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Gene Kelly Tribute

Hosted by Patricia Ward Kelly


Participants included Justin Timberlake, Nastassja Kinski, Kenny Ortega, Penelope Ann Miller, and Harry Shum, Jr.


With a special video message from Hugh Jackman

The Academy celebrated the 100th birthday of the incomparable Gene Kelly (1912-1996) with a special gala evening of film clips, stories and personal remembrances of the multi-talented motion picture legend.

Kelly is perhaps best known for his remarkable dancing, but his talents extended to many different aspects of filmmaking. His work behind the camera, as an innovative director and choreographer, has had a lasting influence on the way that dance is filmed, and on screen, he was the proverbial triple-threat as an actor and singer as well as a dancer.

Gene Kelly
Gene Kelly in "Singin' in the Rain" (1952)

This centennial tribute to Kelly drew from the one-man show he presented in theaters around the country during the 1980s, as well as from thousands of hours of interviews conducted by his widow, film historian Patricia Ward Kelly, who served as program host. Film clip montages and nearly 20 film excerpts highlighted the scenes, musical numbers and on-screen partnerships that meant the most to Gene. Special guests – some who knew him personally, others whose work and career have been influenced by his genius – will also participate.

The night showcased Kelly's charisma and creativity, including his unique use of props (mops, sheets of newspaper, roller skates) and environments (a rain-drenched street, a creaky old barn) and his extraordinary athleticism in films like "Living in a Big Way" and "The Pirate." His beloved classics "An American in Paris" and "Singin' in the Rain," and later directorial efforts such as "Invitation to the Dance" and "Hello, Dolly!" were discussed as well, with insightful commentary on Kelly's creative process.

Event Information

May 17, 2012
Samuel Goldwyn Theater
Don't Show Again