Gene Kelly was one of the most famous movie stars of the 1950s, appearing in classic films such as "An American and Paris" and "Singin' in the Rain." His fast-paced, athletic style of dancing was hugely influential on movie musicals.
Kelly was born on Aug. 23, 1912, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to an Irish family. Growing up, Kelly's dream was to be a shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but he soon turned his focus to dancing. Kelly's family opened a dance studio, which they named The Gene Kelly Studio of the Dance. Kelly taught classes at the school while a law student at the University of Pittsburgh.
Kelly's first success in show business came in 1938, when he was hired as a dancer in Cole Porter's "Leave it To Me!" In 1941, following success in "Pal Joey," Kelly signed with David O. Selznick to go to Hollywood. He appeared in "Anchors Aweigh" in 1945, his breakout performance, featuring a famous dance scene with an animated Jerry Mouse. In 1951 and 52, Kelly appeared in "An American in Paris" and "Singin' in the Rain," respectively. The former film won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and the latter was named the greatest musical of all time by the American Film Institute.
Kelly would go on to appear in several other films over the course of his career, such as "Inherit the Wind" and "Xanadu." He died at the age of 83 on Feb. 2, 1996. Posthumously, the American Film Institute named him the 15th greatest male film star of all time.