Gene Kelly

Gene Kelly

Highest Rated: 100% Singin' in the Rain (1952)

Lowest Rated: 17% Viva Knievel! (1977)

Birthday: Aug 23, 1912

Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Arguably the most influential and innovative screen dancer after Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly's effortless physicality and extraordinary vision for the Hollywood musical resulted in some of the most enduring screen song-and-dance films of the 20th century, including "An American in Paris" (1951) and "Singin' in the Rain" (1952). Born Eugene Curran Kelly in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on August 23, 1912, Kelly's initial dream was to play shortstop for his hometown baseball team, the Pirates, and he was dismayed when his mother enrolled him and his brother, James, in dance classes. He quit after being bullied by neighborhood toughs, and resumed his focus on sports until high school, when he found that he could earn money in local dance contests and through teaching dance at his family's studio, which opened in 1931. The studio provided him and his family with support during his undergraduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh, where he pursued a degree in economics; Kelly might have gone on to become a lawyer had the family's school not proven so successful, prompting him to move to New York and try his hand at acting in New York. His first attempt, in 1937, yielded no jobs, so Kelly returned to Pittsburgh, where he choreographed and performed in a production of "Hold Your Hats" the following year. After seeing his work in Pittsburgh, dancer and choreographer Robert Alton invited Kelly to perform in the Broadway run of Cole Porter's "Leave It To Me!" This led to his own choreography and dancing in 1939's "The Time of Your Life" and "Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshow" (1939), where he met and married fellow cast member Betsy Blair, and finally, top billing in Rodgers and Hart's "Pal Joey" in 1940. A graceful but unquestionably athletic dancer who also possessed a capable singing voice, comic timing and movie star charisma, it was inevitable that Hollywood would come calling, and after signing with David O. Selznick in 1941, he was loaned out to MGM for his first feature, "For Me and My Gal" (1942), which starred Judy Garland. A box office success, it led to supporting roles in "Christmas Holiday" (1944) and his first lead, opposite Lucille Ball, in "Du Barry Was a Lady" (1943), which was soon followed by his first screen choreography assignment in "Thousands Cheer" (1943), where his humorous routine with a mop drew critical praise. But with his next picture - a loan-out to Columbia for "Cover Girl" (1944) with Rita Hayworth - Kelly established himself as a new and innovative force in screen dance and musicals, one that hinged equally on technique and skill as it did on visual effects and cinematography. In "Cover Girl," Kelly, in collaboration with choreographer Stanley Donen, created indelible dance routines - using superimposition to suggest Kelly dancing with himself in the "Alter Ego" sequence - and would top these efforts with his next picture, "Anchors Away" (1945), which found him dancing opposite MGM's cartoon star Jerry Mouse. Both films were huge hits, and "Anchors" earned Kelly an Oscar nod for Best Actor; by the following year, his status was such that he was partnered with the reigning king of screen dance, Fred Astaire, to perform and collaborate on a route for "Ziegfield Follies" (1946). Recognizing that they had an assured box office draw in Kelly, MGM kept him in regular rotation as an actor/dancer and choreographer for its musicals, including "The Pirate" (1952) with reunited him with Garland, and two successful team-ups with Frank Sinatra in "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" (1949) and the Oscar-winning "On the Town" (1949), which brought the screen musical out of the soundstage in and into real-life locations like the streets of New York City. Despite these laurels, Kelly wanted to direct his own vision of a Hollywood musical, and in 1951, he earned the chance with "An American in Paris." A stunning, Impressionistic effort that crystallized his style of dance - a combination of ballet, tap and modern dance captured in fluid, always moving camerawork and editing - "Paris," which featured a 17-minute dream ballet sequence, won six Oscars, including Best Picture and an honorary Oscar to Kelly for his contributions to musicals and choreography. Its reputation as Kelly's best film effort has been largely eclipsed by its follow-up, the effervescent "Singin' in the Rain" (1952), the most streamlined union of comedy, music and romance conceived by Kelly and co-director Donen, and featuring what is arguably one of the most iconic screen moments in the title sequence. But the film was not as successful with critics and audiences as its predecessor, and it would mark the beginning of the end of Kelly's tenure with MGM and as its leading purveyor of screen musicals. Audiences' interests in musicals had begun to wane, and Kelly's efforts were growing increasingly more artistic in their scope: the ballet-fueled "Invitation to the Dance" (1956) was an expensive flop, and "Brigadoon" (1954) and "It's Always Fair Weather" (1956) were hampered by studio interference and disinterest. He would complete one last musical for MGM, "Les Girls" (1957), before focusing his attention behind the camera. He could still be called upon to appear on screen - most notably in a dramatic turn as acerbic reporter Hornbeck in the 1960 film version of "Inherit the Wind," and he was memorable in Jacques Demy's "Les Demoiselles de Rochefort" (1967), which paid tribute to Kelly's MGM work - but he found more rewarding work as a producer/director for television. He earned an Emmy nomination for a 1958 episode of "Omnibus" (CBS/NBC/ABC, 1952-1961) in which he worked with sports greats like Mickey Mantle and Sugar Ray Robinson, and won the Emmy for Outstanding Children's Programming with a 1967 production of "Jack and the Beanstalk" which, like "Anchors Aweigh," skillfully integrated live action and animation. One of his biggest theatrical successes of the period was a comedy, "A Guide for the Married Man" (1967), which gave Kelly the clout to direct a film version of "Hello, Dolly!" (1969). Though popular, and the recipient of three Oscars, the film was so expensive that it failed to recoup its massive costs. Kelly's final projects were a mixed bag - the Western comedy "The Cheyenne Social Club" (1970) was a flop, but his participation in the MGM compilation film "That's Entertainment!" (1974), which included several song and dance duets with a 77-year-old Fred Astaire, received glowing reviews. He would appear in a handful of features and television episodes, most of which hinged on his screen image - the surreal musical "Xanadu" (1980) showed that he could still carry out dance sequences - and numerous tributes, including Kennedy Center Honors in 1982. a Health issues, including a stroke in 1994, would bring to a close his storied career, and after a second stroke in 1995 left him impaired, Kelly would die in his home in Beverly Hills, California, on February 2, 1996 at the age of 83. Quincy Jones paid tribute to Kelly at the Academy Awards that year with Savion Glover's rendition of Kelly's dance from "Singin' in the Rain."

