Henie, Sonja(sō`nyə hĕn`ē), 1912–69, Norwegian-American figure skater and movie actress, b. Oslo, Norway. She began ice skating at the age of eight and two years later won the first of six straight Norwegian figure-skating championships. She won the world's figure-skating crown ten consecutive years, the European title eight times in a row, and the Olympic figure-skating championship in 1928, 1932, and 1936. After her last Olympic win she moved permanently to the United States and turned professional. Her ice carnivals attracted millions. She starred in a number of motion pictures and wrote the autobiographical Wings on My Feet (1940).
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Henie, Sonja(1912–69) ice skater, film actress; born in Oslo, Norway. Starting in 1927, she won seven European championships, ten world championships, and gold medals in the 1928, 1932, and 1936 Olympics; she is credited with introducing music and dance-based movements into free-skating and thus greatly broadening the public for what had been a previously technical event. She turned professional in 1936 and made her first Hollywood movie, One in a Million (1936). She began touring with her ice show in 1937, and went on to make a series of immensely popular movies such as Sun Valley Serenade (1941), light romantic musicals designed to show off her skating artistry. Her film career faded in the late 1940s but she continued with her touring until 1952. She had become an American citizen in 1941 but lived her final years in her native Norway.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.