Cyd Charisse

Cyd Charisse
Los Angeles Times

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Cyd Charisse
Film: West side of the 1600 block of Vine Street
Actress | Dancer
Born Tula Ellice Finklea on March 8, 1922 in Amarillo, Texas
Died June 17, 2008 of heart attack in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center [formerly Cedars of Lebanon Hospital], Calif.

Cyd Charisse brought sizzle and sophistication to dance in such classic movie musicals as "Singin' in the Rain" and "Silk Stockings."

Charisse captured moviegoers' attention in a quick succession of films, starting with 1952's "Singin' in the Rain," in which she partnered with dancer and actor Gene Kelly in a steamy ballet.

She was strong, lithe and "drop-dead gorgeous to look at," dance/film historian and author Larry Billman said of Charisse in her breakthrough performance. She partnered with Kelly again in "Brigadoon" in 1954 and "It's Always Fair Weather" the following year.

Unlike many top female dancers in the era of movie musicals, Charisse was trained as a ballerina in the Russian tradition.

Although she occasionally performed solo, "she was at her best when she was partnered," Billman said. "She had technique, ability and she didn't do anything to take away from her partner."

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