Leo Coleman

Leo Coleman OK, first things first… Leo Coleman is NOT the director Leopoldo Savona. As far as I can work out, Savona used the psuedonym Leo Colman on one film, and the two have been inextricably mixed up since that.

Leo Coleman, on the other hand, was a black dancer who was involved with the Katherine Dunham troupe (see also Van Aikens and Wilbert Bradley) and ended up in Rome in the late 1940s, plying his trade on stage (as in his earliest film role, the opera The Medium). He drifted into the film industry, working both as an actor – of in parts that called for some kind of dancing – as in La dolce vita. He also acted as a choreographer, arranging dance sequences and also providing tuition to the stars of the time (he taught the Mambo to Sophia Loren).

Beyond that, information is sketchy. I think he is still alive and lives in Rome, but can’t confirm this.

On TV

  • “Studio One” …. Toby (1 episode, ‘The Medium’)

Film

  • Fanciulle di lusso (1953) aka Finishing School …. Boyfriend of Val
  • Saranno uomini (1957)
  • Dolce vita, La (1960) …. Negro Dancer
  • Gigante di Metropolis, Il aka The Giant of Metropolis (1961) …. Danzatore
  • FBI chiama Istanbul aka None But the Lonely Spy (1964)

As choreographer

  • Donna del fiume, La (1955) aka Woman of the River
  • It Started in Naples (1960)
  • Gigante di Metropolis, Il (1961) aka The Giant of Metropolis
  • Invasori, Gli (1961) aka Erik the Conqueror
About Matt Blake 861 Articles
The WildEye is a blog dedicated to the wild world of Italian cinema (and, ok, sometimes I digress into discussing films from other countries as well). Peplums, comedies, dramas, spaghetti westerns... they're all covered here.

6 Comments

  1. I have been a very close friend of Leo, and will be pleased to know you, also in order to give a lot of information about him. Keep me posted, if you are interested in that matter.
    Alessandro

    • Hello, I am researching the life of Leo Coleman with the permission of his family in Detroit. I realize Leo is gone now, any information you can give me would be appreciated as you said you knew him very well. I am particularly interested in why he settled in Italy and what he did with his life after dance. His great niece told me he was involved with a monastery and left his belongings to them.
      Thank you in advance,
      Maureen Thalmann

      • Hi Maureen. I am a niece of Leo Coleman. I did some research on my uncle several years ago. Did you gather anymore info on my uncle? Thank you very much.
        Marci Turner

    • Hello Alissandro. I am a niece of Leo Coleman. I am also doing research on his life in Italy. Would you be able to provide me with more information about his life after he moved to Italy? Thank you.
      Marci

  2. Leo Coleman was born March 9, 1919 in Antioch, LA., and educated in Detroit, Michigan. He made his Broadway bow during the 1946-47 season as the mute in “The Medium.”

    Information obtained from the book “Theatre World 1946-1947 Season.

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