American Vaudeville Museum

All material 1998-2011 American Museum of Vaudeville, Inc. Page 2

George Raft

George Raft usually played gangsters in movies, but in the 1920s he was one of the most stylish dancers in New York, working in vaudeville and speakeasies, specializing in The Charleston. Born in Hell's Kitchen, George struggled to escape the gangsterism that was the career path for his youthful buddies. He began, alongside Rudolph Valentino, as a "tearoom dancer," the male version of a dance hall girl, available to older, rich women as a dance partner and escort, until he was able to get work on the stage. Film provided more success, but Filmland seldom used his great dancing talent.