Moira Shearer Cause of Death: The Tragic End of a Talented Ballet Dancer and Actress

Moira Shearer was a Scottish ballet dancer and actress who became famous for her role in the 1948 film The Red Shoes, which inspired generations of young dancers. She was also a star of the Sadler’s Wells and the Royal Opera House in London, where she performed in many classical and modern ballets. She died on January 31, 2006, at the age of 80, after a long illness.

Early Life and Career

Moira Shearer was born on January 17, 1926, in Dunfermline, Scotland. She started dancing at the age of five and received her professional training with the Russian ballet master Nicholas Legat. She joined the Sadler’s Wells Ballet School at the age of 14 and became a principal dancer of the company at the age of 16. She danced the lead roles in Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Coppelia, and Cinderella, among others. She also created one of the leads in Symphonic Variations, a masterpiece by the choreographer Frederick Ashton.

Film Fame and Controversy

Moira Shearer’s film career began when she was chosen by the directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger for the role of Victoria Page, a young and beautiful ballet dancer torn between love and her career, in The Red Shoes. The film was a huge success and made her an international star. She also appeared in other films by Powell and Pressburger, such as The Tales of Hoffman and Peeping Tom, as well as in other movies, such as The Story of Three Loves, The Man Who Loved Redheads, and Black Tights.

However, Shearer’s film career was not without controversy. She often clashed with Powell and Pressburger over artistic and contractual issues. She also faced criticism from some ballet critics and fans, who accused her of neglecting her dance career for the sake of fame and money. Shearer herself was ambivalent about her film fame and preferred to focus on her ballet career. She retired from films in 1960 and from ballet in 1966.

Later Life and Death

After retiring from ballet, Shearer devoted herself to her family and other interests. She married the writer and broadcaster Ludovic Kennedy in 1950 and had four children and seven grandchildren. She also wrote two books, Balletmaster: A Dancer’s View of George Balanchine and Step by Step: Ballet Class. She was diagnosed with viral encephalitis in 2000, which caused her memory to deteriorate. She died on January 31, 2006, not long after turning 80.