Actor, Dancer. Most remembered for his role of 'Jerry Mulligan' in "An American in Paris" (1951), and for his role of 'Donald Lockwood' in "Singin' in the Rain" (1952). Awarded the American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement Award in 1985, he was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 1992. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, his father was Al Jolson's road manager during the 1920s, where his interest in acting began. He graduated from Peabody High School in Highland Park, Pennsylvania, and from the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in economics. He started work on Broadway as a chorus boy, but got the lead in the show "Pal Joey," where he was noticed as an actor. Invited to Hollywood, he took work with MGM, where he played opposite Judy Garland in "For Me and My Gal" (1942). During World War II, he enlisted in the US Navy and was stationed at Anacostia Naval Base, in Washington DC, where he starred in several Navy training films. His best work is considered to be the two films, "An American in Paris" (1951) and "Singin' in the Rain" (1952), which was selected by the Library of Congress to be one of the first movies in its National Film Registry of movies that are part of the American Heritage. His dancing was often compared to Fred Astaire's, even though he considered himself different in style than Astaire, once saying "If Fred Astaire is the Cary Grant of dance, I'm the Marlon Brando." His first two wives were also dancers. Few people know that he taught Frank Sinatra how to dance, for the movie "Anchors Aweigh" (1945). During an interview, Kelly once exclaimed "I never wanted to be a dancer. It's true! I wanted to be a shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates."
Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson