His Last Peformance Was 3 Years Ago At Age 95

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The arts world this weekend was mourning Frederic Franklin, a British-born dancer who helped popularize the modern ballet in the United States and performed until he was 95.

Mr. Franklin – known as “Freddie” in the world of dance – was 98 when he died at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center Saturday of complications from pneumonia, according to his lifelong partner, William Ausman.

READ MORE: Funeral Held For NYPD Det. Jason Rivera, 22-Year-Old Killed In Line Of Duty In Harlem

Mr. Franklin last appeared with the American Ballet Theatre at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts three years ago.

The company’s artistic director, Kevin McKenzie, says the amazingly energetic Franklin gave McKenzie his first job as a dancer. And McKenzie gave Mr. Franklin his last job — as a Friar Laurence in “Romeo and Juliet” at Lincoln Center.

McKenzie said the Liverpool, England native retained an amazing memory of the greatest 20th century dance moves, and choreographers including George Balanchine relied on him to keep the tradition alive.

READ MORE: Photos: Honoring NYPD Det. Jason Rivera

Mr. Franklin said his interest in the theatre dated back to a production of “Peter Pan” he saw at the age of 4, following which he decided to stand on his bed and try to fly, according to a New York Times obituary.

He moved to London at 17, and joined the Markova-Dolin Ballet in England in 1935, the newspaper reported. He went on to found the National Ballet of Washington in 1969 and direct it for all its five years of existence, and served as an adviser to the Dance Theater of Harlem, the Oakland Ballet, and other companies, the newspaper reported.

You May Also Be Interested In These Stories

[display-posts category=”news” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”4″]

MORE NEWS: New Yorkers Bracing For Nor'easter That Could Bring Significant Snow Totals

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)