for the rest of the course.

[Victor Eijkhout writes:] Kathryn Murray, "America's dancing partner", died aged 92. Since her marriage to Arthur Murray in 1925 she was a large part of the success of the Arthur Murray dance schools, and she was the hostess of "The Arthur Murray Party", the tv show that ran from 1950 to 1961, a sort of sales pitch for their dance schools. "I've danced with bears and danced on roller skates as part of the show." She also wrote the training manuals for teachers.

The couple sold most of their interest in the franchise in 1964, and went to live in Hawaii. Arthur Murray died in 1991.

> Juliet Prowse, 1996/09/15

> Fred Kelly, 2000/03/17

> Harold Nicholas, 2000/04/07

> Michael Houseman 2000/02/25

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