Join 3,553 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Beautiful Dynamite
June 17, 2008 2:58 PM   Subscribe

Cyd Charisse passed away today at 86. Part of the MGM Golden Age, she first started out in minor roles usually as a dancer (1:52). It wasn't until the Gotta Dance routine with Gene Kelly in Singin' in the Rain did she begin to get meatier roles.

-The Girl Hunt and Dancing in the Dark with Fred Astaire in The Band Wagon
(There is a fantastic parody by Steve Martin and Gilda Radner of the Dancing in the Dark routine that I cannot find.)
-Opposite Gene Kelly in Brigadoon (Also fun to watch for ridiculous Scottish accents)
-Her "makeover" solo and The Red Blues number in Silk Stockings
-Janet Jackson (and her family) was such a fan of MGM movies, Cyd and other MGM stars were featured in her music video, Alright (3:00)
posted by spec80 (49 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
One of the reasons I loved Cyd Charisse so much was because she wasn't a tap dancer. She was so different from the other women Astaire and Kelly were partnered with. She had incredible grace and control and the two guys got to exhibit a different style when dancing with her. I think that's why I enjoy the Leslie Caron pairings as well.
posted by spec80 at 3:01 PM on June 17, 2008


.
posted by iviken at 3:02 PM on June 17, 2008


.
posted by tkolar at 3:06 PM on June 17, 2008


Best. Legs. Evar.
posted by No Robots at 3:12 PM on June 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


.
posted by Bromius at 3:14 PM on June 17, 2008


Who ever said smoking isn't glamorous never watched that "Singin' in the Rain" scene.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 3:16 PM on June 17, 2008


Damn. One of my very favorite dancers from that era.

More Charisse, in chronological order:


A ballet (I can't find the title) from On an Island with You (1948) (partner: Ricardo Montalban)


One Alone from Deep in My Heart (1954) (partner: James Mitchell)


Frankie & Johnny from Meet Me in Las Vegas (1956) (partner: John Brascia)
posted by thomas j wise at 3:17 PM on June 17, 2008


I loved watching her dance.
posted by theora55 at 3:21 PM on June 17, 2008


.
posted by cmoj at 3:24 PM on June 17, 2008


. Damn.
posted by orthogonality at 3:37 PM on June 17, 2008


Oh, man. I still think the scarf dance between her and Kelly in "Singin' in the Rain" is one of the most erotic things ever put to celluloid.

.
posted by RakDaddy at 3:43 PM on June 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ah buggery. I always make a point of fast forwarding through the dream sequence in Singin In The Rain because it reminds me that Kelly should have stuck to hoofing and a little less with the camera-action. That being said, whenever I need to see dancing done like it should be done, I watch the whole sequence like its own little short film. Knocks me on my ass every time.

Not to mention the best pair of pins in the business.
posted by Jofus at 4:03 PM on June 17, 2008


.
posted by deeparch at 4:14 PM on June 17, 2008


Aw.

Singing in the Rain was the first pre-recorded Videocassette I ever purchased. She was an integral part of one of the finest movies ever. Dance on, Homegirl.

.
posted by djrock3k at 4:35 PM on June 17, 2008


They just don't make movies like this any more....


.
posted by HuronBob at 4:42 PM on June 17, 2008


the scarf dance between her and Kelly in "Singin' in the Rain" is one of the most erotic things ever put to celluloid.

Yes.
posted by stinkycheese at 4:51 PM on June 17, 2008


.

One hell of a woman.
posted by SassHat at 4:51 PM on June 17, 2008


.
posted by paddbear at 5:04 PM on June 17, 2008


.
posted by supercrayon at 5:05 PM on June 17, 2008


One of my favorite performers of all time.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 5:06 PM on June 17, 2008


I loved watching her dance.
.
posted by scrump at 5:21 PM on June 17, 2008


When she made that impossibly long slide across the subway floor to hug the leg of Fred Astaire in The Girl Hunt Ballet, I fell in love with her, forever.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:25 PM on June 17, 2008


I used to want to dance like her when I grew up, and then I found out just how hard it was to make it look so easy. And then I broke my back. So much for that.

