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Gene Kelly Genealogy
(aka, Eugene Curran Kelly)Are You Related?

Gene Kelly

One of the most iconic dancers in the history of film, Eugene Curran "Gene" Kelly was born August 23, 1912, in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Kelly originally intended to study economics in college but took up dancing to earn prize money to help with his family's finances. Kelly opened a dance studio and eventually moved to New York to work as a choreographer. Early projects include Cole Porter's Leave It To Me! on Broadway. His big break came in the Broadway production of Pal Joey, his first professional lead role. There he gained his reputation for being a perfectionist, working long into the night to get each dance number just right. His film debut was in For Me and My Gal alongside Judy Garland, who became a lifelong friend, though his breakthrough as a dancer onscreen was opposite Rita Hayworth in Cover Girl. Other major films include On the Town, Summer Stock, An American in Paris, and Brigadoon, though his most iconic role to date was in Singin' in the Rain, which he also co-directed and choreographed. His efforts are credited with making ballet commercially acceptable to film audiences. Though often compared to Fred Astaire, Kelly and Astaire were on very congenial terms and greatly admired each other's work. He was married three times--to actress Betsy Blair, choreography assistant Jeanne Coyne, and Patricia Ward--and had three children: Kerry, Bridget, and Tim. He died in his sleep on 1996 of complications from a stroke.

Gene Kelly's last name, 'Kelly,' is an Irish name from the Gaelic word "Ceallaigh" meaning strife. It was first used south of Dublin and is said to refer to descendants of King Colla da Crioch, who died in 357 A.D. Other spellings include "Kellie" "O'Kelly," and "O'Killia." The first known Kelly to come to America was Brian Kelly in Virginia in 1635.

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