Gene Kelly had quite a legendary career. A career spanning over fifty years, Gene ended up featuring in forty-four films. His most infamous role has to be that of Don Lockwood in Singing in the Rain. People fell in love with this character and film in 1952 and audiences still enjoy this timeless film today. But Gene didn’t stop at just one great role, he strived to be bold and take initiative in all aspects of filmmaking. In Anchors Aweigh Gene danced with a cartoon mouse, taught French kids to sing Gershwin in An American in Paris, and was the man who danced his way from the Brooklyn docks to the very top of the Empire State Building in On the Town. Gene took dance as an art from the coat and tails style of Fred Astaire to everyday life.
We have Gene Kelly to thank for the integration of dance and films, creating what we know today as movie musicals. He opened the camera angles up making the film seem like the dancers were dancing live instead of on a two dimensional screen. He made his dance performances relevant, whether it was his dancing or he was directing someone to dance. Gene went to great lengths to make sure his partners were comfortable. He was quick to assess his partner’s weaknesses and helped them get stronger. He cared for and nurtured his art the same way he did for his family and friends. By the end of Gene’s career he had numerous musicals under his belt, countless movies and awards, and a legacy of greatness. “This was the boy from Pittsburgh who turned his face up to the street light and taught us what it meant to sing and dance for the sheer joy of ignoring the elements. He wasn’t a legend- he was Gene Kelly.” Who could ask for anything more?