The beloved holiday classic “White Christmas” has memorable characters and iconic performances.
From Bing Crosby’s crooning to Danny Kaye’s comedic chops, the 1954 film has become a staple of the holiday season.
But who are the actors behind these legendary roles?
Let’s take a look at the cast of “White Christmas.”
Bing Crosby: Bing Crosby plays Bob Wallace, one of the two former army buddies and song-and-dance men. Crosby was a legendary singer and actor who had already achieved major success with his hit songs “White Christmas” and “Swinging on a Star.” He went on to win an Academy Award for his role in Going My Way in 1944.
Background on “White Christmas” movie
White Christmas is a classic holiday movie released in 1954 starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney. The music-filled film tells the story of two former army buddies and song-and-dance men (Crosby and Kaye) who team up to help save a failing Vermont inn during the holiday season.
Along the way, they are joined by a couple of singing sisters who help them in their mission. The movie is filled with iconic performances, memorable characters, and beloved songs, making it a staple of the holiday season.
Today, let’s look at the talented cast of White Christmas and learn more about each actor who brought these characters to life.
Main Cast Members
Bing Crosby as Bob Wallace
Bing Crosby as Bob Wallace: Bing Crosby plays Bob Wallace, one of the two former army buddies and song-and-dance men. Crosby was a legendary singer and actor who had already achieved major success with his hit songs “White Christmas” and “Swinging on a Star.” He went on to win an Academy Award for his role in Going My Way in 1944.
Danny Kaye as Phil Davis
Danny Kaye as Phil Davis: Danny Kaye plays Phil Davis, the other former army buddy and song-and-dance man. Kaye was an accomplished actor, singer, and comedian who had already succeeded on Broadway and the radio before taking on this role.
He earned an Academy Award nomination for his performance in White Christmas, which showcased his comedic chops and singing ability. In addition to acting, Kaye was also a humanitarian, earning him the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1982.
Rosemary Clooney as Betty Haynes
Rosemary Clooney as Betty Haynes: Rosemary Clooney plays Betty Haynes, one of the singing sisters who helps Bob and Phil save the inn.
Clooney was a renowned singer who had already achieved success with her hit song “Come On-a My House” before White Christmas. She delivered a powerful performance in the film and earned an Academy Award nomination for her work.
Vera-Ellen as Judy Haynes
Vera-Ellen as Judy Haynes: Vera-Ellen plays Judy Haynes, the other singing sister who helps Bob and Phil save the inn. Ellen was an accomplished dancer and actress who had already succeeded with her roles in films such as On Moonlight Bay and Three Little Words. She garnered praise for her performance in White Christmas, showcasing her beautiful dancing and singing talent.
Supporting Cast Members
Dean Jagger as General Waverly
Dean Jagger as General Waverly: Dean Jagger plays General Waverly, the former commander of Bob and Phil’s army unit. Jagger was an accomplished actor who had already succeeded with his roles in films such as Twelve O’Clock High and The Naked Spur.
He earned an Academy Award for his performance in White Christmas, delivering a powerful, heartfelt performance showcasing his veteran acting skills.
Mary Wickes as Emma Allen
Mary Wickes as Emma Allen: Mary Wickes plays Emma Allen, the inn manager who helps Bob and Phil save it.
Wickes was an accomplished actress and comedian who had already succeeded with her roles in films such as The Man Who Came to Dinner and Now, Voyager. Her hilarious performance in White Christmas showcased her comedic ability and sharp wit. Her performance earned her an Academy Award nomination.
John Brascia as John
John Brascia as John: John Brascia plays John, the dance partner of Judy Haynes. Brascia was a renowned dancer and actor who had already succeeded with his roles in films such as Easter Parade and Summer Stock. He earned praise for his performance in White Christmas, showcasing his dancing talent alongside Vera-Ellen’s. He also had a memorable duet with Rosemary Clooney in the film.
Anne Whitfield as Susan Waverly
Anne Whitfield as Susan Waverly: Anne Whitfield plays Susan Waverly, General Waverly’s granddaughter. Whitfield was an accomplished actress who had already succeeded with her roles in films such as The Girl Rush and Goodbye, My Fancy.
She delivers a charming performance in White Christmas, showcasing her acting talent and conveying the sweet relationship between General Waverly and his granddaughter.
Historical Significance of the Cast
Bing Crosby’s Contribution to the Film Industry
Bing Crosby was one of the most influential figures in the film industry, and this is well-illustrated by his role in White Christmas. First, Crosby’s performance as Bob Wallace showcased his legendary singing ability, earning him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Additionally, he also served as a producer on the film. He contributed several songs to its soundtrack, including the title song, a massive hit and timeless holiday classic. Thus, Crosby’s involvement in White Christmas cemented his status as one of the most influential figures in the film industry.
Danny Kaye’s Versatile Talents
Danny Kaye is renowned for his versatile talents, which were on full display in White Christmas. In the film, Kaye plays Phil Davis, the other half of the singing duo, alongside Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby).
He showcased his comedic acting talent as he carried out his comic antics throughout the film. He also demonstrated his impressive singing and dancing ability, earning him a Best Actor nomination at the Academy Awards.
Rosemary Clooney’s Legacy in Hollywood
Rosemary Clooney was an iconic singer and actress whose legacy in Hollywood is still remembered today. She portrayed Betty Haynes, one of the singing sisters alongside Judy Haynes (Vera-Ellen), in White Christmas.
Clooney’s performance showcased her powerful vocals, singing memorable songs such as “Sisters” and “Count Your Blessings”.” Clooney also had a memorable duet with John Brascia in the film, further demonstrating her singing ability.
Vera-Ellen’s Elusive Persona
Vera-Ellen’s Elusive Persona: Vera-Ellen was an actress and dancer whose legacy in Hollywood is often overshadowed by her more famous co-stars. In White Christmas, she plays Judy Haynes, one of the singing sisters alongside Betty Haynes (Rosemary Clooney).
She demonstrated her impressive dancing ability throughout the film and her memorable singing performance in songs such as “Sisters” and “Love, You Didn’t Do Right By Me”. Despite her impressive performance, her stardom faded away after the film’s release, and she remains an elusive figure in Hollywood.
The cast of White Christmas plays a key role in the film’s success. Bing Crosby showcases his legendary singing ability and serves as a producer, while Danny Kaye demonstrates his versatile talents. Rosemary Clooney contributes her powerful vocals, and Vera-Ellen displays impressive dancing skills.
Together, they bring the story to life and create an entertaining and memorable experience for viewers. Furthermore, their performance also contributed to the film’s monumental success and established it as a timeless classic.