The Sensational “Belita”

There have been many skating stars throughout the decades, but no one has had the talent and as diverse a life as Belita. She was a professional dancer, actress, swimmer and champion ice skater where she skated for Britain in the 1936 Olympics.

She was born Gladys Lyne Jepson-Turner on October 25, 1923 in Nether Wallop, Hampshire, England. She was given the name “Belita” after a railroad stop that her great grandfather had built in Argentina.

Her professional skating career took her on tour with Ice Capades (1940), Rhapsody on Ice, London productions at Empress Hall; “Babes in the Woods,” “London Melody,” “Jack and the Beanstalk” and “White Horse Inn On Ice,” then her own show, “Champagne on Ice.”Belita6

She then parlayed her talents into an acting career in the movies. She starred in several highly profitable productions made by Monogram Studios. Her appearances included Silver Skates (1943), Lady, Let’s Dance (1944) and Suspense (1946). Suspense, with its novel mixture of ice skating and film noir, proved enormously popular at the box office and more than repaid the studio’s investment. She also appeared with Clark Gable in Never Let Me Go (1953) and played opposite Charles Laughton in The Cherry Orchard. She would often both dance and skate in her movies. She once said, “When I skate I want to dance, and when I dance I want to skate.”

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