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Palo Alto, California
Birth Sign
Palo Alto, California

American film and television producer, director, and choreographer Kenny Ortega. In the movie “Xanadu,” he started his career by collaborating with dancer and choreographer Gene Kelly. He continued to direct several music videos, eventually establishing himself as a reputable expert in this sector. The musical comedy-drama film “Newsies” served as his directing debut. However, the movie was a commercial failure and received neutral to unfavorable reviews. He was disappointed, but he did not allow it to influence his subsequent works. He went on to direct numerous other movies during the ensuing years, including the enormously successful “High School Musical 3: Senior Year,” which brought in more than $250 million on an $11 million budget. The third movie in the “High School Musical” series was the one in question. Ortega also directed the preceding two installments, which were TV movies. Additionally, he has directed numerous episodes of TV shows like the comedic drama “Gilmore Girls” and the hospital drama “Chicago Hope.” In his career, Ortega has received numerous honors, including two Emmy Awards from five nominations.

Early Childhood & Life

On April 18, 1950, Kenny Ortega was born in Palo Alto, California, to Octavio and Madeline Ortega. While his father worked at a factory, his mother used to be a waitress. He attended Sequoia High School in Redwood City, California, where he studied.

Kenny Ortega’s Career

In the 1980 romantic fantasy musical picture “Xanadu,” choreographer Kenny Ortega made his film debut. He collaborated with Gene Kelly, a choreographer. He also choreographed scenes for the movies “Dirty Dancing,” “Pretty in Pink,” and “St. Elmo’s Fire” (1985, 1986). (1987). For his work in well-known music videos like Madonna’s “Material Girl,” he has received honors.

He made his directorial debut in 1992 with the musical comedy “Newsies.” He also created the choreography. Actors Christian Bale, Bill Pullman, Ann Margret, and Robert Duvall all starred in the film. The movie was a box office dud and had mixed to bad reviews. Five Razzie Awards, including the ones for “Worst Film” and “Worst Director,” were also nominated for the movie. But when it was adapted for the theater, it was a big success and received eight Tony Award nominations.

He directed the 1993 American comedic horror fantasy movie “Hocus Pocus” and worked as its choreographer. In the primary roles were performers Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker. The movie was only a mediocre commercial success. Despite receiving unfavorable reviews at first, it has developed a cult following over time.

In 1995, he released his following film, “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar.” Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze, John Leguizamo, and Stockard Channing were among the performers who starred in it. Swayze and Leguizamo were nominated for Golden Globe Awards for their performances. He worked as the choreographer for the animated movie “Quest for Camelot” in 1998. The movie didn’t do well financially.

In the course of his career, Kenny Ortega has directed episodes of numerous TV programs, including “Hull High,” “Second,” “Grounded for Life,” and “Gilmore Girls.”

After directing the musical TV movie “High School Musical” in 2006, he reached the pinnacle of his career. It became the most commercially successful “Disney Channel Original Movie” and the most-watched TV movie of the year. Six video games were created based on the movie, and the movie was novelized as a book series. It received numerous honors, including a Billboard Music Award and a Primetime Emmy.

He oversaw the 2007 film “High School Musical 2.” It made its debut on August 14 at Disneyland in California, and on August 17 it made its television debut. It surpassed all attendance records and quickly rose to the top spot among made-for-cable films at the time. Reviews of it ranged from favorable to inconsistent.

In 2008, he oversaw the direction of “High School Musical 3,” the third film in the High School Musical saga. The third movie, in contrast to the first two, was released in theaters. The movie was a huge hit, making more than 24 times its original budget. It grew to be Kenny Ortega’s most commercially successful piece of art. Reviews ranged from negative to positive.

In 2009, he served as the director of the American documentary “Michael Jackson’s This is It.” The movie portrayed Michael Jackson’s preparation for and rehearsals for his similarly named concert tour. The movie, which cost $60 million to produce, made more than $260 million worldwide.

His subsequent noteworthy TV project was the musical fantasy movie “Descendants” (2015). Leading parts were played by performers Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson, BooBoo Stewart, and Cameron Boyce. The movie was a mediocre success and received favorable reviews. A sequel to the movie, also directed by Ortega, was presented in 2017. The third movie in the series, which will be released in 2019, is also directed by him.

He oversaw the production of the 2016 television movie “The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again.” It received unfavorable comments. Along with directing movies and television shows, he has also orchestrated numerous concert tours for artists like Cher, Michael Jackson, and Gloria Estefan.

Kenny’s Bigger Works

The ‘High School Musical trilogy is without a doubt Kenny Ortega’s most significant and commercially successful project. The first two films, which were broadcast on television, rose to the top of the list of all-time most-watched TV movies. On a meager $11 million budget, the third film, which was released in theaters, made more than $250 million. The movies gained a cult following in addition to winning numerous prizes. Additionally being developed is a spin-off TV show.

Kenny’s Individual Life

The likelihood that Kenny Ortega is unmarried and little is known about his personal life. It’s been suggested that he might be gay.

Estimated Net Worth

Director, producer, choreographer, and director of film and television Kenny Ortega has a $14 million fortune. 1950 saw the birth of Kenny Ortega in Palo Alto, California. The movies he has directed, including “Hocus Pocus,” “In The Heights,” the “Dirty Dancing” remake, and many others, have contributed to Kenny Ortega’s fortune.


Ortega has directed all of the TV movies and feature films he has also choreographed.