Gillian Lynne is a British ballerina, dancer, actor, theatre director, television director and choreographer, best known for her iconic choreography of Cats and The Phantom of the Opera. She was born in Bromley, Kent, in 1926. At the age of ten she won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dancing, after which she joined the Cone Ripman School before being selected to join Molly Lake's Ballet Guild and Ninette de Valois's Sadler's Wells. As part of what would soon become the Royal Ballet, she was renowned for her portrayal of the Black Queen in de Valois's Checkmate, Queen of the Wilis in Giselle and in roles created for her by Frederick Ashton and Robert Helpmann. Her film, television and stage credits include many long-running West End and Broadway shows, productions for the RSC and English National Opera and The Muppets. She continues to produce television, film and stage productions. In 2013 she received a Special Award at the Oliviers.