Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Goodnight, Cyd....

I am devastated to learn that my all-time favorite dancer died today of a heart attack. Yes, I adored Ann Miller, but it was Cyd Charisse I loved.

She was 87. Her husband, singer Tony Martin, is 95. They were married over 60 years.

Cyd Charisse couldn't act, bless her heart. She couldn't sing either. But her legs were insured for one million dollars (each!) and in her MGM musicals, just wait for her to get down and dance. She embodied elegance and grace, and when the number called for it--"Beautiful dynamite," as Fred Astaire described her.

My favorite scene must be the "Girl-Hunt" from Bandwagon, or "Heather on the Hill" from Brigadoon, or "Broadway Melody" from Singin' in the Rain, or actually maybe it's the clip below, "Frankie and Johnny", the only reason to watch a movie called "Meet Me in Las Vegas."



"He was her mate, but he couldn't fly straight."


She was the only star I've ever stalked. When I lived in Los Angeles, I used to drive down her street (Calle Vista) in Beverly Hills, hoping for a sighting. Since then, I subscribed to a French fan-site, LEGS, which sends me links to their Cyd Charisse "Photo of the Month" each month without fail. I collected her glamour shots, and as I write this Cyd watches me from the wall above my computer.

One of the characters from A Chorus Line says he wanted to be her. That's me, too. I always wanted to be her. Watching her makes me smile. They said MGM had "more stars than there are in the heavens," and Cyd Charisse sparkled like the sun.

Sweet Dreams.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Such talent, class, and the best gams in the biz.

They don't make em like Cyd Charisse anymore! May she Rest in Peace...

Anonymous said...

Jesse, Wow, you and I see "eye to eye" on this one. I will watch every movie that has Cyd Charisse no matter how trivial a role. A movie that haunted me from my impressionable teen years was (a real pot boiler) Sombrero. Her spectacular dance, ending on an Aztec sacrificial altar, is still in my memory. I can not find this DVD to buy/rent. Dynamite cast: Cyd Charisse (Lola de Terrano), Anna maria Pier Angelie, Ricardo Montalban (Pepe Gonzales), Nina Foche, Vittorio Gassman (has a brain tumor), Yvonne de Carlo, Rick Jason, Jose Greco and----the father of Rita Hayworth, Eduardo Cansino. How about that for an ethnic cast?
Cyd, born Tula Ellice Finklea (no wonder she changed it) was also known as Felia Sidorova (Ballet Russe), hence the "Cyd", first marriage to Nico Charisse (great last name)and Lily Norwood ( early movie name) Your bored yet? bruce (movie nut).

Mark in DE said...

Fortunately we have her performances to enjoy over and over again.

Mark :-)

Anonymous said...

Good Thursday Jesse, I can see you have a penchant for exceptional women dancers (possibly all dancers?) One dancer, mainly black-and-white from the 30's and 40's, was Eleanor Powell. Not as elegant as Cyd, her tapping and high kicks were phenomenal. For some reason, she possibly spent some of her time in my home state (Montana). People there love her and consider her "one of their own". Her tap dancing rivaled or exceeded that of Ann Miller. Fred Astaire appeared in one movie with her, and was rumored to say, her talent was so exceptional (greater than his?)that he would not dance with her again. movie nut.

Anonymous said...

Four Letter Word---you probably saw the beautiful photo ad of you and Charlie behind the front overleaf of TLA video catalog? movie nut.

Jesse Archer said...

Hey Movie Nut! Yes, I know Eleanor Powell. There's a number she does at the end of "Rosalie" that is particularly stunning!

But Cyd Charisse---wow. She was slinky like a feline.

And she had much better teeth than dear Eleanor.

Anonymous said...

Well, you are right about the teeth. There was something a little outstanding about them.

Anonymous said...

Again, Jesse, Was Rosalie that West Point, Military dance one with Nelson Eddy? I guess I must get it from Netflix to find out. Incidently, Four Letter word is on my Netflix wish-list movie nut.