Peter Foy, Maestro of Stage Flight, Dies at 79
Foy was born in England, and first flew at age 15 in a production of Where The Rainbow Ends, for which he also eventually supervised the Kirby's Flying Machines used. After World War II, he worked for their creator, Joseph Kirby. This led him to New York to stage the flying sequences for Leonard Bernstein's 1950 musical version of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, starring Jean Arthur. He returned four years later to fly Mary Martin in the now-classic Mark Charlap-Carolyn Leigh-Jule Styne-Betty Comden-Adolph Green adaptation of Barrie's play -- and, in 1979 and the early 1990s, he did the same for Sandy Duncan and Cathy Rigby in their productions of the show. He also contributed to the Peter Pan segment in the 1989 theatrical retrospective Jerome Robbins' Broadway.
His flying sequences and other special effects were also seen on Broadway in Raggedy Ann, Fool Moon, The Red Shoes, The Who's Tommy, The Lion King, Blast!, and most recently in Dracula, the Musical. Flying By Foy effects will be used in the upcoming Broadway productions of Monty Python's Spamalot and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Foy invented new flying systems over the years, such as the Inter-Related Pendulum, the Floating Pulley, the Track on Track system, and the Multi-Point Balance Harness, which was used in the 1965 film Fantastic Voyage. For his work in the theater, he received the International Entertainment Safety Award in 1990.