Happy Birthday, Gene!
On this day in 1912, the inimitable Gene Kelly was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania into a family of performers. As a child Kelly performed with his siblings Jay, Jim, Louise, and Fred on the amateur vaudeville circuit, and in 1932, opened a dance studio in Pittsburgh while attending the University. He moved to New York in 1938, and starred in Pal Joey on Broadway. This led to a contract with MGM and, well, the rest is history. Though Kelly died in 1996, he continues to inspire countless dancers and choreographers who revere his charm, wit, and unmistakably smooth style.
Kelly received a 1958 Dance Magazine Award along with ballet icons Alicia Alonso and Igor Youskevitch. Here they are at the awards ceremony.
On “set” for a CBS special
Gene Kelly in New York, New York, which aired Feburary 14, 1966. Dance Magazine was on location with Kelly for the filming, and below, he appears with the show’s guest stars in Grand Central Station.
From left: Tommy Steele, Gower Champion, Damita Jo, Kelly, and Woody Allen.
Photos by CBC.TV, DM Archives
As Private Eddie Marsh in the 1943 film,
Thousands Cheer. If you haven’t seen him tear up the floor in this number, click here now! Keep watching—he really gets going.
MGM, DM Archives
Have some extra time this afternoon? Watch Kelly’s guest appearance on The Muppet Show in 1980. The shtick: Kelly will not perform because he is a guest. Fast forward to 6:30 to watch Kelly and Kermit tap dance, and then to 19:30, when Kelly “refuses” to reprise “Singin’ in the Rain.”
Couldn’t resist. Kelly in
Singin’ in the Rain, 1952.
MGM, DM Archives