Villella was the first American male dancer to appear with the Royal Danish Ballet, and the only American ever asked to dance an encore at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. He danced at the inaugural for President John F. Kennedy, and performed for Presidents Johnson, Nixon, and Ford. He won an Emmy Award in 1975 for his CBS television production of Harlequinade. He danced in two television versions of The Nutcracker (in different roles), in a ballet film version of A Midsummer Night's Dream, and in a 1966 TV production of Brigadoon, in which he played the tragic suitor Harry Beaton. During the 1960s he and his dancing partner Patricia McBride, who starred together in a 1965 television version of The Nutcracker, appeared often on The Ed Sullivan Show. In 1973, Villella appeared as himself in an episode of The Odd Couple titled "Last Tango in Newark" during which he said (much to Felix's dismay) that he always wanted to be a professional football player and that he took up ballet to meet girls; his son, Roddy, also appeared. In 1983, Villella guest-starred on the soap opera Guiding Light.
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