Name at birth: Eugene Curran Kelly
Screen legend Gene Kelly is best known for dancing through movie musicals of the 1940s and '50s, especially An American in Paris (1951) and Singin' in the Rain (1952). Gene Kelly got his start on Broadway in the late 1930s, first as a dancer, then as a choreographer and actor. His star turn in My Pal Joey led to a Hollywood contract, and he first appeared in 1942's For Me and My Gal (opposite Judy Garland. Over the next decade he became a major star, thanks especially to musicals: Anchors Aweigh (1945, famous for his scene dancing with Jerry, the cartoon mouse from Tom and Jerry); Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949); and three movies he made with director Stanley Donen, On the Town (1949), Singin' in the Rain (1952) and It's Always Fair Weather (1955). Buoyant and athletic, Kelly became the screen's most famous dancer since Fred Astaire. An ambitious perfectionist who produced, choreographed, acted and directed, Gene Kelly won a special Oscar in 1951. Although his career after the mid-1950s fizzled and he never made much of a mark as a dramatic actor, Kelly's place in cinema history is secure because of the innovations he brought to choreography.
Gene Kelly was given directing credit for the movies he made with Stanley Donen, but most critics agree his main contribution was with choreography… Gene Kelly’s sometime career as a film director included the movies Invitation to the Dance (1956), Hello Dolly! (1969, starring Barbra Streisand) and The Cheyenne Social Club (1970, starring James Stewart and Henry Fonda)… Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen had a bitter falling out after 1955’s It’s Always Fair Weather; Kelly ended up marrying Donen’s ex-wife, Jeanne Coyne, in 1960.