Jump to content


This site uses cookies. By using this site, you agree to accept cookies, unless you've opted out. (US government web page with instructions to opt out: http://www.usa.gov/optout-instructions.shtml)

Cyd Charisse1921-2008


  • Please log in to reply
26 replies to this topic

#1 carbro

carbro

    Late Board Registrar

  • Rest in Peace
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,361 posts

Posted 17 June 2008 - 02:10 PM

I just heard on NPR that Cyd Charisse died today, following admission to a Los Angeles hospital Monday for an apparent heart attack.

The New York Times has posted its obituary of one of the most glamourous dancing ladies of Hollywood's golden age. http://www.nytimes.c...amp;oref=slogin

#2 Gina Ness

Gina Ness

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 256 posts

Posted 17 June 2008 - 02:14 PM

Cyd Charisse, the gorgeous dancer of MGM fame, has passed on at age 86. She was such a beauty! A ballet dancer who truly made the difficult leap to the cinema...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25216724/

#3 Dale

Dale

    Emeralds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,055 posts

Posted 17 June 2008 - 02:20 PM

Truly one of the most beautiful dancers. Loved her in Silk Stockings and The Band Wagon. Her pas de deux with Astaire in the park is breathtaking.

#4 aurora

aurora

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 677 posts

Posted 17 June 2008 - 02:32 PM

I'm so sad to hear this, she is truly one of my biggest inspirations. I think the number in Singing in the Rain, with the green dress, is probably the sexiest thing I've ever seen in my life.

A lot of the dancers in old movie musicals make me cringe a bit. She was always exquisitely beautiful.

#5 papeetepatrick

papeetepatrick

    Sapphire Circle

  • Inactive Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,486 posts

Posted 17 June 2008 - 02:59 PM

Oh yes, exactly as Dale and Aurora and the others say, except I'm being unreasonable and haven't accepted that she'd died at all. She stayed younger-looking and kept her dancer's body longer than anybody (at least when last I saw her in photos or new clips). I thought she was wonderful in all the movies, including 'Black Tights' too, with Zizi Jeanmaire and Moira Shearer. Agree with Aurora about the sexiness in green in 'Singin' in the Rain' and Dale about the Dancing in the Dark and Silk Stockings. She was also featured early in the film of Ziegfeld Follies, but 'This Heart of Mine' would have been better still if it had been Fred and Cyd instead of Fred and Lucille.

I just thought she was set to live to 100. What a magnificently beautiful lady she was.

#6 Pamela Moberg

Pamela Moberg

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 579 posts

Posted 17 June 2008 - 03:13 PM

She was an idol of many of my friends in the theater school -OK, she was my idol too. Any of you folks seen her in that unfortunately seldom played film on old movie channels. I refer to a movie from the fifties. Remember that Mel and I had an argument about her dress, Mel said it was black, I said it was green.
Maybe vice versa, never mind, Cyd was just fantastic. What a dancer and what a beauty. I am glad that we saw her and enjoyed her in those days.

#7 Pamela Moberg

Pamela Moberg

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 579 posts

Posted 17 June 2008 - 03:28 PM

Yes, just remembered the name of the movie, it was "Sombrero". She was to die for then...

#8 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,533 posts

Posted 17 June 2008 - 03:36 PM

The samples of her classical dancing that made it to the big screen did not impress. The excerpt in “The Band Wagon” is particularly unfortunate; she’s not awful, but the dancing is terribly wooden with no sense of phrasing. Her acting is better left unmentioned, but she was a gorgeous woman and a fine dancer, although I do recall reading that her numbers had to be shot in very short segments because she couldn’t sustain her energy level. In addition, she rose above having the given name of Tula Ellice Finklea, an impressive feat. She takes an important part of American movie musical history with her.

My personal favorites: her “Silk Stockings” solo in the hotel room, the “Dancing in the Dark” duet with Astaire cited by Dale, and “Baby, You Knock Me Out” from “ It’s Always Fair Weather.”

There is also “Party Girl,” a non-musical made in 1958 with another star MGM wanted to dispose of, Robert Taylor (who also had one of those names, he was the former Spangler Arlington Brough). It has a confusing story, poor character development, and is in general your basic mess, but it also has striking cinematography and the dialogue won't hurt you. Charisse’s acting is even more hapless than usual but she is at her sexiest in the musical numbers, which are well worth checking out.

