Sonja Henie

Active - 1936 - 1971  |   Born - Apr 8, 1912   |   Died - Oct 12, 1969   |   Genres - Musical, Romance, Comedy

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Upon receiving a pair of skates for her sixth birthday, Norwegian entertainer Sonja Henie decided to forego a dancing career for a life on the ice. To refine her technique, Henie continued taking ballet lessons, at one point studying with a former teacher of Anna Pavlova. She won the first of her ten World Skating titles in Oslo at age 14; she went on to win honors at the 1928, 1932 and 1936 Olympics. In 1936 she turned professional, touring the world in her own ice show. Thus, Henie was already a very wealthy woman when she was signed to a Hollywood contract at 20th Century-Fox. From her American film debut in One in a Million (1936) onward, Henie was one of Fox's biggest box-office attractions. Her film career waned in the late 1940s, but Henie retained her popularity through her sellout appearances with the Hollywood Ice Capades and via sporadic television appearances. In 1960, Sonja Henie retired, a millionaire many times over; nine years later, she died of leukemia while flying on an ambulance plane from Paris to Oslo.

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