Sharon McManus

Child actress of the 1940s and ’50s

Remember that cute little “beggar girl” (as she’s credited) who dances the Mexican Hat Dance with Gene Kelly in Anchors Aweigh? Ever wonder who she was? Well, she was one of the wonder child actors of the era. Here’s a little article from the December 1945 issue of Movie Stars Parade:

“An adding machine for Christmas – okay, so it is a slightly screwy wish, but seven-year-old Sharon McManus figures time left over after the a.m. did her arithmetic would be colossal. She’d use it to brush up on her dancing – being Gene Kelly’s dance partner (in Anchors Aweigh) is enough to keep any girl on her twinkling toes. As a strict matter of record, the tiny (48 lbs., 47″) McManus has been dancing – and improvising her own steps – ever since she first learned to walk back in Norfolk, Wis. Her first [public appearance] came at three. Year later when her dad, radar expert William McManus, took family to California on business, MGM execs who’d heard about Sharon from the McManus’ family friend, Father Flanagan of Boys Town, screen tested the moppet, have currently handed her first star role in Boy’s Ranch. She’s in second grade, lives with mom and pop, has a dog, two ducks, a pony and a turtle. Still loves to visit zoo.”

Sharon also plays Esther Williams’ niece in This Time for Keeps, and sings “No Wonder They Fall in Love.” She’s a very charming and talented little lady!