| Actress, dancer|
September 30, 1981
| Cuckoo Moray|
| Andaz, Awaara, Barsaat, Anokhi Ada, Chalti Ka Naam Ga|
Mehboob Khan, Naushad, Raj Kapoor, I S Johar, S D Burman
Cuckoo Moray, also credited as Cuckoo or Cukoo, (1928 - 30 September 1981) was an Anglo-Indian dancer and actress in Indian cinema. Cukoo was the queen of film dancing in Hindi cinema of the 1940s and 1950s. Though unfamiliar name, she was known as the "rubber girl" of Hindi cinema and her talent made cabaret dancing a must in the Bollywood films during the 1940s and 1950s. It has been recently confirmed that Cuckoo’s real name was Cuckoo Moray.
Cukoo made her screen debut in the film Arab Ka Sitara in 1946. Then soon after in Stum Chandi, the large audience and directors noticed her dancing abilities for the first time. Then the turning point in Cukoo's career were in Mehboob Khan's films. Her dance number in his film Anokhi Ada (1948) established her as the lead dancer of the era and in Andaz (1949), a romantic drama starring Nargis, Dilip Kumar, and Raj Kapoor, gave the dancer an opportunity to display her acting skills. In Mehboob Khan's 1952 technicolour film Aan she had a brief cameo in her only film in colour. She would charge Rs 6,000 for a dance number, an enviable fee in the 50s.
Cukoo remained the best dancer in Hindi films until dancers like Helen and Vyjayanthimala came along in the industry. Cukoo was a family friend of the Anglo-Burmese dancer and actress Helen. She was also known for helping unknown actors get their break in Bollywood like Pran in Ziddi. Cukoo had introduced a 13-year-old Helen into films as a chorus dancer in the films like Shabistan and Awaara (both 1951). Cukoo and Helen most notably appeared in song and dance sequences together like in Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958) and Yahudi (1958). Her last film appearance was in Mujhe Jeene Do in 1963 after which she had disappeared from the film industry.
Cukoo died on 30 September 1981 due to cancer at the age of 53. She was forgotten and unattended by the film industry at the time of her death.
Cuckoo Moray Wikipedia