“I got started dancing because I knew it was one way to meet girls” — Gene Kelly
Eugene Curran Kelly was born on this day in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania in 1912. Today is the 101st anniversary of his birth.
He was the third of five children born to James and Harriet Kelly. His mother enrolled Gene and one of his brothers in dance classes but the boys bulked. Gene would rather play baseball than dance. He dreamed of playing shortstop for the Pittsburg Pirates. He returned to the dance studio by the time he was 15.
Kelly put his lessons to good use in college, teaching at a local studio to help him pay for his education. He also performed with his brother, Fred. [Biography.com]
Kelly went to the University of Pittsburg as an Economics major. He also participated in the Cap and Gown Club which put on musicals. He recieved his BA in Economics in 1933 then went on to Law School at Pitt.
His family opened two dance studios (one in 1932, the second in 1933) and Gene taught dance when he wasn’t studying. He eventually managed the studios. But in 1937 he moved to New York to make his way as a full time entertainer.
After “small roles in Leave It to Me! starring Mary Martin, and One For the Money” [Ibid] Kelly hit it big with the lead in Pal Joey. By 1942 he’d landed a movie contract with MGM and had made his film debut in For Me and My Gal with Judy Garland.
Other highlights in Kelly’s amazing career include:
- Anchors Aweigh
- On the Town
- An American In Paris
- Singing in the Rain
- Inherit the Wind
- Summer Stock
Here are few clips to get your toes tapping…
Kelly had a temperature of 103 when they filmed that btw.