July 2, 1987 was a drizzly and foggy Thursday in New York, the day before the 4th of July weekend began. The day was made even gloomier by the news that afternoon that famed choreographer and director Michael Bennett had died of AIDS-related cancer. (Six years earlier a damper was put on that summer's July 4 holiday by an article in the New York Times with the somber headline "Rare Cancer Seen in Homosexuals".)
Bennett was only 44, which, tragically, was the typical age of those who succumbed to AIDS in the early years of the scourge. His stellar resume included cherished Broadway shows such as A Chorus Line; Dreamgirls; Promises, Promises; Company; and Follies. (A Chorus Line ran for nearly 15 years and closed three years after Bennett's death.) In a 10-year span Bennett won seven Tony Awards.
Bennett trained as a dancer and at the age of 22 became one of the troupe of dancers on NBC's musical variety series Hullabaloo, which aired in the mid 60's. He has a spotlight dance midway through the video clip below.