65 Facts About Gene Kelly


Eugene Curran Kelly was an American dancer, actor, singer, director, and choreographer.


Gene Kelly was known for his energetic and athletic dancing style and sought to create a new form of American dance accessible to the general public, which he called "dance for the common man".


Gene Kelly starred in, choreographed, and co-directed with Stanley Donen some of the most well-regarded musical films of the 1940s and 1950s.


Gene Kelly made his film debut in For Me and My Gal with Judy Garland, with whom he appeared in The Pirate and Summer Stock.


Gene Kelly appeared in the dramas Black Hand and Inherit the Wind, for which he received critical praise.


Gene Kelly later received lifetime achievement awards in the Kennedy Center Honors and from the Screen Actors Guild and American Film Institute.


Gene Kelly was born in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh.


Gene Kelly was the third son of James Patrick Joseph Kelly, a phonograph salesman, and his wife, Harriet Catherine Curran.


Gene Kelly's father was born in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, to an Irish Canadian family.


Gene Kelly's maternal grandfather was an immigrant from Derry, Ireland, and his maternal grandmother was of German ancestry.


When he was eight, Gene Kelly's mother enrolled him and his brother James in dance classes.


Gene Kelly attended St Raphael Elementary School in the Morningside neighborhood of Pittsburgh and graduated from Peabody High School at age 16.


Gene Kelly entered the Pennsylvania State College as a journalism major, but after the 1929 crash he left school and found work in order to help his family financially.


Gene Kelly created dance routines with his younger brother Fred to earn prize money in local talent contests.


In 1931, Gene Kelly enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh to study economics, joining the Theta Kappa Phi fraternity.


Gene Kelly became involved in the university's Cap and Gown Club, which staged original musical productions.


Gene Kelly was admitted to the University of Pittsburgh Law School.


Gene Kelly's family opened a dance studio in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh.


Gene Kelly served as a teacher at the studio during his undergraduate and law-student years at Pitt.


The venture proved a success, Gene Kelly being retained for seven years until his departure for New York.


Gene Kelly eventually decided to pursue a career as a dance teacher and full-time entertainer, so he dropped out of law school after two months.


Gene Kelly returned to Pittsburgh, to his family home at 7514 Kensington Street, in 1940, and worked as a theatrical actor.


Gene Kelly appeared in six of the sketches, one of which, La cumparsita, became the basis of an extended Spanish number in the film Anchors Aweigh eight years later.


Gene Kelly had been hired by Robert Alton, who had staged a show at the Pittsburgh Playhouse where he was impressed by Kelly's teaching skills.


Gene Kelly began dating a cast member, Betsy Blair, and they got married on October 16,1941.


Gene Kelly achieved a significant breakthrough as a dancer on film when MGM lent him to Columbia to work with Rita Hayworth in Cover Girl, a film that foreshadowed the best of his future work.


Gene Kelly created a memorable routine dancing to his own reflection.


Gene Kelly was deferred from the draft in 1940 by the US Selective Service System at the request of his employers, but was classified 1-A, eligible for induction, in October 1944 after an appeal to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt by the head of the Selective Service in New York City.


Gene Kelly was inducted into the armed forces a month later, and at his request he was assigned to the US Navy.


Gene Kelly served in the US Naval Air Service and was commissioned as lieutenant, junior grade.


Gene Kelly was stationed in the Photographic Section, Washington DC, where he was involved in writing and directing a range of documentaries, and this stimulated his interest in the production side of filmmaking.


Gene Kelly was due to play the male lead opposite Garland in Easter Parade, but broke his ankle playing volleyball.


Gene Kelly withdrew from the film and persuaded Fred Astaire to come out of retirement to replace him.


Stanley Donen, brought to Hollywood by Gene Kelly to be his assistant choreographer, received co-director credit for On the Town.


Gene Kelly went much further than before in introducing modern ballet into his dance sequences, going so far in the "Day in New York" routine as to substitute four leading ballet specialists for Sinatra, Munshin, Garrett, and Miller.


Gene Kelly asked the studio for a straight acting role and he took the lead role in the early the Mafia melodrama Black Hand.


Gene Kelly is easygoing as long as you know exactly what you are doing when you're working with him.


Gene Kelly wasn't awed by anybody, and he had a good record of getting what he wanted.


The film marked the debut of 19-year-old ballerina Leslie Caron, whom Gene Kelly had spotted in Paris and brought to Hollywood.


At the peak of his creative powers, Gene Kelly made what in retrospect some see as a career mistake.


Invitation to the Dance, a pet project of Gene Kelly's to bring modern ballet to mainstream film audiences.


When Gene Kelly returned to Hollywood in 1953, the film musical was beginning to feel the pressures from television, and MGM cut the budget for his next picture Brigadoon, with Cyd Charisse, forcing him to make the film on studio backlots instead of on location in Scotland.


Gene Kelly negotiated an exit to his contract that involved making three further pictures for MGM.


The first of these, It's Always Fair Weather, co-directed with Donen, was a musical satire on television and advertising, and includes his roller-skate dance routine to I Like Myself, and a dance trio with Michael Kidd and Dan Dailey that Gene Kelly used to experiment with the widescreen possibilities of Cinemascope.


In 1958, Gene Kelly directed Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical play Flower Drum Song.


Gene Kelly continued to make some film appearances, such as Hornbeck in the Hollywood production of Inherit the Wind and as himself in Let's Make Love.


Gene Kelly was asked to direct the film version of The Sound of Music, which had already been turned down by Stanley Donen.


Gene Kelly appeared frequently on television shows during the 1960s, including Going My Way, which was based on the 1944 film of the same name.


In 1963, Gene Kelly joined Universal Pictures for a two-year stint.


Gene Kelly directed veteran actors James Stewart and Henry Fonda in the comedy Western The Cheyenne Social Club, which performed poorly at the box office.


Gene Kelly directed and co-starred with his friend Fred Astaire in the sequel That's Entertainment, Part II.


Gene Kelly was a guest on the 1975 television special starring Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, "Our Love Is Here to Stay," appearing with his son, Tim, and daughter, Bridget.


Gene Kelly choreographed his own movement, along with that of the ensemble, with the assistance of Jeanne Coyne, Stanley Donen, Carol Haney, and Alex Romero.


Gene Kelly experimented with lighting, camera techniques, and special effects to achieve true integration of dance with film, and was one of the first to use split screens, double images, and live action with animation, and is credited as the person who made the ballet form commercially acceptable to film audiences.


Gene Kelly was briefly taught by Frank Harrington, an African-American tap specialist from New York.


Gene Kelly railed against what he saw as the widespread effeminacy in male dancing, which, in his opinion, "tragically" stigmatized the genre, alienating boys from entering the field:.


Gene Kelly sought to break from the class-conscious conventions of the 1930s and early 40s, when top hat and tails or tuxedos were the norm, by dancing in casual or everyday work clothes, so as to make his dancing more relevant to the cinema-going public.


Gene Kelly's papers are housed at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University.


Late in life, Gene Kelly was awarded Irish citizenship under Ireland's Citizenship by Foreign Birth program.


In 1960, Gene Kelly married his choreographic assistant Jeanne Coyne, who had previously been married to Stanley Donen between 1948 and 1951.


Gene Kelly 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.


Gene Kelly was raised as a Roman Catholic and was a member of the Good Shepherd Parish and the Catholic Motion Picture Guild in Beverly Hills, California.


Gene Kelly's health declined steadily in the late 1980s and early 1990s.


Gene Kelly's body was cremated without a funeral or memorial service.


Gene Kelly always choreographed his own dance routines and often the dance routines of others and used assistants.