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Cyd Charisse

Real name: Tula Ellice Finklea
Birthdate: March 8, 1921
Status: Married
Partner: Tony Martin

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Biography

Cyd Charisse (born Tula Ellice Finklea on March 8, 1921) is an American dancer and actress. She was born in Amarillo, Texas, and reputedly, the name "Cyd" was a nickname taken from a sibling trying to say "Sis".

Charisse studied ballet in Los Angeles with Adolph Bolm and Bronislawa Nijinska, and subsequently danced in the Ballet Russes under the name Siderova. The outbreak of war led to the break-up of the company and, on returning to L.A., David Lichine offered her a dancing role in Gregory Ratoff's Something to Shout About. This brought her to the attention of choreographer Robert Alton - who had also discovered Gene Kelly - and soon she joined the Freed Unit at MGM, where she became the resident MGM ballet dancer.

As Debbie Reynolds was not a trained dancer, Gene Kelly chose Charisse to partner him in the celebrated "Broadway Melody" ballet finale from Singin' in the Rain (1952), and she co-starred with Kelly in the 1954 Scottish-themed musical Brigadoon. She again took the lead female role alongside Kelly in his penultimate MGM musical It's Always Fair Weather (1956).

In her autobiography, Charisse reflected on her experience with Astaire and Kelly: "As one of the handful of girls who worked with both of those dance geniuses, I think I can give an honest comparison. In my opinion, Kelly is the more inventive choreographer of the two. Astaire, with Hermes Pan's help, creates fabulous numbers - for himself and his partner. But Kelly can create an entire number for somebody else ...I think, however, that Astaire's coordination is better than Kelly's ...his sense of rhythm is uncanny. Kelly, on the other hand, is the stronger of the two. 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."

In 1990, following similar moves done by MGM colleagues Debbie Reynolds and Angela Lansbury, Charisse produced the exercise video Easy Energy Shape Up, targeted at active senior citizens.

Features:
- Something to Shout About (1943)
- Mission to Moscow (1943)
- Thousands Cheer (1943)
- The Harvey Girls (1946)
- Ziegfeld Follies (1946)
- Three Wise Fools (1946)
- Till the Clouds Roll By (1946)
- Fiesta (1947)
- The Unfinished Dance (1947)
- On an Island with You (1948)
- The Kissing Bandit (1948)
- Words and Music (1948)
- East Side, West Side (1949)
- Tension (1950)
- Mark of the Renegade (1951)
- Singin' in the Rain (1952)
- The Wild North (1952)
- Sombrero (1953)
- The Band Wagon (1953)
- Easy to Love (1953) (Cameo)
- Brigadoon (1954)
- Deep in My Heart (1954)
- It's Always Fair Weather (1955)
- Meet Me in Las Vegas (1956)
- Silk Stockings (1957)
- Twilight for the Gods (1958)
- Party Girl (1958)
- Black Tights (1960)
- Five Golden Hours (1961)
- Two Weeks in Another Town (1962)
- Assassination in Rome (1965)
- The Silencers (1966)
- Maroc 7 (1967)
- Film Portrait (1973) (documentary)
- Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976)
- Warlords of Atlantis (1978)
- Private Screening (1989)
- That's Entertainment! III (1994)



 


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