Thursday, August 23, 2012

Happy 100th Birthday Gene Kelly, R.I.P. (8/23/1912 - 2/2/1996)


Gene Kelly, son of James Patrick Joseph Kelly. Known for his energetic and athletic dancing style, his good looks and the likeable characters that he played on screen. Indeed, a good looking and talented man.

The American Film Institute named Gene Kelly #15 on its list of the Greatest Male Stars of All Time. This scene from Singing in the Rain is a film classic.

Here's a great shot from that classic scene:

Here's another great Gene Kelly performance, from the movie Summer Stock. A bare floor, some newspaper, and magic:

Gene Kelly was a progressive who believed in helping the poor and standing up for the rights of citizens. In 1947, he was part of the Committee for the First Amendment, a delegation from Hollywood which flew to Washington D.C. to protest the hearings of the House Unamerican Activities Committee (HUAC).

Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra appeared in three films together, which was a great opportunity for singing, dancing and some fun acting. In this scene from On The Town, they perform the famous song "New York New York" (it's a fabulous town, the Bronx is up and the Battery's down):   
Gene Kelly did serve in the Navy during World War II, but he did not serve overseas.  Because of his movie star talent, he was thought to be more valuable at home boosting morale and selling war bonds.  The public got used to seeing Kelly in a navy uniform in his movies, and he served in the Navy in real life.

An American in Paris is considered by many to be a perfect film. Gene Kelly discovered his co-star Leslie Caron in Paris, and brought her to the U.S. to be in the film. Kelly did most of the choreography for all his films, but the dance scenes in this one are particularly beautiful.

An American in Paris is a story about a young American artist (Gene Kelly) who meets a young beautiful Parisian (Leslie Caron) and falls in love. The music is is from George Gershwin's masterpiece of the same name. In this scene Kelly sings and dances to Gershwin's song "I Got Rhythm":  

Happy Birthday Gene Kelly, and thanks for the dance.

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