Monday, August 23, 2010
Happy Birthday: Gene Kelly!
One of my favorite, dancers, actors, singers, film directors and producers, and choreographers. Gene Kelly was known for his energetic and athletic dancing style, his good looks and the characters that he played.
Although he is best known for his performance in Singin' in the Rain(1952), a musical with Debbie Reynolds, Donald O'Connor, and Jean Hagen. Directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, with Kelly also providing the choreography. It shows a comic view of Hollywood, and its transition from silent films to "talkies." It is believed to be one of the best musicals ever made.
Gene Kelly, was a huge force in musical films from the mid 1940s into the late 1950s. He is credited with almost single-handedly making the ballet form acceptable to film audiences.
Kelly received an Academy Honorary Award in 1952 for his career achievements. He later received lifetime achievement awards in the Kennedy Center Honors, and from the Screen Actors Guild and American Film Institute; in 1999, the American Film Institute also numbered him 15th in their Greatest Male Stars of All Time list.
During World War II he was a sailor stationed at the U S Naval Photographic Center in Anacostia, DC (where the documentary "Victory at Sea" (1952) was later assembled for NBC-TV). He starred in several Navy films while on active duty there and in "civilian" films while on leave.
He and his younger brother Fred Kelly performed 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 replaced by brother Fred, who took it on the road and won a Donaldson award.