Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Happy Birthday: Cyd Charisse!
Cyd Charisse (March 8, 1922 – June 17, 2008). Around the time of the outbreak of World War II, David Lichine offered her a dancing role in, Something to Shout About. This brought her to the attention of choreographer Robert Alton, who had also discovered Gene Kelly and soon she became the resident MGM ballet dancer.
Charisse, is best known for her on-screen pairings with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. She first performed with Astaire in a wonderful routine in the film, Ziegfeld Follies. Her next performance with him was in the film, The Band Wagon (1953), where she danced with Astaire in the acclaimed "Dancing in the Dark".
Another early role cast her opposite Judy Garland in the film, The Harvey Girls(1946). Film based on a 1942 novel by Samuel Hopkins Adams, about Fred Harveys famous restaurants. Directed by George Sidney. It won an Academy Award for Best Song for "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe. "written by Johnny Mercer and Harry Warren.
Gene Kelly chose Charisse, to dance with him in "Broadway Melody" ballet finale from, Singin' in the Rain (1952). She also she co-starred with Kelly in the musical film, Brigadoon(1954). She again performed with Kelly in his musical, It's Always Fair Weather (1956).
She rejoined Astaire in the film, Silk Stockings(1957), a musical remake of 1939's Ninotchka, with Charisse taking over Greta Garbo's role. In his autobiography, Astaire paid tribute to Charisse, calling her "beautiful dynamite" and writing: "That Cyd! When you've danced with her you stay danced with."
I also loved it when she danced with Ricardo Montalban, in the films: On An Island With You and Fiesta. A couple of my favorite Esther Williams films.
After the decline of the Hollywood musicals, Charisse continued to perform in film and TV productions through the 1960s-1990s. She had a supporting role in the film, "Something's Got To Give", the unfinished film of Marilyn Monroe.
Please click here to read more about Cyd Charisse and view her dance videos.