Percy "Mike" Madill

Percy H "Mike" Madill, Jr. 88, moved-on September 13th, 2013. He was preceded in death by his twin sister, Gertrude "Miss Rita" Sims, on November 12th, 2012. The twins were born to Gertrude and Percy H. Madill, Sr.March 29th, 1925. Well known on west coast radio as "Rita & Rusty. The "Sunshine Twins", tap-danced and sang from the age of four years.

Mike hit the vaudeville circuit, traveling the US and Canada as "The Benham Brothers".

Joining the Marines at seventeen by forging his parent's signature, Mike was in five campaigns during World War II with the 6th Marine Infantry, 2nd Division; Tarawa, Saipan, Okinawa, Tinian and the occupation of Japan.

Mike was on the Lucky Strike Hit Parade on NBC. He directed the Patti Page television special and was a permanent member of the Bob Hope personal appearance tour and TV show.

As"Johnson & Madill"Mike headlined Radio City Music Hall, and the Palace Theatre, the Copacabana, the Moulin Rouge, and Savoy. Mike joined George Jessel's "Showtime" toured Monte Carlo, Nice, Madrid, Brussels, India, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Beirut, Barcelona, Port Said and Auckland, New Zealand.

Mike directed a "Salute to Cole Porter" starring Yvonne De Carlo. He toured with Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis Jr., Carmen Miranda and the love of his life, the great Lena Horne. Mike founded the Studio Playhouse, Sacromento and choreographed "Seventeen", "West Side Story" (starring a young Morgan Freeman, actor extraordinaire), "Frankie and Johnnie", "Music Man" and "Pal Joey".

Mike designed, built, and implemented the Speech-Drama-Dance department at CSU, Chico and brought Harold Lang, (originally of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and the star of Broadway's 1952 "Pal Joey") to teach ballet. Together they directed and produced "Take Five" starring Irene Mannin. Mike was a tremendous success in "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty". He was awarded Most Valuable Teacher CA in 1971 a Community Service award, from Chico.

Some of Mike's students included: Eddie Fisher, Broadway's "Hair"; James Beaumont, Ballet West &"A Chorus Line" (second Broadway cast); Tommy Aguilar, "A Chorus Line" (original London cast and national US touring company).

In 1976, he accepted a position at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, where he taught dance until 1995. He went on to continue his education and became an Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor III. He worked for the Fairbanks Correctional Facility, Cook Inlet Pre-Trial and the City of Ketchikan. After retiring he went back to work a few weeks later as a prep for Doyon. He then took a job with Princess Tours (now HAP Alaska) on the Alaska Railroad. His final career in life was as a greeter at the midtown Wal-Mart in Anchorage. Mike Madill was not someone who could accept the traditional idea of "retirement."

Mike's wishes were that there would NOT be a traditional funeral. He was adamant, though, that we get together for what he called an Irish Wake. "Clang the Bell at the Raven!" he said; "Spread my ashes at Beluga Point! I want to come back as Esther Williams because I liked her breast stroke!!!" Mike was a unique individual who believed: "you are only as good as what you will do tomorrow." Besides believing in diversity and equality, he deeply felt that everyone was important, no matter who you were. In addition, he celebrated everyone's individuality and truly believed that all are created equal.

Mike Madill was indeed a very unique and special person; one like none of those who knew him will ever meet again. The celebration of his exceptional life will take place on November 9th, 2013 from 4 to 6pm at the Fairview Recreational Center. At 7pm we will have a potlatch and "Irish Wake" at the Raven Bar, 708 E 4th Avenue. Mike loved his flowers. However, if you would rather make a donation in his name, we suggest the Anchorage Ballet or the ICOAA Scholarship Fund.

Published in Alaska Dispatch News from Nov. 7 to Nov. 8, 2013