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Cyd Charisse sizzled in some of Hollywood's greatest musicals

June 18, 2008 |  6:32 pm

While Tuesday's American Film Institute TV special on the top 10 in various movie genres did not include musicals, last year's 10th anniversary edition of the top 100 movies did and "Singin' in the Rain" came in at No. 5. And a large part of that 1952 film's enduring success is Cyd_charisse_fred_astaire_silk_st_2 due to the presence of the scintillating Cyd Charisse in the closing number. This classically trained dancer, who died Tuesday at 86, brought a sex appeal to the screen that seduced audiences of the 1950s.

Besides "Singin' in the Rain," which ranked No. 1 on the 2006 AFI list of movie musicals, Charisse starred opposite Fred Astaire in No. 17, "The Band Wagon" from 1956. She was to have first worked with Kelly in 1951 on "An American in Paris" (No. 9 and the best picture Oscar winner) but a pregnancy precluded this. No doubt, filmgoers of yesteryear would have been surprised to discover that this dark-haired exotically named beauty, who once danced with the Ballet Russes, hailed from Amarillo, Texas.

Cyd Charisse picked up only one awards nod –- a 1957 Golden Globe nomination for her performance opposite Astaire in "Silk Stockings," Cole Porter's musicalization of the Greta Garbo comedy "Ninotchka." Though she always considered herself a dancer first and foremost, downplaying her acting ability, Cyd Charisse was able to tell many a story in musical numbers that will never be equaled.

To read her obituary - CLICK HERE