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"When most people hear the name Gene Kelly, if they've even heard of him at all, they will likely think of the man who will forever be immortalized as that guy who sang and danced in the rain, but there is more to "that guy". Sure, he danced as he s plashed in puddles, but he also choreographed exactly how he would splash in them, he directed exactly how the camera would zoom in his face as he did so, and of course he had to act exactly as though he was really enjoying it, when it was rumored that he was suffering from a high fever at the tie. Obviously, Gene Kelly was more than simply "that guy who sang in the rain". (Timothy Clayton)
Timothy Clayton was not the only man who thought this of Gene Kelly. Throughout history we have seen film go through so many different changes. Each change is a result of one person's effort and hard work. The people that we see change many things in the film industry are film makers. There are thousands of film makers but when we look at the impact that one person has made in film, you look at character and quality. A great man to look at would be Gene Kelly.
Gene Kelly was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on August 23,1912. Eugene Curran Kelly was born to James and Harriett Kelly. He was the third of five children: Jay, Jim, Gene, Louis, and Fred, but Gene was the only child who was outstanding in his art studies. He was always outstanding and put in extra effort in all that he did, which is possibly what made him so successful.
As a young child, Gene Kelly, preferred sports to dancing. He love participating in such things: gymnastics, ince hockey, swimming, football, and even baseball. Although many young boys have a desire to become a firefighter, Gene's passion was to become a professional baseball player. He wanted to be the pitcher for the Pittsburgh Prates. Even though he disliked dancing, Gene's athletic background helped him very much in the "dancing scene".
Gene and his brother, Fred, had dancing lessons and were constantly made fun of for it. The athleticism played a huge role in helping Gene and his brother win fights they would encounter on their way home from these dancing lessons.
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"Gene Kelly And His Great Visual Stylings." 123HelpMe.com. 22 Apr 2019
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As Gene grew older, he decided to open a dance studio called, The Gene Kelly Studio of The Dance, which took place in 1932. This shortly became a family affair with his father playing role as bookkeeper, Gene, Louise and Fred, as teachers, and finally mom as manager. Gene's students loved his teachings as well as him as a person! They claim today that he was very easy to work with and he had such a passion for mentoring them. A former student recalls him as always being enthusiastic. Gene also attended school while teaching his dance classes. He never let a student fall behind even if they were not talentsed.
As an economic major at the University of Pittsburgh, Gene graduated in 1933. He was forced to pay for his own college education, resulting in his endless job schedule. He worked as a dance instructor, ditch-digger, and even as a soda jerk, just so he could further his education. After his graduation in 1933, he went back to the University of Pittsburgh to study law, although soon he realized his true passion was dance.
Leave It to Me, was the first Broadway production he participated in as a dancer. In 1939, he received a larger role in the production, One for the Money. Harry the Hoffer in the show The Time of Your Life, was Gene's biggest break. He also received a Donaldson Award for his performance on the stage. Moving forward in his career, Gene was asked to work as a choreographer for Diamond Horseshoe. Betsy Blair was one fo his dancers who became very fond of him. Pal Joey was a show in the early 1940's that Kelly starred in as Joey Evans. Gene Kelly finally became an instant hit. The summer of 1940, he decided to choreograph Best Foot Forward, by George Abbott. Shortly after the Pal Joey production was over, Gene received great news that Hollywood was impressed by his talent and wanted to offer him a contract. He fell in love with Betsy Blair, his student from a former performance and they were married in the September of 1941 in Philadelphia.
Gene's Hollywood debut was in the film For Me and My Gal, starring Judy Garland. This film starring two of Hollywood's greatest actors, was very successful. Judy Garland and Gene grew very close during that film through friendship. Gene realized that he did belong in Hollywood and enjoyed where his career was going. Something happened that he would enjoy even more, and that was the birth of his daughter, Kerry, in 1942.
Kelly's name was very well-known, thus proven when MGM sent him to Columbia Pictures to star in a musical with Ms. Rita Hayworth. This musical, Cover Girl, was on of the first times that Gene was the head choreographer. Also, in this musical he was able to create the alter ego" dance, in which he dances with himself. MGM allowed Gene to have a role in a new film, Anchors Aweigh, where he costarred with Frank Sinatra. And academy Award Nomination was given to Gene for best actor.
Even though Kelly's career couldn't be any better, he wanted, more than anything, to join the Navy to help protect his country. MGM allowed him to do that and he served for his country in t World War II. In May of 1946, Kelly was released from the United States Navy. Upon Gene's arrival back to the screen, MGM decided to bring him back just doing musicals with Sinatra.
In 1951, An American in Paris, won Academy Award for Best Picture. This film also won six other Oscars. Minnelli directed this film, and was praised for his wonderful talent. Singin' in the Rain, Brigadoon and It's Always Fair Weather, were two of the musicals he appeared in. Brigadoon was one of the only shows Gene appeared in, that hit rock bottom.
19576, was definitely not Gene Kelly's best year. He signed for divorce from Betsy Blair, he had a fallout with his former best friend, Donen, and he wanted out of the contract with MGM studios. The next few years were hard for Gene, until he married his longtime dance assistant, Jeannie Coyne. Soon after marriage, they started their little family. Timothy was born in 1962, followed by Bridget in 1965. Gene decided to started directing and doing some television work. Guide for the Married Man, Hello Dolly, Cheyenne Social Club, were some of the films that Kelly directed.
Jeannnie passed from cancer in 1973, resulting in Gene having to play both mother and father to his two children. Family was now his life and he would not take any jobs that were too far from his home and his children.
During the 70s and 80s, Mr. Gene Kelly was only seen at awards shows, and in 1985 he received a lifetime achievement award from the American Film Institute After this, Gene once again felt the need to get married, and he chose Patricia Ward, a writer, in 1990. Shortly after his marriage to Patty, he started writing an autobiography, which at his death on February 2, 1996 from a series of strokes, was left unfinished.
Singin' in the Rain portrays Kelly's charisma, creativity, volatile temper, perfectionism and then need for attention. Kenny Ortega says in Anatomy of a Dancer, "Gene Kelly was the most athletic, the most exciting, the most masculine, the most commercial dancer of his time." Betsy replied, "He wanted to democratize dance, to bring it to the whole world, to everybody." Clearly, Gene Kelly was looked highly upon, not only as a choreographer, but also as a dancer, film maker, and actor, but above all of these, a famous man. He could brighten any room with his laughter, he was known for his teaching skills, mainly due to his enthusiasm.
Gene Kelly will forever be remembered for his talented choreography along with his amazing ability. During his last days Gene stated, "The song has ended, but the melody lingers on." This is one of the quotes that people everywhere will remember Gen Kelly by. He will always be looked highly upon for his many abilities! His performance in all of his musicals, his brilliant chorography, and his countless teaching sessions for the beauty of dance are what I believe, led him to become on the best directors. He set a standard for visual stylings, as well as many other film aspects, that other directors and even actors should follow.