Kelly Showered with Showbiz Tributes

By Pepinster, Catherine | The Independent (London, England), February 4, 1996 | Go to article overview
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Kelly Showered with Showbiz Tributes


Pepinster, Catherine, The Independent (London, England)


HOLLYWOOD paid tribute yesterday to Gene Kelly, the man who transformed dance in the musical movie with a mix of athleticism and balletic grace.

Kelly died peacefully in his sleep at his Beverly Hills home on Friday. His third wife, Patricia, 36, whom he married six years ago, was at his side.

Kelly, who starred in On the Town, Singin' in the Rain, and An American in Paris, and spent a lifetime in films as a dancer, director and choreographer, had been ill after a series of strokes.

Frank Sinatra, who starred with Kelly in the 1945 film Anchors Aweigh, said yesterday: "Gene was a disciplinarian and a perfectionist - I should know. I practiced for hours and hours and couldn't believe it when I saw myself dancing with Gene on the big screen . . . Gene was one of a kind. He revolutionised dancing in film."

"Hey, who else do you know who parlayed an umbrella and wet loafers into the greatest movie moment of all time," Bob Hope said in a tribute to his longtime friend, referring to Kelly's most famous film, Singin' in the Rain.

It was his solo performance in the 1952 film, in a scene which became a cinema classic where he danced and sang with an umbrella in a simulated downpour, that made the self-taught Irish-American dancer immortal.

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