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August 23

Gene Kelly

In his films, this 1982 Kennedy Center Honoree took turns dancing with a mop, an animated mouse (Jerry, not Mickey!), and other atypical partners.

Photo by John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images.

1912: Dancing Up a Storm
Gene Kelly is born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Dancer, actor, choreographer, boyishly handsome good guy—that was Gene Kelly, the fellow who bought a one-way ticket to New York City when he was a young man and soon landed a Broadway lead.

Kelly pushed for Hollywood to make more musicals and wound up dominating the musical revival in the 1940s and 50s. In timeless movies like Singin’ in the Rain and An American in Paris, Kelly’s elegant dancing stole the show.

He made it look so easy, yet his dancing demanded great strength, technical skill, and expression. In his choreography and in his performances, he melded everything from classical ballet to jazz to athletic prowess to tap dancing. And by the way, he could sing, too.
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