WEIRDLAND: Happy Anniversary, Cyd Charisse!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Happy Anniversary, Cyd Charisse!

Happy Anniversary, Cyd Charisse (March 8, 1921 in Amarillo, Texas, USA - June 17, 2008 in Los Angeles, California, USA)

"If I had to give up either acting or dancing, I'd choose to keep dancing" -Cyd Charisse

Cyd Charisse was principally celebrated for her on-screen pairings with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. She first appeared with Astaire in a brief routine in "Ziegfeld Follies" (produced in 1944 and released in 1946).

Her next appearance with him was as lead female role in "The Band Wagon" (1953), where she danced with Astaire in the acclaimed "Dancing in the Dark" and "Girl Hunt Ballet" routines. Another early role cast her opposite Judy Garland in the 1946 film "The Harvey Girls".

When Gene Kelly asked what she'd like engraved on her gravestone, Cyd Charisse replied: ' People sometimes had a problem placing her face, but they never forgot her pins.' And then she asked what Kelly wanted on his. 'Here lies Gene Kelly. He danced with Cyd Charisse,' he replied.

Cyd Charisse and Gene Kelly in "It's Always Fair Weather" (1955)

'She looked like a woman who liked to shock priests with wicked confessions,' Kelly told a friend.

In her autobiography, Charisse compared the two leading men, saying Astaire's coordination was better than Kelly's, but Kelly was the stronger of the two, adding: "When he lifts you, he lifts you!"

"To sum it up, I'd say they were the two greatest dancing personalities who were ever on screen. But it's like comparing apples and oranges. They're both delicious," Charisse wrote.

Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse in "Singin' in the Rain" (1952)

Despite the popularity of Godard’s other cinematic feats of La Nouvelle Vague, such as ‘À bout de souffle’ (Breathless) and ‘Le Pierrot le fou’, there’s a certain unrivalled charm to ‘Une Femme est Une Femme’ with it’s barbed wit and playful nods to musical comedy which make it a frontrunner as being Godard’s best work.

Angela (Anna Karina) changes her entire outfit instantly by walking through a magical device; she and Alfred participate in an improvised pseudo-musical sequence, in which she intones “I’d like to be in a musical with Cyd Charisse and Gene Kelly”.

Charisse's rise coincided with an era in which film studio MGM established itself as specialists in musicals, recruiting dancers, singers, directors, choreographers, composers, conductors and musicians.

She later forged a career appearing in song-and-dance acts on television and in nightclubs with her husband, Tony Martin, the singer.

Her agent described Charisse as "a loving and gracious woman throughout her life". Source:

No comments :