Gene Kelly

Eugene Curran "Gene" KellyEugene Curran “Gene” Kelly (August 23, 1912 – February 2, 1996) was an American dancer, actor, singer, film director and producer, and choreographer.
A major exponent of 20th century filmed dance, Kelly was known for his energetic and athletic dancing style, his good looks and the likeable characters that he played on screen. Although he is probably best known today for his performance in Singin’ in the Rain, he was a dominant force in Hollywood musical films from the mid 1940s until the demise of this form in the late 1950s. His many innovations transformed the Hollywood musical film, and he is credited with almost singlehandedly making the ballet form commercially acceptable to film audiences.
Kelly was the recipient of an Academy Honorary Award in 1952 for his career achievements. He later received lifetime achievement awards in the Kennedy Center Honors, and from the Screen Actors Guild and American Film Institute; in 1999, the American Film Institute also numbered him 15th in their Greatest Male Stars of All Time list.
Kelly was married to Betsy Blair for 15 years (1941–1957) and they had one child, Kerry. Blair divorced Kelly in 1957. In 1960, Kelly married his choreographic assistant Jeanne Coyne, who had divorced Stanley Donen in 1949 after a brief marriage. He remained married to Coyne from 1Gene Kelly960 until her death in 1973 and they had two children, Bridget and Tim. He was married to Patricia Ward from 1990 until his death in 1996.
Gene Kelly was a lifelong Democratic Party supporter with strong progressive convictions, which occasionally created difficulty for him as his period of greatest prominence coincided with the McCarthy era in the U.S. In 1947, he was part of the Committee for the First Amendment, the Hollywood delegation which flew to Washington to protest at the first official hearings by the House Committee on Un-American Activities. His first wife, Betsy Blair, was suspected of being a Communist sympathizer and when MGM, who had offered Blair a part in Marty (1955), were considering withdrawing her under pressure from the American Legion, Kelly successfully threatened MGM with a pullout from It’s Always Fair Weather unless his wife was restored to the part. He used his position on the board of directors of the Writers Guild of America, West on a number of occasions to mediate disputes between unions and the Hollywood studios, and although he was frequently accused by some on the right of championing the unions, he was valued by the studios as an effective mediator.
A gregarious and highly articulate individual, he retained a lifelong passion for sports and relished competition. He was known as a big fan of the New York Yankees. With his first wife, he organized weekly parties at their Beverly Hills home which were renowned for an intensely competitive and physical version of charades, known as “The Game”.