- Date of Birth:
- April 18, 1950
- Palo Alto
Kenny Ortega (born Kenneth John Ortega on April 18, 1950 in Palo Alto, California) is an American director and choreographer. After graduating from Sequoia High School in Redwood City, Kenny landed a part of choreographer for a local production of Hair. Afterward, Kenny worked with rock band The Tubes on an avant-garde stage show, introducing his work to the masses – including Cher, who hired him to choreograph part of her stage show. Kenny’s debut into Hollywood came in 1980 when he worked with legendary dancer and actor, Gene Kelly, on his last film, Xanadu. This led Kenny to choreograph Menudo’s video for “Hold Me” and Madonna’s “Material Girl.” Kenny directed Billy Squier’s “Rock Me Tonight” video, considered one of the worst videos of all time, causing a set-back Kenny’s choreography career. He rebounded by choreographing 1987’s Dirty Dancing. Kenny worked with Michael Jackson on his Dangerous World Tour in 1992, his HIStory World Tour in 1996 and his This Is It Concerts in 2009. Kenny’s major debut as a director came in 19923, when he helmed the Bette Midler classic, Hocus Pocus. From there, Kenny was hired to direct and choreograph the High School Musical movies. Kenny directed a handful of episodes for television shows like Chicago Hope, Gilmore Girls and Ally McBeal. In 2015, Kenny directed the Disney original film, Descendants.
Best Known For:
Kenny Ortega is best known as a director and a choreographer, one who worked with Michael Jackson and directed the High School Musical movies.
Kenny is private when it comes to his personal life. He is of Spanish descent. He was offered to direct the 2011 remake of Footloose, but dropped out. In 2014, Kenny appeared as a guest judge on the 18th season of Dancing With The Stars.