Posing with Muhammad Ali … and Knocking Out Joe Frazier

Rockettes Reflections

By Roe Noviello

Throughout their 90-year history, the world-famous Rockettes have shared the stage—and unforgettable adventures—with many other world-famous personalities. They have appeared at such iconic events as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Super Bowl and on TV shows like America’s Got Talent and Night of 100 Stars. The Rockettes are taking a moment to reflect on their favorite stardust memories.

Roe Noviello (right) pictured with Muhammad Ali in 19...

Roe Noviello pictured with Muhammad Ali in 1990

I was backstage at Radio City Music Hall because the Rockettes were performing for Night of 100 Stars III (1990), and that’s when I saw him: boxing legend Muhammad Ali.

As much as I was excited by the opportunity to meet him, my husband was a die-hard fan—so I knew I needed to get a picture with him. Even though he had a lot of bodyguards, I walked up to him and asked if he’d be willing to take a photo with me.

He looked at me and said, “You are so beautiful. Of course! With a Rockette? That would be wonderful.”

I wanted to get a photo with just him, so I asked the other men around him to move out of the picture. I was really excited that he said yes. He was such a gentleman.

After the photo, one of the stage hands looked at me and said, “Why did you ask Joe Frazier to step out of the picture?!” … and I was completely mortified.

Frazier—also a former heavyweight champion—then came over to me and said: “It’s OK that you didn’t know who I was.” I begged him to take another picture with me—just the two of us—but he kept teasing me: “No, really, you just wanted Muhammad Ali’s photo.”

My husband has yet to let me live this down!

Roe Noviello was a Rockette from 1967 to 1969 and 1985 to 1997. She currently resides in Long Island, New York.