1. Archive

Bill Bradley, creator of "Gypsy Robe'

Bill Bradley, who created the "Gypsy Robe," a backstage Broadway tradition that has run a thread of good luck through decades of productions, has died. He was 73.

Mr. Bradley died Monday from complications following a stroke, said his companion, Rudy Tronto.

A choreographer and director, Mr. Bradley launched his Broadway career as a dancer. It was during the 1950s run of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes starring Carol Channing that he created the "Gypsy Robe" legend.

"One of the women in the chorus had a terrible robe," said Tronto, describing it as pale pink with white feathers. "But Bill thought it would make a great gift for one of the guys in another show, on opening night. It was a great gag."

That's how it all began, with one "gypsy" _ a chorus member _ passing the robe on to another production while pinning on a prop from the last production as a good-luck cast ritual. The first addition was a rose.

Now there are eight robes, because "each one got so full."

For 18 years, Mr. Bradley directed and coordinated production for the Florida-based Ringling Bros. circus.