Cathy Rigby : biography
Cathleen Roxanne Rigby (born December 12, 1952), best known as Cathy Rigby, is a speaker, actress and former gymnast.
Awards and honors
- A multiple-exposure image of Rigby on the balance beam was included on the Voyager Golden Record as an example of the range of human motion.
- The greatest theatrical acclaim was given to Rigby when she was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, for her 1990-91 performance as Peter Pan.
- In 1997, Rigby was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.
- In 1999, the production of Peter Pan, of which Rigby was a member, was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.
- In 2004, Rigby received a Distinguished Lifetime Service Award from The League of American Theatres and Producers.
Rigby was born in Los Alamitos, California in 1952. She has an older brother, Steve Rigby; older sister, Michelle; younger brother, Jeff; and a younger sister, Jill. She is the daughter of Anita and Paul Rigby.
Rigby's participation in the 1968 Summer Olympics as the highest-scoring American gymnast made her a favorite with American television audiences and helped to popularize gymnastics in America. She was U.S. National Gymnastic Champion in 1970 and 1972. Her greatest accomplishment was to become the first American woman to win a medal at a World Gymnastics Championships, the silver medal on the balance beam at the 1970 Championships.
She also competed in the 1972 U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team, but was hampered by injury. Prior to the games, she had been working on a move for the balance beam that was quite risky for the time: an aerial walkover, in which she somersaulted forwards. Because she was injured, she did not attempt this move during the competition and did not win a medal.
Rigby retired from gymnastics after the 1972 Summer Olympics. She married professional football player Tommy Mason, ran a successful gymnastics camp, had two sons, and began acting.
In 1974, the producers of a showy, theater-in-the-round version of Peter Pan were trying to capitalize on her fame and skill when they offered her the title role. The shy gymnast commented that she was "scared to death" during rehearsals; only 20 and just a year into "retirement," she had no idea what she would be doing with the rest of her life when the role came along. To her surprise, she discovered she could not only pull off playing Peter Pan, but that she actually enjoyed doing it..
In the mid-1970s, Rigby shattered an old taboo by appearing in a series of TV commercials for StayFree Maxi-pads created by Young & Rubicam copywriter Peter Cornish, thereby becoming the first celebrity to endorse a feminine hygiene product. Rigby then turned her efforts to television, working for 18 years as a commentator for ABC Sports and appearing in made-for-television movies. In 1976, she appeared in a role as a guest star Russian gymnast on the TV series The Six Million Dollar Man.
In 1981, Rigby starred as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. During that production, Rigby met her second husband, Tom McCoy. She credits McCoy with enabling her to fight bulimia, a disease which she had lived with since the end of her gymnastics career.Pendergast, Tom, and Sara Pendergast. St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. Detroit: St. James Press, 2000. She had two daughters, Theresa and Kaitlin, with her second husband. Other theatrical appearances included Annie Get Your Gun and Meet Me In St. Louis.
During the 1980s, Rigby began publicly speaking about her experiences with eating disorders. Rigby, who suffered from bulimia for 12 years, in an article she wrote for People Magazine in 1984, said: "I wanted to be perfect in my attitude and in my weight. Inside I was going crazy. I probably consumed 10,000 calories a day or more in fast foods. I can tell you where every McDonald's and Jack in the Box was along the way (to my voice lessons)—and every bathroom where I could get rid of the food."Rigby McCoy, Cathy. People Magazine, August 13, 1984 According to a People Magazine interview in 1991, "twice she was hospitalized and nearly died from electrolyte imbalance."Goodman, Mark. People Magazine, May 6, 1991
In 1990, Rigby again appeared as Peter Pan on Broadway and later took the production on tour. Rigby received excellent reviews for her performance and was nominated for a Tony Award. She played the role again in 1998–1999 and in a 2004–2005 tour that was billed as Rigby's farewell. However, Rigby recently showed audiences that she "won't grow up" despite being 60 years old, and began another tour starting in 2011 and continued through 2013. In April 2013, Rigby confirmed that she will be leaving the role for good after the tour concluded on April 28, 2013..
McCoy and Rigby own a theatrical production company called McCoy Rigby Entertainment, which produces a Peter Pan touring show, in which Rigby stars. Rigby returned to the role of Peter Pan in 2008 at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh and again appeared as Peter in 2009 at the Mansion Theater in Branson, Missouri. A new tour of the show began August 2011. In 2012, she appeared in American Girl's McKenna Shoots for The Stars, as McKenna's gymnastics coach.
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