Miriam Nelson was a choreographer, dancer, and actress.
Born in Chicago, she moved with her family to New York when she was 14 and began taking tap dancing lessons. She went on to perform in six Broadway musicals from 1939-1943: Sing Out The News, Yokel Boy, Very Warm For May, Higher and Higher, Panama Hattie, and Let’s Face It.
After marrying fellow dancer Gene Nelson, the couple moved to California where she landed a seven-year contract at Paramount Studios. She played Edward G. Robinson's secretary in Double Indemnity (1944) and later appeared in Cover Girl (1944), The Jolson Story (1946) and Pillow Talk (1959). When he was signed by Warner Bros. to star in a series of musical films, Miriam Nelson assisted and co-choreographed his dance numbers and coached Doris Day and his other female costars in such films as Tea for Two, Lullaby of Broadway, The Daughter of Rosie O’Grady, and She’s Working Her Way Through College.
She also became a choreographer for nightclub acts, working with Carol Channing, Ann Miller, Howard Keel, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé, Donald O'Connor and others.
Nelson provided the tap sounds for many films, and she was dubbed “the Marni Nixon of tap” — an allusion to the performer who dubbed singing voices (uncredited) for actresses in classic movie musicals.
Her TV credits include Judy Garland’s first TV special, The Red Skelton Show, The Colgate Comedy Hour, Father Knows Best, The Lucy Show, The Love Boat, Murder, She Wrote, Designing Women, and Ziegfeld: The Man and His Women, for which she was a Primetime Emmy nominee.
Nelson died August 12, 2018, in Beverly Hills, California. She was 98.