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Subject: Erna Segal, 64; 'Chiquita' in Dance Pair in '50s and '60s


Author:
UCLA Medical Center
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Date Posted: April 10, 2003 7:58:15 EDT

Erna Segal, 64, a professional dancer with the stage name of Chiquita -- half of the Chiquita and Johnson dance team popular in the 1950s and '60s -- died Saturday at UCLA Medical Center while awaiting a liver transplant.

Her death was attributed to lung and liver disease. The Prague, Czechoslovakia, native studied ballet as a child, and at age 12 teamed with John von Kralik, who used the stage name Johnson. The two were married from 1956 to 1960.

They toured Germany, the Middle East and Greece before working at the internationally known Tropicana Nightclub in pre-Castro Havana.

Moving to the U.S. in the mid-1950s, they performed on television's "Ed Sullivan Show" and at New York City's Latin Quarter nightclub and Radio City Music Hall.

Other TV shows followed, including "The Colgate Comedy Hour" and "The Red Skelton Show."

They also danced in major Las Vegas resorts as an opening act for such stars as Jack Benny, Frank Sinatra and Skelton, and worked in popular showrooms around the country, including Frank Sennes' Moulin Rouge in Hollywood and the Cocoanut Grove.

After their divorce, she worked alone as Chiquita Johnson in musicals such as "Finian's Rainbow" at Melodyland in Anaheim. She later married Daniel Sega, who survives her.

With him, she opened a specialty film distribution company and wrote teleplays, including "Dan Haggerty Goes to the Circus" for NBC.

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