Published: January 29, 2012
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Meet American SBF Member, Loren Ruhl, a multi-talented, all-round entertainer. Not only an Ice Skater, Acrobat, Aerialist, Dancer, Singer, Pianist and Organist, but also a Producer, Technical Director, Costume Designer and now a Mentor!
As an airborne acrobat, Larry (as he's also known) defied gravity, swinging and spinning high above the ice, soaring gracefully through space and taking unbelievable risks in the air. His spine-chilling feats of aerial artistry were the combination of courage, nerves of steel and flawless timing. His numbers were incredibly unique for the high danger he and his partners had to face, especially considering that he started performing in the 'silent-movie' era...
Loren's never-ending career gave him the chance to work in 39 different countries and with world renowned names in showbiz, such as Tyrone Power, Gloria Swanson, Elizabeth Taylor, Doris Day, Jimmy Durante, Ed Sullivan and Jerry Louis, to name but a few and even remain friends with many of them.
We asked Loren to tell us about his amazing showbiz life...

Loren Ruhl

  • Ice Vogues of 1963
Loren in the 'Rhapsody in Blue' solo When did you first become interested in music and how did that interest come about?
    Loren Ruhl: I became interested in music and playing the piano at 4 years old. My first teacher was my mother. Everything that I was ever to do was based on my love of music... especially of Broadway shows.

  • Quote ...I couldn't live or breathe without this wonderful thing that we lovingly call 'Showbiz'...
    How old were you when you started skating and what inspired you to take it up?

    LR: I started figure skating at 10 years old...and was fascinated by seeing the motion pictures of Sonja Henie & my idol... Belita!

  • How did co-producing the ice spectacular, Carnival on Ice come about? Can you tell us about the show?
    LR: Carnival On Ice came about when my agent, Jim Hetzer and I decided to produce our own ice revue. I did all the signing of the artists (my skating buddies) and also designed all the costumes for the show. It starred Jean Sakovich, Janet Champion, Bobby Blake, Arthur Newman, Jack Rose and a chorus line of boys and girls.

  • You designed costumes for two major productions - Russell Markert's International Spectacular & James Hetzer's Carnival on Ice. How did you get into that field?
    James Hetzer's Carnival On Ice
The Blue Waltz
Costumes designed by Loren
1962-1963 LR: I designed costumes for two huge stage spectaculars because I loved doing this... and it also saved money in production costs. I was fortunate as my costume got excellent reviews. When I designed for Carnival on Ice I had already designed all the costumes for the huge International Spectacular, produced by Russell Markert of Radio City Music Hall fame... with an all new line of Rockettes and great acts. The show culminated with my own appearance underneath the buffeting blades of a helicopter at 500 feet.

  • Can you please tell us more about your aerial act and the incredible helicopter number?
    LR: My helicopter aerial act was the first of its kind to ever use a man and a woman. We were fortunate as we got world-wide recognition and played every major date in the USA, Canada, Mexico… and all of Europe, South America and the Far East. It even reached behind the Iron Curtain! We used the name Larry Ruhl & Sandy Winters the first year... and then Michele & Michael for the many others... because I featured different partners... as they were all beautiful... sooner or later, they got married!

  • New York, Roosevelt Raceway
Star Nite
Loren & Sandy Winters
1957 Can you please tell us about your job on the movie Jumbo with Doris Day?
    LR: I was Assistant Technical Director for the MGM motion picture Jumbo starring Doris Day, Stephen Boyd, Martha Raye and Jimmy Durante and backed by many circus stars. Mr. Dobritch was the technical advisor, but was never on the lot... so the job fell to me. Richard Chamberlain sat next to me several days with whatever time he could steal away from the television set he was working on. Stephen was a close friend and we often ate in the commissary together. Martha & Jimmy were also old friends, so I loved this job!
    Quote ...Do study every act that you admire... don't blatantly copy it... be original...
  • What was your most challenging show? LR: My most challenging show was at a State Fair where my partner and I almost met death because of equipment failure.

  • What's your funniest moment on stage?
    LR: My funniest moment on stage was with Holiday on Ice Europe... in Berne, Switzerland. I had just received a new costume from my designer in Miami Beach... and during the opening show the entire back seam of my costume ripped out... To say the least I was very embarrassed!