Photos

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

Movies

Credit
100% 82% That's Entertainment! III Himself (Character) $150.8K 1994
No Score Yet 73% That's Dancing! Himself (Character),
Executive Producer
- 1985
27% 58% Xanadu Danny McGuire (Character) - 1980
17% 14% Viva Knievel! Will Atkins (Character) - 1977
67% 79% That's Entertainment, Part 2 Narrator,
Director
- 1976
100% 85% That's Entertainment! Himself (Character) - 1974
No Score Yet 62% Forty Carats Billy Boylan (Character) - 1973
No Score Yet 68% The Cheyenne Social Club Director,
Producer
- 1970
43% 76% Hello, Dolly! Director - 1969
98% 84% The Young Girls of Rochefort Andy Miller (Character) $88.5K 1967
44% 68% A Guide for the Married Man Director - 1967
22% 66% What a Way to Go! Pinky Benson (Character) - 1964
No Score Yet 87% Gigot Director - 1962
69% 60% Let's Make Love Himself (Character) - 1960
92% 91% Inherit the Wind E. K. Hornbeck (Character) - 1960
No Score Yet 27% The Tunnel of Love Director - 1958
No Score Yet 55% Marjorie Morningstar Noel Airman (Character) - 1958
No Score Yet 72% Invitation to the Dance Host/Pierrot/The Marine/Sinbad (Character),
Director,
Screenwriter
- 1957
No Score Yet 17% The Happy Road Michael J. Andrews (Character),
Director,
Producer
- 1957
100% 71% Les Girls Barry Nichols (Character) - 1957
88% 75% It's Always Fair Weather Ted Riley (Character),
Director
- 1955
85% 72% Brigadoon Tommy Albright (Character) - 1954
No Score Yet No Score Yet Crest of the Wave Lt. `'Brad'` Bradville (Character) - 1954
100% 95% Singin' in the Rain Don Lockwood (Character),
Director
$23.9K 1952
No Score Yet 57% The Devil Makes Three Capt. Jeff Eliot (Character) - 1952
No Score Yet 23% Love Is Better Than Ever Himself (Character) - 1952
No Score Yet 10% It's a Big Country Unknown (Character) - 1951
96% 79% An American in Paris Jerry Mulligan (Character) - 1951
No Score Yet 32% The Black Hand Giovanni E. "Johnny" Columbo (Character) - 1950
100% 83% Summer Stock Joe D. Ross (Character) - 1950
93% 70% Take Me Out to the Ball Game Eddie O'Brien (Character) - 1949
93% 83% On the Town Gabey (Character),
Director
- 1949
20% 63% Words and Music Himself (Character) - 1948
73% 75% The Pirate Serafin (Character) - 1948
78% 74% The Three Musketeers D'Artagnan (Character) - 1948
No Score Yet 53% Living in a Big Way Leo Gogarty (Character) - 1947
70% 58% Ziegfeld Follies Gentleman in 'The Babbit and the Bromide' (Character) - 1946
62% 79% Anchors Aweigh Joseph Brady (Character) - 1945
75% 51% Christmas Holiday Robert Manette (Character) - 1944
95% 70% Cover Girl Danny McGuire (Character) - 1944
No Score Yet 53% The Cross of Lorraine Victor (Character) - 1944
No Score Yet 47% Du Barry Was a Lady Alec Howe/Black Arrow (Character) - 1943
No Score Yet 11% Pilot No. 5 Vito S. Alessandro (Character) - 1943
No Score Yet 56% Thousands Cheer Private Eddie Marsh (Character) - 1943
100% 83% For Me and My Gal Harry Palmer (Character) - 1942

