b. 23 January 1930, Inwood, Iowa, USA, d. 23 June 1993, Los Angeles, California, USA. Trained at the School of American Ballet, Swenson became a dancer and later a choreographer. He appeared in various musical shows in New York, and among his Broadway appearances were Great To Be Alive! and Bless You All (both 1950), Destry Rides Again (1959) and Wildcat (1960). The latter starred Lucille Ball and Cyd Charisse, and Swenson can be heard on the original cast recording. Next for the dancer came Cy Coleman’s Little Me (1962), a starring vehicle for Sid Caesar, who played seven roles. Even so, it was Swenson, in the role of George Musgrove, who gained most plaudits. In a feature with Virginia Martin, as Belle Schlumpfort, he sang ‘I’ve Got Your Number’ in the first act. During this number, he also performed an erotic solo dance that regularly brought the house down and resulted in rave reviews. The show ran at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre for 257 performances and brought Swenson a Tony Award nomination as Best Featured Actor and he won a Theatre World Award. Swenson then reprised his role in a very successful London production at the Cambridge Theatre, which starred Bruce Forsyth.
Later in the decade Swenson was in A Joyful Noise (1966), then in the 70s was in Molly (1973) and Ulysses In Nighttown (1974), and he was responsible for the chorography of The American Dance Machine (1978). He also appeared in revivals, including versions of Guys And Dolls, Can-Can and No, No, Nanette. Swenson made a few appearances in films, including the 1971 feature What’s The Matter With Helen?, which starred Debbie Reynolds and Shelley Winters. On television he took the role of the Gryphon in a 1983 production of Alice In Wonderland, and he made guest appearances on Caesar’s Your Show Of Shows and The Ed Sullivan Show.