Lou Wills Jr.
Lou Wills Jr. died on Aug. 7, 2019 in Sebring/Lake Placid, Florida where he had lived since 1997.
Lou Wills, born Sherman Charles Biener in Yonkers, New York in 1927, changed his name in honor of his teacher and mentor, Mr. Wills.
Lou was a loving husband to Beverly Dixon Wills, caring father to Jamie and Doug Wills, stepfather to Tracy Calvan, beloved grandfather to Michael Wills, Kathryn Wills, Cameron Fearey, and Kaila Fearey and great-grandfather to Oliver Wills.
He cared deeply for his children’s spouses, Julie Wills and Gordon Fearey. Lou had a special bond with his niece, Shelley Biener, and nephew, Stephen Biener, and stayed in close touch with them until the last year of his life.
Lou had a lifelong and successful career as an acrobat, tap dancer, actor, choreographer, producer and teacher of tap dance. He performed from the age of 5 until his 70’s on stage, film and television. As a child he was on Major Bowes, a popular talent show, then went on to vaudeville. In 1941, Gene Kelly hired him for his first Broadway show, “Best Foot Forward,” followed by a decade during which he performed in six Broadway shows, among them “One Touch of Venus” with Mary Martin and “Something for the Boys” with Ethyl Merman.
In the 1950s and 1960s Lou continued to perform in musicals in large arenas across the country and opened acts for stars in Las Vegas, Miami and Los Angeles, including Danny Thomas, Milton Berle and Lena Horne. Later, when he moved to Los Angeles, he worked in film, television and commercials. Lou trained Robin Williams, Richard Dreyfuss, Raquel Welch and others in dance and acrobatics.
Some of the TV series he appeared in are still running such as “Murphy Brown,” “Rosanne” and “Friends.” When performing, Lou will be remembered for his great sense of timing and astounding grace in dance and acrobatics. In person, he had an uncanny ability to connect with the people around him.
His kind, welcoming manner made those in his life immediately at ease. His many friends will remember him for his great stories that never failed to bring laughter. Lou was a one-of-a-kind who truly enriched the lives of his family and friends.
A memorial will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019 at Temple Israel of Highlands County, 1305 Temple Israel Drive, Sebring, FL 33870. Refreshment will be served. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Temple in honor of his mother and father, Louis and Ida Biener.
Arrangements entrusted to Stephenson-Nelson Funeral Home, 4001 Sebring Parkway, Sebring, FL 33870. Online condolences may be left at stephensonnelsonfh.com.