.
posted by jlkr at 5:26 PM on June 17, 2008


.

Shit.
posted by rtha at 5:30 PM on June 17, 2008


I wholeheartedly agree with Kraftmatic.

Now I need to go watch Singin' in the Rain again.

.
posted by killy willy at 5:34 PM on June 17, 2008


Yeah. Seeing Gotta Dance with Cyd Charisse when I was ten years old was like getting hit on the head with a cast iron skillet that had "HETEROSEXUAL" engraved on it.

.
posted by tkchrist at 6:03 PM on June 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Cyd Charisse performed at a theatre where I worked summers as a high schooler. Though I never met her, word among those who met her was that she was a real class act.

.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:34 PM on June 17, 2008


That dame had gams and she knew how to use 'em.
posted by GuyZero at 6:53 PM on June 17, 2008


.
posted by wrapper at 7:16 PM on June 17, 2008


.
posted by Jilder at 7:42 PM on June 17, 2008


Best legs ever.
posted by Wolof at 8:10 PM on June 17, 2008


.
posted by Tacodog at 8:24 PM on June 17, 2008


As someone who works in the entertainment industry, she uttered one of my favorite lines in one of my favorite movies, The Band Wagon.

After a hellish rehearsal for a hellish show, she and Fred Astaire go on a carriage ride through Central Park. They marvel at the grass, trees, and other people and she says, "And to think, this has all been here while we've been shut up in our little sweatbox of the arts!"

.
posted by Thin Lizzy at 8:41 PM on June 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


The legends...all disappearing, quietly, slowly...

.
posted by davidmsc at 8:51 PM on June 17, 2008


Only 18 years ago, she still had it.
posted by grabbingsand at 9:03 PM on June 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


.

Quite a coincidence that I discovered Cyd Charisse only a few weeks back, right here in the blue.
posted by the cydonian at 9:06 PM on June 17, 2008


She was 86? WOW. The last time I saw her (on some TCM special) she barely looked over 60.

Stunning, always.

.
posted by Madamina at 9:44 PM on June 17, 2008


I love Cyd Charisse. That is all.
posted by wsg at 10:17 PM on June 17, 2008


.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:07 PM on June 17, 2008


She was a Jeapordy answer just last week.
posted by Clave at 11:08 PM on June 17, 2008


She will be missed.
posted by MetaMan at 11:22 PM on June 17, 2008


She was amazing. The "Singin' in the Rain" sequence has got to be the most erotic dance sequence ever committed to celluloid.
posted by essexjan at 11:31 PM on June 17, 2008


Singin' in the Rain scarf dance
posted by Poolio at 11:31 PM on June 17, 2008


If it's wrong for a girl to make oddly randy and mournful wolfy noises about a deceased 86 year old professional woman, older than her grandmother, I DON'T WANNA BE RIGHT. Awooooooooooooooo!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:52 PM on June 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Man, that Janet Jackson "Alright" video was my induction to a lot of different cultural throwbacks!
posted by autodidact at 2:33 AM on June 18, 2008


.

Man, that's sad, when I first saw that singing in the rain scene as a preteen I spent months trying to perfect dancing like she did - I wanted that dress, that hair and those legs and above all the complete control she had. I failed.
posted by dabitch at 6:22 AM on June 18, 2008


.
posted by moonlet at 9:06 AM on June 18, 2008


What davidmsc said ..... very sorrowful to have lost her. A true definition of the word "legend."

As Fred Astaire said, "When you've danced with her, you stay danced with."
posted by blucevalo at 3:20 PM on June 18, 2008


A slightly different tribute to Ms. Charisse.
posted by electroboy at 7:56 PM on June 23, 2008


« Older The Bicycle Tutor...  |  Accidental Astrophysicists:... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments