Crying In The Rain

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BEVERLY HILLS: Gene Kelly, all-American dancer, choreographer and actor, best known for his joyous dance routine in "Singin' in the Rain", died in his sleep today at the age of 83 in Beverly Hills. TIME's Richard Schickel remembers Kelly for his "American flair, a robustness that hadn't been a part of movie dancing before." Often compared with Fred Astaire, a more romantic dancer, Kelly brought a unique athleticism and an earthy romanticism to movie dancing. He had very high aspirations for dance in the movies and brought innovations such as the 1945 film "Anchors Aweigh", where he shared a dance sequence with the famous cartoon character "Jerry the Mouse." The role earned him an Oscar nomination as best actor. As a choreographer, Kelly took movie dancing from staged sets to what appeared to be real life. The famous scene from "Singin' in the Rain" finds Kelly dancing on a real street, in real rain, splashing through real puddles. "Gene, in contrast to Fred Astaire, was a much earthier dancer. In comparison to everybody else he was a much more gutsy and masculine dancer," says Schickel.