Byline: ROBERT MENDICK
CYD CHARISSE, the star of some of Hollywood's finest musicals and whoselegs were famously insured for $5 million, has died at the age of 86.
Charisse was one of the greatest ever on-screen dancers, starring in Singin' Inthe Rain with Gene Kelly and Silk Stockings with Fred Astaire.
She died yesterday after being admitted to hospital following a suspected heartattack, her publicist said.
Debbie Reynolds, who co-starred with Charisse in Singin' in the Rain, saidtoday: "Her beauty was breathtaking.
The world will miss her dancing." Charisse was one of the stars of the goldenera of the Hollywood musical of the Forties and Fifties. Astaire, in hisautobiography, described her as "beautiful dynamite".
She was a classically trained dancer who began her career as a teenager withthe Ballet Russe. She first had dancing lessons to build up strength in herlegs, having suffered from polio at the age of six.
In her late teens, she came to the attention of the Hollywood studios and wassigned by MGM, changing her name from her nickname Sidher brother could not say sister, only 'Sid', and the nickname stuckto the more exotic Cyd. In her autobiography, Charisse admitted she could notact at the time. "Honestly, the idea of working movies had never once enteredmy head. I was a dancer, not an actress. I had no delusions about myself. Icouldn't act I had never acted. So how could I be a movie star?" she wrote.
Her breakthrough came with Singin' in the Rain, one of the greatest musicals ofall time, when producers brought Charisse in at the last minute after beingdissatisfied with another dancer. …