Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Cyd Charisse, actress, dancer, and all around class act, died yesterday at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angelas on Tuesday from an apparent heart attack.

Charisse became famous in Hollywood for her dancing ability and fantastic legs, beginning her career as a featured dancer in films like Ziegfeld Follies and Till the Clouds Roll By. She then made several films with Ricardo Montalban in the late 1940s, including Fiesta and On an Island With You. During this time she also made a few non-musical films, such as Tension and East Side, West Side.

It was 1952’s Singin’ In the Rain, in which she appeared as a specialty dancer alongside Gene Kelly in the epic Broadway Rhythm Ballet, that shot Charisse to fame. Through the 1950s, she was one of the most popular dancing actresses in film. She danced alongside Fred Astaire in the essential classic The Bandwagon, as well as the musical remake of Ninotchka, Silk Stockings. She also starred again with Gene Kelly in Brigadoon and It’s Always Fair Weather.

Late in the 1950s, Charisse began to show her skill for dramatic role by making non-musicals such as Twilight for the Gods, the fantastic noir Party Girl, and Two Weeks in Another Town.

Charisse was one of the few remaining legends of Classic Hollywood. She is survived by husband Tony Martin and her sons Nicholas and Tony, Jr.

Here are some clips of Charisse’s most memorable dances.

The Broadway Rhythm Ballet from Singin’ in the Rain

Frankie and Johnny from Meet Me in Las Vegas

Orchids in the Moonlight Tango from On an Island With You

Fated to be Mated from Silk Stockings

From Silk Stockings

The Flaming Flamenco from Fiesta

Dance of Fury from The Kissing Bandit

Dancing in the Dark from The Bandwagon

Sun Dance from Mark of the Renegade

Baby You Knock Me Out from It’s Always Fair Weather

The Girl Hunt from The Bandwagon

La Bamba from Fiesta

The Heather on the Hill from Brigadoon

All of You from Silk Stockings

By Katie Richardson