Teaming Up In and Out of the Ring with Muhammad Ali

Throughout our 90-year history, we Rockettes have shared the stage—and unforgettable adventures—with many world-famous personalities. And one of those personalities was none other than the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time, Muhammad Ali.

On March 31, 1985 a sold-out Madison Square Garden was the home to the first annual wrestling spectacle, WrestleMania I, where Muhammad Ali, Liberace and Rockettes shared the main event stage. Getting a standing ovation as he made his way to the outside of the ring, Ali was named a special guest referee for the historical event in which tag-team Hulk Hogan and Mr. T defeated “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff.

Preceding the rousing victory of Hulk Hogan and Mr. T, the Rockettes and our good ol’ friend and guest timekeeper, Liberace, linked up and did our iconic eye-high kicks to Frank Sinatra‘s popular tune, “New York, New York.”

But that’s not the only time we’ve had a run-in with the legendary boxer …


Former Rockette Roe and Muhammad Ali

Fast forward five years to May 5, 1990 when Rockettes (and Golden Girls stars Betty White, Rue McClanahan, Bea Arthur and Estelle Getty!) were performing at Night of 100 Stars III, a celebrity razzle-dazzle gala held at Radio City Music Hall benefiting the Actors’ Fund of America.

We were making our way backstage when one of us spotted special guest “The Greatest” and just had to get a photo with him. Even though he was surrounded by his bodyguards, former Rockette Roe walked up to him and asked if he’d be willing to take a photo with her, in which he responded:

“With a Rockette? Of course! That would be wonderful.”