- Entertainment and Media
A Tribute to Cyd Charisse
Who will ever forget the image of a lovely lass dancing in "the heather on the hill"? Brigadoon was always one of my favorite movies, with the beautiful dresses, moving songs (I always sang along!), and the message that love can conquer anything...even a curse upon an entire village!
Cyd Charisse, actress-dancer, died June 16, 2008 in Los Angeles at age 86. This is a tribute to that beautiful lady!
When I heard the news, I waited and waited (and waited some more) for "Entertainment Tonight" to put on a tribute..."Cyd Charrise, Dancing Legend" or "the woman who inspired generations of little girls to dance"... but nothing, not a single mention. Instead we got 3-4 days of Tim Russert (yes, that is a shame too), Matthew McCaughney without his shirt (like that's news!), who's cheating, who's divorcing, Jamie Lynn giving birth, and 2 days of speculation on the state of Madonna's marriage.
I guess the passing of a woman starred in so many excellent movie musicals, who kept her private life private, who was married to one man, Tony Martin, for 60 years and who was the very definition of CLASS ACT wasn't interesting enough for an "entertainment" program to report on...and isn't that a sad commentary on what the industry has become?
I believe that a great many share my admiration for Ms. Charisse and will truly miss her, so I have pulled together some photos, videos and a bit of her biography in the hope that it will help us all to remember her. Cyd was the best female dancer to ever grace the big screen. Her grace, beauty and talent will live on in her films.
You've just found where she dances in cyberspace. Come in and share some of Cyd's legendary Hollywood magic.
The Star: Beautiful, talented, Cyd Charisse
Cyd Charisse was born Tula Ellice Finklea in Amarillo, Texas in 1921. Her father was a ballet enthusiast and arranged for Cyd to have lessons. Immediately her gift for dancing became apparent and, when Cyd was fourteen, she was sent to a special dance school in Hollywood. Very soon she was invited to tour with The Ballet Russe De Monte Carlo. Cyd continued to receive dance instruction from Nico Charisse whom she married while still in her teens. Together they ran a ballet school and obtained some work in movie shorts. Hollywood began to be aware of her.
In 1943, working under the name Lily Norwood, Cyd appeared in both "Something To Shout About" and "Mission To Moscow," a film that Jack Warner later allegedly, during the McCarthy period, wished he had never made. In the 1940s the premier studio for musicals was MGM, and they wanted Cyd for a balletic dance sequence in "The Ziegfield Follies." MGM gave Cyd a contract and the name "Cyd Charisse."
Cyd Charisse was a long-legged Texas beauty who danced with the Ballet Russe as a teenager and starred in MGM musicals with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. She also appeared in dramatic films, but her fame came from Technicolor musicals of the l940s and l950s
Cyd Charisse, a gorgeous face, a perfect figure, a huge talent like actress Betty Grable, was known for her .... LEGS! She was elegant, beautiful and breathtaking.
Somewhere in Central Park tonight, a dark corner is crying.
Photo: 'Tiptoeing Thru The ....!'
by Will Borden may be purchased at: Will Borden - Fine Art America
Cyd Charisse in a stunning performance.
This is a MUST WATCH!
Movie: The Band Wagon - Cyd Charisse & Fred Astaire
Buy Cyd Charisse Movies
Biography for Cyd Charisse
Getting to know Cyd Charisse
Date of Birth
8 March 1921, Amarillo, Texas, USA
Tula Ellice Finklea
~ Cyd Charisse was born to be a dancer. She spent her early childhood taking ballet lessons and joined the Ballet Russe at 13.
~ In 1939 she married Nico Charise, her ex-dance teacher.
~ In 1943 she appeared in her first film, Something to Shout About (1943), billed as Lily Norwood.
~ She played a Russian dancer in Mission to Moscow (1943), directed by Michael Curtiz.
~ In 1945 she was hired to dance with Fred Astaire in Ziegfeld Follies (1946), and that uncredited appearance got her a seven-year contract with MGM.
~ She appeared in a number of musicals over the next few years, but it was Singin' in the Rain (1952) with Gene Kelly that made her a star.
~ A great performance in The Band Wagon (1953).
~ As the 1960s dawned, musicals faded from the screen, as did her career. She made appearances on television and performed in a nightclub revue with her second husband, singer Tony Martin.
IMDb Mini Biography By: Tony Fontana
Non-Dancing Movie - Beautiful!
Clips from East Side West Side:
Movie: Meet Me in Las Vegas - Cyd Charisse dancing with John Brascia
Cyd dances to 'Frankie and Johnny' sung by Sammy Davis Junior, in the film 'Meet me in Las Vegas', (1956) Choreographed by Eugene Loring.
Video by: Jim Beattie
and ... Not
~ Was "the other woman" in Marilyn Monroe's last and unfinished film,
~ Something's Got to Give (1962).
~ In 1952 she had a $5-million insurance policy accepted on her legs.
~ In Call Her Mom (1972) (TV), she was originally to have done the part played by Gloria DeHaven, but was replaced by Ann Miller before DeHaven finally took over the role.