#9 papeetepatrick

papeetepatrick

    Sapphire Circle

  • Inactive Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,486 posts

Posted 17 June 2008 - 03:48 PM

Robert Taylor (who also had one of those names, he was the former Spangler Arlington Brough


I quite like 'Spangler Arlington Brough', which sounds not hick, but rather landed-Southern and strong--much better if more unwieldy than the thoroughly ordinary name he evolved into. I'll now look it up and see what it is, but to me there is no redneck sound to that one . The competition for Tula Ellice Finklea is surely Roberta Sue Ficker, and I'm at a loss to choose between them, although I find all of 'Cyd Charisse' to have been the perfect solution, whereas 'Farrell' has never sounded quite as uncannily inevitable as 'Suzanne.'

Edited to add: Wiki has it as 'Brugh' and it's Nebraska, so probably pronounced 'brew', whereas 'Brough' is 'bro', I've a friend named Brough.

#10 carbro

carbro

    Late Board Registrar

  • Rest in Peace
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,361 posts

Posted 17 June 2008 - 03:53 PM

She remained beautiful well into her old age. Wikipedia has a photo of the 2006 Oval Office ceremony when Pres. Bush conferred on her the National Medal of Arts.

Check the boulder on her right hand. The lady must have kept fit to lug that thing around!

#11 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,533 posts

Posted 17 June 2008 - 04:28 PM

Yes, her figure is lovely, although it looks as if she had too much work done on her face.

--much better if more unwieldy than the thoroughly ordinary name he evolved into

.

Hmm. Now that I think about it, often as not the motive behind such name changes is to make the name more ordinary, not less so. Tula Ellice Finklea and Spangler Arlington Brough certainly stay in the memory banks, and as you note the latter is euphonious in its way. Robert Taylor is indeed a very ordinary name, which is the point – to make his name more like those of other people and less singular.

It is pronounced “brew.” I've seen it spelled both ways, don't know which is right.

The AP obituary linked to by carbro and Gina notes that Charisse was up for the Caron role in An American in Paris, which I hadn’t heard before. Thank God that didn’t work out.

Interesting also that her height is given as five-foot-six - she certainly gave the impression of being even taller.

#12 volcanohunter

volcanohunter

    Sapphire Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,049 posts

Posted 17 June 2008 - 06:17 PM

Watching her in "Baby, You Knock Me Out" from It's Always Fair Weather, flying at hyper-speed over boxing ring ropes while wearing stiletto heals, is really one of the most thrilling and mind-boggling displays of virtuosity I've ever seen on film. Equally spectacular is the "Red Blues" number from Silk Stockings. It's awe-inspiring to watch how she keeps going and going, whatever her stamina may have been like in reality. I'd also single out her "Desert Song" number from Deep in My Heart as the quintessence of Charisse-as-sex-goddess, and the "Two-Faced Woman" number that was cut from The Bandwagon (because with a number like that, the movie's original Faust musical wouldn't have flopped), but which is included on the film's DVD. I wouldn't hesitate for a second in describing her as one of Hollywood's greatest dancers, even if her ballet numbers left something to be desired.

And for those who haven't seen it yet, I'd wholeheartedly recommend the "Girl Hunt" ballet from The Band Wagon for Michael Kidd's visionary choreography for the corps of gansters, in addition to Charisse's spangles and singularly erotic arches.

Undoubtedly she was one of the sexiest women ever to appear on screen, but what I admired most about her was the strength of her dance personality. Gene Kelly in particular, I think, had a bad habit of imposing his own low-centre-of-gravity style on his leading ladies, and some of them really struggled with the unsuitability of it for their bodies. Charisse, though, always managed to adapt to the choreography and make it inimitably her own.

#13 PeggyR

PeggyR

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 655 posts

Posted 17 June 2008 - 06:25 PM

Interesting also that her height is given as five-foot-six - she certainly gave the impression of being even taller.


IMDB, my favorite source of inaccurate information, lists her as 5' 7 1/2". No matter what her height, she had the most gorgeous legs.

RIP, Cyd.

#14 papeetepatrick

papeetepatrick

    Sapphire Circle

  • Inactive Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,486 posts

Posted 17 June 2008 - 07:24 PM

I'd also single out her "Desert Song" number from Deep in My Heart as the quintessence of Charisse-as-sex-goddess, and the "Two-Faced Woman" number that was cut from The Bandwagon (because with a number like that, the movie's original Faust musical wouldn't have flopped), but which is included on the film's DVD.


Thanks for mentioning these, I'm going to fetch them. I love the Band Wagon, but have never seen that number.

#15 Amy Reusch

Amy Reusch

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,781 posts

Posted 17 June 2008 - 08:07 PM

And I thought 5'6" was tall for a dancer of her time...


Was Nanette Charisse her sister or her sister-in-law? (I imagine in-law, but sometimes others in a family take on a stage name)

... okay... went & dug on the net (like I should have done first... sometimes I forget most answers already exist in cyberspace)... it's Nenette not Nanette... she was a sister-in-law.


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):