  • What's your most memorable show and the highest moment of your life as a performer?
    LR: Toronto
Canadian National Exhibition
Loren, Sandy Winters & The Three Stoogies
1962 That is a very hard question to answer. I would have to say... Star Nite, for my manager, Mike Todd, for the hundred stars, Paul Whiteman and his Symphony Orchestra, Elizabeth Taylor, June Havoc, Gloria Swanson, Eddie Fisher, Ferde Grofe, Melvin Douglas, Ethel Waters and so many more. We closed the show working underneath the helicopter... bathed in many pale blue spotlights with Paul Whiteman and his orchestra playing the immortal Rhapsody In Blue.

  • Do you have any special memories of your time working in Las Vegas at the Stardust, Flamingo and Desert Inn hotels?
    LR: I have too many memories to tell of my years in Las Vegas... I especially recall fond memories of Ed Sullivan, Jerry Louis, Billy Eckstine and so many other stars. I once did a month gig at the old Desert Inn, a hang out for the Rat Pack. I played piano in my open times and once Frank Sinatra came up to the piano, gave me a tip and said: "You kicked the hell out of The Lady is a Tramp!"

  • The Magical Dinner Theatre
Organ and Piano of Loren Ruhl When you semi-retired you bought a nightclub and played piano & did the vocals in your own orchestra, can you please tell us about it?
    LR: I played piano and sang with a band for a couple of years & after retiring I bought my own show night club and held it for 23 years!

  • Have you ever released any CDs of your music?
    LR: No, I have never released any of my CD's for publication. This was done out of sheer love and I have recorded many of them with my piano and electronic theatre organ... as I am able to play in all instruments... including drum and rhythm section.

  • Your career has virtually covered every aspect of showbiz, in front and behind the scenes, how did you make the transition from one to the other?
    Holiday on Ice Europe
Fairy Tale
Loren & Brenda Jones
1970 LR: I loved the theatre and show business in all forms... even the legitimate stage. I used to take a good look in the mirror and say: "I can do anything!"... at least I thought that I could!

  • If you could do it all over again, would you?
    LR: I couldn't live or breathe without this wonderful thing that we lovingly call 'Showbiz'!

  • How have your Showbiz years helped you in your life after the stage?
    LR: My showbiz years have helped me greatly as people seem to be drawn to me... and I love them for it. My latest friend is a young actor named Nicholas Kanow, who has done off Broadway shows and motion picture work. My dearest friend is Tyrone Power Jr and his lovely wife Carla Collins, a brilliant comedienne. His father the late great Tyrone Power was my closest friend and life has not been the same since his untimely death!

  • What are you doing now?
    LR: I am just sitting back enjoying life and trying to complete the book that I started many years before... and abandoned. Balance will follow!!! Plus I am aiding some actor friends on their stage work... Really just taking in the 39 countries that I was privileged to work in. My love will always be in the theatre and wish that I had done more of it.

  • What advise would you give to up and coming performers? Holiday on Ice Europe
Asterix / Bolero
Loren & Hideko Miurasan
    LR: Work at your craft...whatever it is...and try to get videos of your act, as it will show you the flaws. An act is not merely tricks, it is transitions from one and another and must be studied & smooth.
    Quote ...I used to take a good look in the mirror and say: "I can do anything!"... at least I thought that I could...
    If possible, do as much as you can in front of a mirror. This really brings back memories of my days studying ballet. I suggest this for both men and women. Believe me, it isn't sissified... many a football player would not be able to do it!

  • From your experience, what are the "DOs & DON'Ts" of this business?
    LR: Do study every act that you admire... don't blatantly copy it... be original!

  • What do you think of ShowBiz Friends?
    LR: Showbiz Friends... I love it... it is the one thing on the Internet that is truly ours and I love all of my friends that I see on it, and am sad for not seeing the others. God bless Lindsey & Sergio... they are doing such a great job!!! Love to all of my friends out there... in all the different fields... I truly love all of you ! Love Larry to some of my friends and Loren to the others!

    Thank you Loren for this great interview!