Community Spirit--Emma Luchun - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/14/06

Community Spirit--Emma Luchun

Emma Luchun Emma Luchun

When Emma Luchun turned 18, she left her native Hungary and joined her mother in America. The moment she reached New York City, she danced her way into the hearts of everyone she met.

Luchun has been singing, playing the piano and dancing all of her life. Her first day in America, she started a very successful performing career.

"I said, 'Take me to the back stage of Paramount Theater,'" she  recalled. "When I started, 'He said what are you?' I said, 'I am a dancer.' He said, 'What can you do?' So I made a high kick and down in a split. 'Wow,' he said, 'you are hired.'"

From that point on she was dancing in shows that would have been considered on Broadway today. She danced her way into musicals and movies as a member of Dollies Follies.

Luchun appeared in shows with the greats from the '30s and '40s. Jackie Coogan, the Ted Mack Amateur Hour and Ginger Rogers.

 "She was the star. I was just the dancing girl," said Luchun.

She had a wonderful career in New York until 1932 when she got married. Her husband forced her to quit. "I was really mad because I loved show business," said Luchun.

Now at the age of 96, Luchun is still entertaining.

"We're just so proud of her," said Ginny Haberlin, he daughter. "I am sorry that I get so emotional, but she was given six months to live a couple of years ago and look at her, she's thriving here."

She lives at the Tara Nursing Center and she plays the piano for her neighbors.

"That's the secret of performing," Luchun said. "Instead of just playing music, but to give it to you so that you understand so you feel what I feel, that's why I like it."

"She is just an incredible human being," said the nursing center's Gail Smith. "Just to hear her play the music and the smile on everyone's face, it's really a blessing for me."

That's how Emma Luchun captures the WTOC Community Spirit.

Luchun celebrated her birthday last Saturday. She still plays piano for special programs whenever she's asked. She says she's had a wonderful life thanks to show business and advises any young person who is interested to give it a try.

Questions or comments concerning WTOC Community Spirit should be directed to Dawn Baker, dbaker@wtoc.com.

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