Gene Kelly, 1912-1996
Devastatingly handsome and supremely sensual, Kelly proved adept at playing his non-dancing roles pitch-perfectly: he was, in equal turns, Judy Garland's overzealous and histrionic lover in The Pirate, the despondent film star on the edge of decline in the insurmountably superb Singin' in the Rain, and the hardworn, Hopper-esque journalist in Stanley Kramer's dramatic Inherit the Wind. Watching his films decades after their respective releases, it seems that Kelly understood, even from the outset of his career in 1941, the great beauty of cinema, the legacy of the motion pictures he was creating. And so he worked to raise the medium to a higher standard regarding its inclusion of dance and its depiction of aesthetic beauty, moreso than any of his contemporaries: he often harangued scriptwriters and challenged directors, re-wrote dialogue and cast his own leading ladies in order to fashion the caliber of film he knew that he, and MGM, was capable of. What a legacy that leaves us to revel in.
So Gene, here's to you. Sexy, savvy, graceful and ingenius...Really. Our love is here to stay.