As “Lola” in Damn Yankees, Gwen Verdon brought down the house with her powerhouse performance and her inimitable version of “Whatever Lola Wants,” performing the role over 1,000 times. She began both a working and personal relationship with choreographer Bob Fosse as a result of that production, a partnership recently chronicled in the TV mini-series, Fosse/Verdon (2019).
A charming portrait of Verdon by the Russian-born artist Boris Chaliapin graced the cover of the June 13, 1955 issue of Time magazine, one of over 400 works of art created by Chaliapin for the periodical.
The onyx earrings Verdon wears in the portrait were a gift to the dancer from Jack Cole. I wrote extensively in Dance Magazine about the earrings and how Verdon’s daughter came to lend them to Michelle Williams in Fosse/Verdon, playing her mother.
Gwen Verdon Boris Chaliapin portrait | Bonhams through December 11