Gene Kelly

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Gene Kelly
Eugene Curran Kelly
BirthplacePittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Actor, dancer, singer, director, producer, choreographer
EducationPeabody High School

Kelly, Gene,

1912–96, American dancer, choreographer, movie actor, and director, b. Pittsburgh as Eugene Curran Kelly. Kelly started dancing on Broadway in 1938 and first gained fame in the title role of the Broadway musical Pal Joey (1940). He moved to Hollywood in 1941 and soon starred in his first film, For Me and My Gal (1942). His best-known work was in motion pictures, where he excelled in an inventive combination of camera and dance techniques in such films as On the Town (1949), An American in Paris (1951; Academy Award), Singin' in the Rain (1952)—which contains his single most famous performance—and Invitation to the Dance (1956). A skillful, expressive dancer with a joyfully muscular yet lyrical style, he also sang in a thin yet appealing voice. Among Kelly's other film musicals were Anchors Aweigh (1945), Take Me Out to the Ballgame (1949), Brigadoon (1954), and Les Girls (1957). He also played dramatic film roles, as in Inherit the Wind (1960), and directed several movies, including The Happy Road (1950) and Hello Dolly (1969).


See biographies by C. Hirschhorn (1975), A. Yudkoff (1999), and C. and S. Brideson (2017).

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Kelly, (Eugene Curran) Gene

(1912–  ) movie actor, dancer, director, choreographer; born in Pittsburgh, Pa. A dance instructor and manual worker with a degree in economics, he became a Broadway chorus boy before he starred in Pal Joey (1939). He made his film debut in For Me and My Gal (1942); as an athletic dancer with a breezy disposition, he went on to star in several comedies and dramas, but made his irrepressible mark in musicals such as Singin' in the Rain (1952). The director of Hello Dolly! (1969), he was given an honorary Oscar (1951).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.