Cyd Charisse

Lowest Rated: 20% Words and Music (1948)
Birthday: Mar 8, 1921
Birthplace: Amarillo, Texas, USA
"When you've danced with Cyd Charisse, you stay danced with." So said Fred Astaire, in tribute to the ability and allure of his last big-screen dancing partner. Cyd Charisse was the last great musical star to come out of MGM, and she barely made it to stardom before the musical genre began its decline. One of the greatest dancers ever to come out of Hollywood, Charisse worked in movies for almost a decade before being allowed to take center stage in a major musical feature; but when she did, she fairly exploded onscreen in The Band Wagon, Vincente Minnelli's greatest musical.Charisse was born in Tula Ellice Finklea in Amarillo, TX, and took to dancing at an early age, encouraged by her father, who loved the ballet. By age 14, she was dancing with the Ballet Russe under the more glamorous (and European-sounding) name Felia Sidorova -- the Sidorova came from her childhood nickname "Sid," which she carried into adulthood. She later studied dance in Los Angeles with Nico Charisse, who became her first husband. Charisse appeared both solo and with her first husband (working as "Nico and Charisse") in several early '40s "soundies" and played small roles in Mission to Moscow and Something to Shout About (both 1943), working under the name Lily Norwood. In 1945 Charisse was signed to MGM; Lily Norwood disappeared and Sid became Cyd, while the Charisse -- the one major legacy of the failed marriage -- remained. Charisse appeared in some lesser studio productions during the second half of the '40s, of which the most notable was The Unfinished Dance, a notoriously bad MGM remake of a pre-World War II French film. At the time, Ann Miller was getting all of the really good high-profile dancer co-star roles in the studio's biggest songbook musicals, while Charisse got featured dancer roles in composer-tribute movies such as Till the Clouds Roll By (based loosely on the career of Jerome Kern) and Words and Music (based loosely on Richard Rodgers' and Lorenz Hart's careers). During the late '40s, she married singer Tony Martin, a union that would last more than 50 years. Charisse had the chance to work opposite Gene Kelly in An American in Paris, but turned it down as she and Martin were starting a family, a decision that she never regretted, even if it cheated film audiences of a brilliant showcase for her work. Finally, in 1952, she made it into a frontline studio production in as prominent a role as a dancer could possibly have without dialogue, playing the vamp who appears in the middle of the "Broadway Ballet" segment of Singin' in the Rain.In 1953, with the help of Fred Astaire and director Vincente Minnelli, Charisse emerged a full-blown star in The Band Wagon. The movie, one of the greatest musicals ever made, was even more impressive as a total vehicle for Charisse -- her eight years at the studio had allowed her to absorb a fair amount of acting training, which made her just as impressive in her dramatic, romantic, and comedic scenes as she was when she danced. And when she and Astaire danced, it was literally poetry in motion, before that phrase was overused. Charisse got to work alongside Gene Kelly again in Brigadoon and It's Always Fair Weather, in which she again got to showcase her acting ability (her singing was dubbed by vocalist India Adams in most of her movies). She got to do one more major Hollywood musical, Silk Stockings (1957), acting and dancing opposite her greatest dancing partner, Fred Astaire, in a screen adaptation of Cole Porter's last great stage musical, before the musical genre disappeared. During the 1960s, she moved her career to Europe for one last dazzling musical film, Black Tights, and onto television, where Charisse became an Emmy-winning performer, and then onto the stage. Luckily for Charisse, she was a good enough actress to credibly work in straight drama and comedy, and was so striking a physical presence that she kept her career going well into the 1970s, including a successful nightclub act wit

Photos

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

CREDIT
No Score Yet Soundies: A Musical History Hosted by Michael Feinstein Actor 2007
No Score Yet Gene Kelly - Anatomy of a Dancer Actor 2002
No Score Yet What a Glorious Feeling: The Making of 'Singin' in the Rain' Actor 2002
No Score Yet Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days Actor 2001
No Score Yet Frank Sinatra Memorial Actor 1999
100% That's Entertainment! III Host 1994
No Score Yet Stars of the Century Actor 1988
No Score Yet That's Dancing! Actor 1985
No Score Yet Swimsuit Mrs. Allison 1984
No Score Yet Portrait of an Escort Actor 1980
No Score Yet Warlords of Atlantis Atsil 1978
No Score Yet Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood President's Girl 4 1976
No Score Yet Maroc 7 Louise Henderson 1967
No Score Yet The Silencers Sarita 1966
No Score Yet Assassination in Rome Actor 1965
No Score Yet Something's Got to Give Actor 1962
No Score Yet Black Tights (1-2-3-4 ou Les Collants noirs) Actor 1962
100% Two Weeks in Another Town Carlotta 1962
No Score Yet Five Golden Hours Baronessa Sandra 1961
No Score Yet Black Tights Actor 1960
82% Party Girl Vicki Gaye 1958
100% Silk Stockings Ninotchka Yoschenko 1957
No Score Yet Meet Me in Las Vegas Maria Corvier 1956
100% It's Always Fair Weather Jackie Leighton 1955
No Score Yet Deep in My Heart Guest Star 1954
85% Brigadoon Fiona Campbell 1954
No Score Yet Easy to Love Actor 1953
100% The Band Wagon Gaby Gerard 1953
No Score Yet The Wild North Indian girl 1952
100% Singin' in the Rain Guest Artist 1952
No Score Yet East Side, West Side Rosa Senta 1949
No Score Yet Tension Mary Chanler 1949
20% Words and Music Margo Grant 1948
No Score Yet The Kissing Bandit Fiesta Dancer 1948
No Score Yet The Unfinished Dance Mlle. Ariane Bouchet 1948
No Score Yet On an Island with You Yvonne Torro 1948
No Score Yet Fiesta Conchita 1947
100% Till the Clouds Roll By Dance Specialty 1947
100% The Harvey Girls Deborah 1946
67% Ziegfeld Follies Dance Specialty 1946
No Score Yet Mission to Moscow Specialty Dancer 1943

TV

CREDIT
No Score Yet American Masters
2001
Appearing
  • 2002
94% Frasier
1993-2004
Guest
  • 1995
No Score Yet Murder, She Wrote
1984-1996
Myrna Montclaire
  • 1985
No Score Yet Great Performances
2000

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