Dancer/actress/singer Susan Luckey has spent most of her career working on the stage, but her screen appearances, though few, have included some extraordinarily memorable work. Born in Hollywood, she made her first stage appearance at the age of six, in a Christmas play staged by the Plummer Park Players. She studied at the American School of Dance and at 14 was earning a living as a performer. She was a member of the Los Angeles and San Francisco Light Opera companies, and her Broadway credits as a teenager included the Peter Pan production starring Mary Martin. Luckey was signed by MGM in the mid-'50s and played a small role in that studio's musical biography of Sigmund Romberg, Deep in My Heart.
It was 20th Century Fox's production of Carousel, however, that marked a major break for Luckey as a performer. She was cast in the role of Louise, which presented her in a dance sequence so moving (under Agnes De Mille's choreography) that it was one of the highpoints of the otherwise troubled movie. A small acting role followed in the dramatic, topical Ginger Rogers vehicle Teenage Rebel (in which she was billed as Suzanne Luckey), after which she joined the national touring company of Meredith Willson's The Music Man. She had help in all of these career moves from her drama coach, the actress Kay Hammond, best remembered for her work in the movie Blithe Spirit. The Music Man was choreographed by Onna White, who had been engaged to direct the dancing in the David Merrick-produced stage musical Take Me Along. Making note of Luckey's portrayal of Zeneeta, the mayor's daughter, in The Music Man, White recommended Luckey as the ingenue in Take Me Along. Two years later, when Warner Bros. began work on the film version of The Music Man, the studio miraculously chose to use a major contingent of the creative and performing team from the theatrical production, including original director Morton Da Costa, and Luckey was one of the theater company members tagged by him for the film, in which she once again essayed the role of Zeneeta.
Apart from those major featured parts in Carousel and The Music Man, most of Luckey's work was confined to the stage and television. She re-emerged in the spotlight in 1998 to participate on camera, along with Shirley Jones, Onna White, and Buddy Hackett, in the 30-minute documentary Right Here in River City, telling of the making of The Music Man. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi