Best Known For
Trouper Donald O'Connor starred with Francis the Talking Mule, danced in Singing In the Rain, and was a familiar face on 1950s television.
Gene Kelly - Remembered (2:06)
While filming "Singin' in the Rain," Gene Kelly was ill, his suits were shrinking underneath the hot lights, and he filmed for days in the rain. Despite all of this, he managed to perform one of the most famous scenes in movie history.
Gene Kelly made his mark on Hollywood and, through his work both in front of and behind the camera, transformed the movie musical.
Gene Kelly, unlike Hollywood's other leading male dancer, Fred Astaire, brought an athletic quality to the movies when he danced on screen. His big break came in "Cover Girl" when he danced a duet… with himself.
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Most recently, O'Connor won new fans in the 1992 comedy Toys, with Robin Williams, and 1997's Out to Sea, with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon. In 1999, he survived a highly publicized and nearly fatal battle with pneumonia.
Unfortunately, six years after his battle with pneumonia, O'Connor died of heart failure on September 27, 2003, in Woodland Hills, California. In 1944, O'Connor married his childhood sweetheart Gwen Carter. They had a rather turbulent relationship and divorced in 1953. He wed starlet Gloria Noble in 1956; the couple has three children.
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Dance pioneers like Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and Gene Kelly—remembered for his groundbreaking performance in 1952's Singin' in the Rain—truly set the stage for Hollywood's dance-film genre. John Travolta, Jennifer Beals, Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey and Natalie Portman are some of the performers who took up where Astaire, Rogers and Kelly left off, repopularizing dance on film for later generations. Biography.com's Famous Movie Dancers group examines the lives and careers of these high-stepping performers who will always be remembered for their unforgettable moves.
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