~ When casting the film Damn Yankees! (1958), the studio was initially interested in pursuing Cyd as Lola and Cary Grant as Applegate. In the end, Gwen Verdon won the right to recreate her stage role with Ray Walston the devilish Applegate. Cyd was unavailable but later played the role on the legit stage.
~ Lost out on two of MGM's biggest movie musical roles. She fell and injured her knee during a dance leap on a film which forced her out of the role of Nadina Hale in Easter Parade (1948). Ann Miller replaced her.
~ She had to relinquish the lead femme role in An American in Paris (1951) due to pregnancy. Leslie Caron took over the part and became a star.
Was offered the lead role of Jo Stockton in Funny Face (1957) but declined. The role was eventually played by Audrey Hepburn.
Gene Kelly Tribute - Featuring Cyd Charisse
Cyd Charisse - Trivia
~ She danced with the Ballet Russe using the names Maria Istomina and Felia Sidorova.
~ Took her name Cyd from a nickname originated from her brother. Initially he could not say sister and called her Sid. She took the nickname and convinced her agent to keep the name with the present spelling. He feared that Sid was too masculine.
~ Although one of the greatest female dancers in the history of the movie musical, her singing in films was almost always dubbed, most notably by Carol Richards in Brigadoon (1954) and a young Vikki Carr in The Silencers(1966).
Nico Charisse - 12 August 1939 - 1947 (divorced) - 1 child (Nicholas)
Tony Martin - 15 May 1948 - 1 child (Tony Martin Jr.)
Aunt, by marriage, of actress Nana Visitor.
Aunt, by marriage, of actor Ian Tucker.
Aunt, by marriage, of actress Zan Charisse.
Movie - Brigadoon - Come To Me, Bend To Me
Cyd Charisse can do everything. Beautiful, dances like a dream, talented actress and has great LEGS. What more could one ask for!
Tribute to Cyd Charisse - Dancing with Gene Kelly
The Silencers - Cyd Cherisse a hot dancer
Cyde Chaisse has a dance sequence in this movie and then ...
Movie - That's Entertainment - Cyd Charisse with Fred Astaire
Cyd Charisse dances with Fred Astaire in this Classic Film Montage.
Movie - Addiction - Cyd Charisse with Ricardo Montalban
Video by: varadero1839
Movie - Addiction - Cyd Charisse & Ricardo Montalban
Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly may have been better dancers, but Ricardo Montalban was definitely Cyd Charisse's best dance partner. He was just gorgeous. They were both just gorgeous!
Blue Mercedes - Featuring Cyd Charisse
Song: I Want to Be Your Property
Note: Cyd was 60 years old when she danced this. WOW!
Cyd - Pin-up Girl
Cyd Charisse - Archive Interview
Cyd was one of the most beautiful ladies of all time. She could dance like an angel. Even when she got older, she still looked beautiful, still had a good figure, and those legs!!!! ZZ Topp had Cyd in mind when they wrote the song, "Legs" Lucky for us, we can still watch her movies!
This is the only part of the interview left on YouTube. It is interesting to listen to and shows the kind of classy lady Cyd Charisse was.
Movie - The Band Wagon - Cyd Charisse with Fred Astaire - My Favorite
It was a hard choice to make but, I think that this is my favorite. See what you think.
What Cyd had to say about her dancing partners.
And other things.
Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly I can watch Astaire anytime. I don't think he ever made a wrong move. He was a perfectionist. He would work on a few bars for hours until it was just the way he wanted it. Gene was the same way. They both wanted perfection, even though they were completely different personalities.
Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly Fred could never do the lifts Gene did and never wanted to. I'd say they were the two greatest dancing personalities who were ever on the screen. Each has a distinctive style. Each is a joy to work with. But it's like comparing apples and oranges. They're both delicious.
Why she never tapped on-screen I was pulled up as a ballet dancer and I wasn't used to pounding the floor with bent knees.
The censors were always there when I was on the set. When I was held up in a lift in Deep in My Heart they were up on ladders to see if I was properly covered.
Fred moved like glass Physically it was easy to dance with him. It was not as demanding on me. I didn't need the same vitality and strength.
Fred Allen Tribute Episode - Cyd Charisse on TV - What's My Line
This is part three of four of the Fred Allen's tribute episode. Here, Cy Charisse is the mystery guest. Episode originally aired on 18 March 1956
I'm sure I saw this one. I watched it at my girlfriend's home. We didn't have TV yet. I was thrilled to see Cyd Charisse. She was 'some pretty lady'!!
Awarded the American National Medal - A Winner!
Cyd Charisse was awarded the American National Medal of the Arts in 2006 by the National Endowment of the Arts in Washington D.C. for her services to dance.
A Movie Legend - Cyd Charisse - I have saved my favorite until last
A farewell tribute to one of Hollywood's most talented performers.
If you have no time for anything else ... please watch this video ... it is just beautiful ... the music AND Cyd Charisse!
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