TCM viewers have seen him in the classic 1961 version of WEST SIDE STORY and in the 1962 thriller, EXPERIMENT IN TERROR, as the San Francisco boyfriend to the Stefanie Powers character. Veteran Broadway and film dancer/actor Harvey Evans, one of the sweetest gentlemen I ever had the good fortune to meet, died on Christmas Eve at age 80. Harvey was in the original Broadway cast and in the 1961 film adaptation of WEST SIDE STORY. He was one of the Jets. In the closing credits of the movie, he's listed as "Harvey Hohnecker" as "Mouthpiece." Harvey later changed the last name as he progressed to other stage and film assignments. His WEST SIDE STORY involvement came full circle. I have not seen the new Steve Spielberg version of WEST SIDE STORY, but I read that Harvey Evans is in it. He plays a security guard at Gimbels department store. Here's a photo of Harvey in 1961's WEST SIDE STORY. He's in the lower right corner wearing an olive green sweatshirt. It's a photo from the movie's opening number.
In the "Jet Song" number, we see Harvey stand to the immediate left of Russ Tamblyn as "Riff." Riff puts his his hand on Mouthpiece's shoulder.
It took Harvey about 45 years to get from the Lincoln Center location of WEST SIDE STORY scenes to Central Park. No, the Manhattan traffic is not that bad. I'm teasing you. Harvey danced in the 2007 musical fantasy, ENCHANTED, starring Amy Adams. Here's Harvey wearing a hat and holding a newspaper while sitting next to Amy Adams before he starts dancing in the "That's How You Know" number in Central Park.
Here's the number.
I wish I'd been an entertainment reporter on live TV covering the Oscars in 2008. 1961's WEST SIDE STORY was a big Osccar winner. It won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Rita Moreno) and Best Supporting Actor (George Chakiris). When "That's How You Know" was performed onstage at the 2008 Oscars as a nominee in the Best Song category, Harvey Evans was in the number. I definitely would have reported that one of the Jets from WEST SIDE STORY, Oscar winner for Best Picture of 1961, was still dancing and entertained the 2008 Oscars audience.
A dear friend of mine, Broadway pianist and music conductor Mark Hummel, made it possible for me to have a great night in December 2005. Mark gave me a ticket to join some of his friends for the Broadway opening night of CHITA RIVERA; THE DANCER'S LIFE. One of the friends was Harvey Evans, a warm and engaging man who surely existed in the category of "lovable." Harvey was in the original Broadway cast of WEST SIDE STORY with Chita. He and I had a wonderful conversation at the party after the show. When I commented on Chita Rivera's fascinating descriptions of the styles of choreographers with whom she'd worked, I mentioned choreographer/dancer Jack Cole.
With that, Harvey said "There's someone you should meet." He introduced me to another WEST SIDE STORY stage graduate, dancer and director Alan Johnson. He said to the equally charming Mr. Johnson as he introduced me, "He knows about Jack Cole." Johnson looked at me with a slight smile and tested, "Name a movie Cole danced in."
I replied, "He's Rita Hayworth's dance partner in the first number of TONIGHT AND EVERY NIGHT. He's the dancing sailor. And he choreographed her "Put the Blame on Mame" number in GILDA." Johnson smiled broadly and then we had a fabulous chat. Alan Johnson choregraphed the famous "Springtime for Hitler" number in Mel Brooks' THE PRODUCERS. He also directed the musical numbers in BLAZING SADDLES and YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. He directed Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft in the 1983 remake of TO BE OR NOT TO BE.
What a marvelous night of theatre that was. And meeting Harvey Evans made it even more marvelous.