HOLLYWOOD HILLS — Award winning director, producer and choreographer Tony Charmoli died on August 7 at his home in Hollywood Hills at the age of 99.
Charmoli was born June 11, 1922 in Mount Iron, Minnesota to Italian immigrant parents, as the last child with eight older siblings. He involved himself in putting together shows in early youth. After he turned sixteen, he traveled alone to intern as a dancer for a summer at an all-male ensemble at Jacob’s Pillow in Massachusetts. He met Wilford Saunders the following Valentine’s Day and they became lifetime partners. Charmoli attended College of Saint Thomas working towards an English major but stepped in as Operations Officer for 43rd Fighter Squadron Air Force during World War II. Will served as a secretary to General Eisenhower in Europe.
The pair traveled to New York to pursue working at Broadway and Tony spent majority of the time organizing various dance programs. Developing his skill as a choreographer, he began to work for the new TV show, Stop The Music that led him to working at Your Hit Parade where he received his first Emmy Award. He won two other Emmy Awards including the 1974 Best Direction for Mitzi Gaynor’s Tribute to an American Housewife and for Best Direction for Shirley MacLaine’s Gypsy In My Soul in 1976. Will was Tony’s manager for many years after until he passed away.
Charmoli worked with Danny Kaye, Shirley MacLaine, Gwen Verdon, Debbie Reynolds, Julie Anders, Betty White, and many more emerging stars at the time. He also directed Star Search and worked with Justin Timberlake, Leanne Rhymes and Beyoncé. In addition, he directed the Miss Universe Pageant for many years.
Tony is survived by his longtime assistant Robert Jowers, his niece Dorothy and her husband Nick, their children Greg and Lisa, and more extended family.