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.
- Biography in: "American National Biography". Supplement 1, pp. 309-312. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
- Inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 1992.
- His last movie musical was _Xanadu (1980)_ (qv) co-starring 'Olivia Newton-John' (qv).
- Attended Peabody High School in the East Liberty section of Pittsburgh, Pa.
- Working on an autobiography at the time of his death.
- Martial arts stars 'Jackie Chan (I)' (qv) and 'David Carradine' (qv) both cite him as an influence.
- Was originally set to star as Don Hewes alongside 'Judy Garland (I)' (qv) in _Easter Parade (1948)_ (qv). However before filming began he broke his leg, resulting in 'Fred Astaire' (qv) coming out of retirement in order to replace him in the film.
- He was voted the 42nd Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.