Gene Kelly Remembered On What Would Be His 100th Birthday
Gene Kelly always saw himself making a great shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but, as America celebrates what would be his 100th birthday, he is remembered for doing a pretty good job in his back-up career.
Kelly, the film actor and director, is remembered for having revolutionized the film musical with his bold solo dancing, mass movement, and offbeat camera angles, A-E Network’s Biography recalls. He also made what many consider to be the best dance film ever made in Singin’ in the Rain.
Gene Kelly was born August 23, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When he was young, he didn’t think about being a dancer, Biography reported.
“I didn’t want to be a dancer,” said Kelly, who died in 1996. “What I really wanted to be was shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pittsburgh Pirates lost a hell of a shortstop.”
But he drifted into dancing, taking lessons before eventually teaching at a local studio.
Gene Kelly’s athleticism shined through, leading him into dance and acting. In the 1930s, he made his debut on Broadway with small roles in Leave It to Me! and One For the Money. His 1940 performance in the popular musical comedy Pal Joey caught the attention of MGM executive Louis B. Mayer, who offered Gene Kelly a movie contract with his studio.
Kelly became king of the musicals in the 1940s and 50s, starring on the screen as he also worked behind the scenes to come up with ground-breaking choreography and direction.
Gene Kelly was known for having his own unique dancing style, often performing in regular clothes in common settings.
“All of my dancing came out of the idea of the common man,” Kelly once explained.
Though he was often compared to the other iconic dancer from the era, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly’s unique style shined through, wrote Sarah Crompton of the Daily Telegraph.
“Dancer lovers will always argue who was the best, pitting Astaire’s perfectionist elegance, his long tapering line, against Kelly’s punchy bravura. But ironically it was the man who looked more like the average bloke in the street who was both ballet-trained and who pushed the possibilities of screen dance into directions Astaire would never dream of.”
Americans audiences will have a chance to remember Gene Kelly and his influence. TCM is planning an evening-long tribute to Kelly’s movies.