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Gene Kelly

Gene Kelly

Gene Kelly was an American dancer, actor, singer, director, producer, and choreographer. Kelly was a virtuoso dancer, known for his energetic and athletic dancing style, his good looks and the likable characters that he played on screen. He is probably best known today for his performance in Singin' in the Rain. In 1999, the American Film Institute named Kelly among the Greatest Male Stars of All Time, ranking at No. 15.

Gene was the third son of James Kelly, a phonograph salesman, and Harriet Curran, who were both children of Irish Roman Catholic immigrants. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and graduated from Peabody High School in 1929. In 1933 he graduated from the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), where he joined the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity and earned a bachelor's degree in Economics. In 1930, his family started a dance studio on Munhall Road in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. In 1932, it was renamed The Gene Kelly Studio of the Dance. A second location was opened in Johnstown, Pennsylvania in 1933. While still an undergraduate student and later as a student at Pitt's School of Law, Gene was a teacher at the dance studio. Eventually, though, he decided to pursue his entertainment career full-time and so dropped out of law school and moved to New York City in 1938. Early in his Broadway career, he appeared in Cole Porter's Leave It To Me as an Eskimo who supports Mary Martin while she sings My Heart Belongs to Daddy. In 1940, he was given the leading role in Rodgers and Hart's Pal Joey, which brought him to national attention. During this period he also choreographed several hit plays, including the 1941 production of Best Foot Forward.

Kelly's first motion picture was For Me and My Gal (1942) with Judy Garland. He went on to make a number of classic musicals, including An American in Paris (1951) and Singin' in the Rain (1952). Kelly was married to Betsy Blair for 16 years (1941 - 1957) and they had one child together. He was married to Jeanne Coyne from 1960 till her death in 1973 and they had two children together. He was married to Patricia Ward from 1990 till his death in 1996.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2007.

Gene Kelly Facts

Birth NameEugene Curran Kelly
BirthdayAugust 23, 1912
BirthplacePittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Date of deathFebruary 2, 1996 (age 83)
Height5' 7" (1m70)  How tall is Gene Kelly compared to you?
Awards1989 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Life Achievement Award
1981 Golden Globe Awards: Cecil B. DeMille Award

Selected Filmography

The Ringer
Field of Dreams
Friday Night Lights
Singin' in the Rain
Meet Joe Black
TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: American Musicals
An American In Paris
The Three Musketeers
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