|Kenny Ortega Quick Info|
|Height||5 ft 10 in|
|Date of Birth||April 18, 1950|
Kenny Ortega is a renowned American director and choreographer best known for directing Disney’s TV movies, High School Musical (2006, 2007), Descendants (2015, 2017, 2019), and the global commercial success High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008).
Kenneth John Ortega
Palo Alto, California, United States
Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, California, United States
Kenny belongs to the class of 1968 of Sequoia High School based in Redwood City, California where he was an active member of the drama group and part of the cheerleading squad.
He continued to study theater arts and dance at Canada College in the same city of Redwood.
American Filmmaker, Director (Film, Television, Music Videos, and Stage), Touring Manager, Choreographer
- Father – Octavio Ortega aka Tibby (Factory Worker)
- Mother – Madeline Ortega née Martin aka Madge (Waitress)
- Siblings – Deborah Lee Ortega aka Debra (Younger Sister), Mark Ortega (Younger Brother)
- Others – Shirley Banbury Ortega aka Shirl (Sister-in-Law), Kyle Robert Ortega (Nephew)
He is represented by-
- Paradigm Talent Agency
- Barry Littman at Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush, Kaller & Gellman (Law Firm)
- McDonald Selznick Associates (MSA) Creative Talent Agency
5 ft 10 in or 178 cm
82 kg or 181 lbs
Race / Ethnicity
He is of Spanish descent.
Salt and Pepper
- Prominent laugh lines around the eyes and frown lines on the forehead
- Sharp nose
- Widow’s Peak hairline
Kenny Ortega Favorite Things
- High School Musical Song And Dance Number – Get’cha Head in the Game
Source – EW
Kenny Ortega Facts
- He started participating in musical theatre at the age of 13.
- Ortega has 4 pet dogs named Willie, Manly, Sally, and Harry.
- Some of the popular music videos choreographed by Kenny include Rod Stewart’s Young Turks (1981), Fleetwood Mac’s Gypsy (1982), Styx’s Mr. Roboto (1983), Madonna’s Material Girl (1985), Gloria Estefan’s Rhythm is Gonna Get You (1987) and Cher’s If I Could Turn Back Time (1989).
- In 1969, he got cast to play George Berger in the San Francisco touring production of Hair and spent the entire decade of the 1970s working as a jobbing dancer and choreographer.
- He earned his first high profile break when he got a contract to work with KISS on their Dynasty Tour. Shortly after, Kenny got his break in Hollywood when he choreographed legendary actor Gene Kelly in his final film role in Xanadu (1980).
- Ortega gained widespread recognition for the choreography of Dirty Dancing (1987). While filming the iconic lift in the lake scene, Ortega was dressed in a wet suit and holding on to Patrick Swayze’s legs for stability underwater. The lake Lure in North Carolina where the scene was filmed was so cold that the actress Jennifer Grey was hospitalized immediately after for hypothermia.
- The choreography of Billy Squier’s Rock Me Tonight (1984) music video is a rare blunder of Ortega’s career. It became widely agreed upon as one of the worst music videos of the early 1980s and the singer (Squier) himself claims that prancing around effeminately in pastel pink in the video immediately ended his rock career.
- Nevertheless, Kenny has successfully organized some of the most illustrious stage events in the world which include Michael Jackson’s Dangerous World Tour (1992–1993) and History World Tour (1996–1997), Super Bowl XXX, 72nd Academy Awards, the 1996 Summer Olympics (Atlanta), and 2002 Winter Olympics (Salt Lake City).
- He was scheduled to direct Michael Jackson’s This Is It concert in 2009 that was inevitably canceled due to his death. Ortega put together the rehearsal footage to create a documentary of the same name in honor of Jackson.
- Kenny was approached to direct the 2011 remake of Footloose (1984) but the choreographer backed out because he could not agree with the studio over the presentation and budget of the film.
- He is a close friend of award-winning actor/director Josh Carmichael.
- In May 2019, Kenny was given the Disney Legend award for his contribution to Film and Television and earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for the same reason in July 2019.
Featured Image by Kenny Ortega / Instagram