TV

Credit
No Score Yet 62% Family Guy Joseph Brady (archive footage) (Guest Voice) 2007
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Danny Kaye Show Guest 1963

QUOTES FROM Gene Kelly CHARACTERS

Hornbeck says: Mr. Brady, it is the duty of a newspaper to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

Hornbeck says: Sit down, Samson, you’re about to get a haircut.

Hornbeck says: Sit down, Samson, you're about to get a haircut.

Henry Drummond says: I don’t swear for the hell of it. Language is a poor enough means of communication. We’ve got to use all the words we’ve got. Besides, there are damn few words anybody understands.

Henry Drummond says: I don't swear for the hell of it. Language is a poor enough means of communication. We've got to use all the words we've got. Besides, there are damn few words anybody understands.

Matthew Harrison Brady says: I have been to their cities and I have seen the altars upon which they sacrifice the futures of their children to the gods of science. And what are their rewards? Confusion and self-destruction. New ways to kill each other in wars. I tell you gentlemen the way of science is the way of darkness.

Hornbeck says: Mr. Brady, it is the duty of a newspaper to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

Hornbeck says: Sit down, Samson, you’re about to get a haircut.

Hornbeck says: Sit down, Samson, you're about to get a haircut.

Henry Drummond says: I don’t swear for the hell of it. Language is a poor enough means of communication. We’ve got to use all the words we’ve got. Besides, there are damn few words anybody understands.

Henry Drummond says: I don't swear for the hell of it. Language is a poor enough means of communication. We've got to use all the words we've got. Besides, there are damn few words anybody understands.

Hornbeck says: Mr. Brady, it is the duty of a newspaper to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

Hornbeck says: Sit down, Samson, you’re about to get a haircut.

Hornbeck says: Sit down, Samson, you're about to get a haircut.

Hornbeck says: Mr. Brady, it is the duty of a newspaper to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

Henry Drummond says: An idea is a greater monument than a cathedral. And the advance of man’s knowledge is a greater miracle than all the sticks turned to snakes or the parting of the waters.

Henry Drummond says: An idea is a greater monument than a cathedral. And the advance of man's knowledge is a greater miracle than all the sticks turned to snakes or the parting of the waters.

Matthew Harrison Brady says: I do not think about things I don't think about.

Henry Drummond says: Do you ever think about things that you do think about?

Henry Drummond says: Suppose God whispered into a Bertram Cate’s ear that an un-Brady thought could still be holy? Must men go to jail because they find themselves at odds with a self-appointed prophet?

Henry Drummond says: Suppose God whispered into a Bertram Cate's ear that an un-Brady thought could still be holy? Must men go to jail because they find themselves at odds with a self-appointed prophet?

Hornbeck says: Well, We’re growing a strange crop of agnostics this year.

Hornbeck says: Well, We're growing a strange crop of agnostics this year.

Don Lockwood says: You've seen them once, you've seen them all.

D'Artagnan says: Well, Athos, in a matter of hours we'll be on the road to Spain with a price on our heads. Will we live to see France again?

Robert Athos says: Will we live to see Spain?

D'Artagnan says: I kissed the Queen's hand!

Constance Bonacieux says: Have you no higher ambitions?

Don Lockwood says: Call me a cab.

Cosmo Brown says: Okay, you're a cab.

Don Lockwood says: "Dignity. Always dignity."

Don Lockwood says: Dignity. Always dignity.

D'Artagnan says: Porthos, when did a wound ever come between you and a fight?

Porthos says: [lying on his stomach] Well, unfortunately the position of this one comes between me and my horse.

Tommy Albright says: [miserable] Why do you have to *lose* something, to find out what it *really* means?

Don Lockwood says: dignity, always dignity

Don Lockwood says: Dignity. Always dignity.