Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Week of Musicals: Gene Kelly

Welcome to Gene Kelly Day!

I'm super excited to be here again with y'all...and spotlighting one of my all-time favorite actors too! Here we go. :)

Eugene Curran Kelly, to begin with, is rarely if ever called by that long name. He was born around Pittsburgh on August 23, 1912, as the third son in his family. When he was eight, his mother enrolled him in dance classes -- which he hated. He avoided dance until he was about 15, when he took it up again. In 1931, he enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh, studying economics. Yes, really!

In the next few years, Gene Kelly attempted to become a choreographer, but was unable to find work. Finally, in 1939, he had a breakthrough with the Broadway play The Time of Your Life, in which he danced. In 1942, he was in his first motion picture, which happened to be with Judy Garland: For Me and My Gal. 

In the coming years, he worked in Cover Girl and Anchors Aweigh. Finally, in 1946, he starred in The Pirate, again with Judy Garland. (note: this one's at the top of my to-see list!)

Three Musketeers came not much later. Summer Stock was in 1950 -- again with Judy Garland, her last film. Then in 1951, one of his more popular films came out -- An American in Paris. 

A year later, Gene Kelly's most popular film (and best-remembered) debuted: Singin' in the Rain. 

My favorite Gene Kelly movie, Brigadoon, was in 1954.

Now, back up to 1941...when he married his wife, Betsy Blair. They had one child, Terry, and divorced in 1957. In 1960, he married Jeanne Coyne, who died in 1973. They had two children, Bridget and Tim. Finally, he married Patricia Ward, and stayed married to her until his death. Gene had strokes in 1994 and 1995, before dying in his sleep on February 2, 1996.

To read my Spotlight on Gene Kelly, click here

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