While classic Hollywood had its fair share of acting, singing and dancing proteges, few were as famous and beloved as Gene Kelly.
Not only was his dancing fun and athletic, not only did he have the voice of an angel, but he wasn’t bad to look at either! Which is why we’re throwing it back to Mr. Kelly this Thursday.
So how did a boy from Pittsburgh becomes Hollywood’s hottest dancer?
Well for starters, his mother enrolled him dance classes at age 8. Gene wasn’t into it though, and wouldn’t go back to it again until around 15. After that, things started picking up. Despite the fact that he was getting a law degree, Gene left to pursue a career as a dance teacher and choreographer. He made is Broadway debut in 1938′s Leave It To Me, but really caught peoples’ eyes in The Time of Your Life in 1939, when he danced to his own choreography.
In the 1941 he had the starring role in Pal Joey and by 1942 he was off to Hollywood under a contract for MGM. Gene had a number of memorable dance numbers during those years including a mirror dance with himself in 1944′s Cover Girl and an adorable routine with the animated Jerry Mouse in 1945′s Anchors Aweigh.
After that, Gene really took control of his own movies. The early 1950s were especially good as his two biggest hits An American in Paris and Singin’ in the Rain hit the screen in 1951 and 1952, respectively. He also won an honorary Oscar in 1952 for his immense talent. Once the American musical began to decline though, Gene returned to the stage.
But he was back soon enough directing movies like Hello Dolly! and co-starring in the cult hit Xanadu. His final film was the cartoon musical Cats Don’t Dance. Sadly, Gene passed away in 1996. So for a perfectly marvelous Gene night, I recommend Singin’ in the Rain, On The Town and An American in Paris. Or you could get lost down the rabbit hole of Gene Kelly videos on YouTube. Here, let me start you off.