83 (passed away Feb. 2nd, 1996)
Aug. 23rd, 1912
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Gene Kelly's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
M-G-M was the largest and most powerful studio in Hollywood when Gene Kelly arrived in town in 1941. He came direct from the hit 1940 original Broadway production of "Pal Joey" and planned to return to the Broadway stage after making the one film required by his contract. His first picture for M-G-M was For Me and My Gal (1942) with Judy Garland (I). What kept Kelly in Hollywood were "the kindred creative spirits" he found behind the scenes at M-G-M. The talent pool was especially large during World War II, when Hollywood was a refuge for many musicians and others in the performing arts of Europe who were forced to flee the Nazis. After the war, a new generation was coming of age. Those who saw An American in Paris (1951) would try to make real life as romantic as the reel life they saw portrayed in that musical, and the first time they saw Paris, they were seeing again in memory the seventeen-minute ballet sequence set to the title song written by George Gershwin and choreographed by Kelly. The sequence cost a half million dollars (U.S.) to make in 1951 dollars. Another Kelly musical of the era, Singin' in the Rain (1952), was one of the first 25 films selected by the Library of Congress for its National Film Registry. Kelly was in the same league as Fred Astaire, but instead of a top hat and tails Kelly wore work clothes that went with his masculine, athletic dance style.
- Graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in economics.
- His first two wives were dancers. Actress 'Betsy Blair' (qv) met Gene while she was a performer and he a choreographer in the show "Diamond Horseshoe". Second wife 'Jeanne Coyne' (qv) was Gene's dancing assistant for many years before they married in 1960. A major talent in her own right, her dazzling footwork can be seen in the "From This Moment On" number alongside partner 'Bobby Van (I)' (qv), 'Ann Miller (I)' (qv), 'Tommy Rall' (qv), 'Carol Haney' (qv) and 'Bob Fosse' (qv) in _Kiss Me Kate (1953)_ (qv) (1953). She died of leukemia in 1973.
- "Singin' in the Rain" was awarded the 'Laurence Olivier' (qv) Theatre Award in 2001 for Outstanding Musical Production, with choreography by Kelly.
- He was awarded the American National Medal of the Arts in 1994 by the National Endowment of the Arts in Washington D.C.
- Had a fever of 103 degrees while filming the famous rain scene in Singing In The Rain.
- 'Ray Bradbury' (qv)'s novel "Something Wicked This Way Comes" was dedicated to Kelly.
- He wore a hairpiece (toupee).
- He and his younger brother 'Fred Kelly (I)' (qv) appeared together in a dancing vaudeville act. When Gene got his big break as Harry the hoofer in the dramatic Broadway production of "The Time of Your Life" in 1942, he was eventually replaced by brother Fred, who took it on the road and won a Donaldson award for his efforts.