Gene Kelly: A Life of Dance and Dreams

Alvin Yudkoff

Published by Watson-Guptill Publications, 1999
ISBN 10: 0823088138 / ISBN 13: 9780823088133
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Synopsis: In this biography, the dancer, choreographer, actor and director is depicted as the complex and difficult man his family, friends and colleagues knew. The text investigates not only his triumphs, but also his late career struggles, stormy relationships and political ideas.

From Publishers Weekly: The major strength of this accessible biography of the great stage and film dancer, choreographer, actor and director is Yudkoff's detailed treatment of Kelly's early years and his struggle to achieve professional success, although Kelly's later years devolve into something of a muddle. Kelly's mother enrolled her five children in dancing school and enjoined them to use their talent to supplement the blue-collar Irish Catholic family's income. Young Gene (1912-1996) complied by teaching children to dance at the local synagogue in Pittsburgh, before working his way through college by dancing in clubs. Later, he jettisoned law school to establish a family business, the Gene Kelly Studio of Dance. Kelly's big break came with the title role in the 1940 musical Pal Joey; he caught the eye of David O. Selznick, who brought him to Hollywood and gave him a part in For Me and My Gal (1942) with Judy Garland. Yudkoff vividly re-creates the famous Hollywood parties that Kelly and his first wife, Betsy Blair, hosted, featuring cutthroat charades and all night political discussions. His treatment of Kelly's personal life is less compelling, however: too much of it is based on speculation. Yudkoff touches on Kelly's left-wing politics during the red scare, but never really explains why Kelly was able to continue working while Blair was blacklisted. Unfortunately, he compresses into one chapter the last 45 years of Kelly's life, in which he remarried twice after a divorce from Blair, raised two children and undertook many creative projects. B&w illus. Agent, Linda Kroner. (Jan.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Title: Gene Kelly: A Life of Dance and Dreams
Publisher: Watson-Guptill Publications
Publication Date: 1999
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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