Arthur MurrayArthur Murray
- March 3
), a famous dance
instructor and businessman
, was born in New York, New York
as Moses Teichman
. In 1912
at the age of 17, he began teaching dance at night, while working as a draftsman
by day. He studied under Irene and Vernon Castle, and went to work for them. He soon began teaching ballroom dancing
to the residents of Boston, Massachusetts
at the Devereaux Mansion. He soon went to Asheville, North Carolina
. At the outbreak of World War I
he changed his name to make it sound less "German
". In 1919
he began studying business administration
at Georgia Tech
, and taught ballroom dancing in Atlanta at the Georgia Terrace Hotel. In 1920
, Murray organized the first "radio dance", a band on the Georgia Tech campus was broadcast to dancers at Atlanta, Georgia
's Capital City Club.
His first business was selling dance lessons by mail, using a kinetoscope. Though the idea was successful, he had problems with the business, which failed. His second business was drawing and selling "footprints", (an unusual use of drafting skills) which prospective dancers could place on the floor and follow to learn how to dance. This mail-order business remained successful. His third business, launched in 1925, involved selling branded dance lessons through franchising. He trained dance instructors for the Statler Hotel chain, who then went to various hotels and gave lessons, Murray kept some of the profits from each franchise. This business was expanded more widely in 1938, when an Arthur Murray dance studio franchise was opened in Minneapolis, Minnesota, others followed. At one time, there were over 3560 dance studios bearing his name as of 1964, but by 2003 there were only about 180 studios. Arthur Murray Dance Studios claims to be the second oldest franchised company (A&W Restaurants began in 1919).
Murray went on television with a dance program, hosted by his wife Kathryn Murray, running from 1950 - 1960, first on CBS, then ABC, and then back to CBS. The Murrays retired in 1964.
Pupils of Murray include: Eleanor Roosevelt, the Duke of Windsor, John D. Rockefeller Jr, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, Barbara Hutton, Elizabeth Arden and Jack Dempsey.
The Murrays had twin daughters.