Charles Walters was a director who helmed a long string of memorable movie musicals from "Easter Parade" in the 1940s to "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" in the 1960s.
Walters began his show business career as a dancer, starting in the chorus of Fanchon & Marco road shows in the 1930s and working his way up through a succession of Broadway shows. Along the way he was the dance partner of Betty Grable in the stage production of "Du Barry Was a Lady" and also staged dance numbers for Broadway's "Let's Face It," starring Danny Kaye, and "Banjo Eyes" for Eddie Cantor.
After these successes and his first movie role in "Seven Days' Leave" (1942), the Pasadena-born Walters wound up back in Southern California as a dance director for a series of movies.
His first effort was familiar territory — the film version of "Du Barry Was a Lady" in 1942. He also staged dance sequences for "Presenting Lily Mars," dancing with Judy Garland, and "Meet Me in St. Louis," Garland's musical hit in 1943.
Other movies followed and, in 1947, MGM made him a full-fledged movie director with "Good News." In quick succession came "Easter Parade" (with Garland and Fred Astaire), "The Barkleys of Broadway" (Astaire and Ginger Rogers), "Summer Stock" (Garland and Gene Kelly) and "Lili" (Leslie Caron).
He received an Academy Award nomination for his direction of "Lili."
Among Walters' other directorial successes were "The Tender Trap," "High Society," "Don't Go Near the Water," "Please Don't Eat the Daisies," "Billy Rose's Jumbo" and "The Unsinkable Molly Brown."
Walters' last film was "Walk, Don't Run" in 1965 with Cary Grant and Jim Hutton.
He took a break from his heavy directorial chores to stage, choreograph and direct Garland's celebrated 1951 Palace Theater variety show in New York City.
He also directed several TV shows, including two Lucille Ball specials.
Walters died at age 70 after a two-year battle with lung cancer at his Malibu home on Aug. 13, 1982.