Gene Kelly - Dancer par excellence, Film Actor - 1912-1996
Born on August 23rd, 1912, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Gene honed his dancing skills, even as his friends played baseball, and did performances with his brother, Fred. He ended up on the Broadway stage, where he found himself very much at home, and in 1942, he got his big break, making his movie debut against Hollywood's darling, Judy Garland, in For Me And My Gal.
Fred Astaire was the dancing star who reigned supreme. Gene had developed his own dancing style by then. Gene would go on to say, "All of my dancing came out of the idea of the common man." Maybe this is why he had an immense mass appeal, one that ensured that in 1951, he received an honorary Academy Award, not only for his versatility as a singer, dancer, actor and director, but also for his spirited attempts at choreography.
However, in 1952, the true brilliance of the man was revealed in a musical that will forever be etched in the minds of all movie goers as his masterpiece - Singin' in the Rain. The umbrella sequence in the rain, where Gene sings the title song is one of the most ebullient scenes ever in Hollowood history, a scene inspired by the idea of free spirited street children gambolling in the rain. This number is now showcased as the signature tune of the American film musical and continues to be a reaffirmation of life every time it is shown to an adoring public.
Photographs of the man who proved that he had the genes of dancing in his blood!
The exquisite Debbie Reynolds was nineteen to Kelly's forty, when Singin' in the Rain was made. Gene made her work very hard during shooting and she admitted, years after, that "The two hardest things I ever did in my life are childbirth and Singin' in the Rain." When Gene passed away after a couple of strokes on February 2nd, 1996, there was a whole galaxy of mourners who wept. Among them was Debbie who told the Press, "There'll never be another Gene. I was only 18 when we made that movie, and the hardest thing was keeping up with his energy."
Here's the link to the brilliant performance by Gene Kelly - the memorable song which lent its name to the title of the landmark movie.