Cyd Charisse, the dancer and actress who appeared in such film musicals as Singin' in the Rain, The Band Wagon, and Silk Stockings, died Tuesday (6/17/2008) in Los Angeles after suffering an apparent heart attack; she was 86. Born Tula Ellice Finklea in Texas, the young dancer was classically trained in Los Angeles and at 14 became part of the Ballet Russe, traveling through the US and Europe and performing under the names "Celia Siderova" and "Maria Istromena." She signed a seven-year contract with the studio, was given the exotic first name "Cyd," and was seen as a featured dancer in numerous films such as Ziegfeld Follies, where she performed with Fred Astaire. Her breakthrough came in the 1952 classic Singin' in the Rain when she was paired with Gene Kelly in the climactic "Broadway Melody" number near the end of the film. Throughout the 1950s she starred in a number of other classic musicals: with Kelly again in Brigadoon and It's Always Fair Weather and with Astaire in The Band Wagon in Silk Stockings. As the big-screen Hollywood musical began to wane in popularity, Charisse switched to dramatic films, and also appeared in numerous television shows. In 1992 she made her Broadway debut in the stage version of Grand Hotel, and made an appearance in Janet Jackson's 1990 video "Alright."- Info from www.imdb.com
Cyd Charisse was one of my favorite people to watch. My favorite film was Singin' In The Rain. I loved her style and the way she owned the scene. She was an amazing dancer and will truly be missed.