Hollywood dance legend Cyd Charisse dead at 86

Jun 17, 2008 at 6:14 p.m. ET

Long legged Hollywood screen siren Cyd Charisse died Tuesday of an apparent heart attack.

Hollywood has lost a legend

Charisse was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in LA on Monday after falling ill at home, according to her publicist.She was 86.

 

The classically trained dancer gained fame in the 1940's heyday of Techincolor musicals, dancing with none other than two of the biggest stars of their day: Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire.

 

"She wasn't a tap dancer, she's just beautiful, trained, very strong in whatever we did. When we were dancing, we didn't know what time it was," Astaire said of her in a 1983 interview.

 

Her breakthrough role was opposite Kelly in the 1952 classic "Singin' in the Rain." The duo would go on to appear together in three more films: "Brigadoon," "It's Always Fair Weather" and "Invitation to Dance."

 

She also enjoyed a thriving nightclub career with second husband Tony Martin.

 

In 1996, Charisse, a former ballerina, said of making movies, "Ballet is a closed world and very rigid; MGM was a fairyland. You'd walk down the lot, seeing all these fabulous movies being made with the greatest talent in the world sitting there. It was a dream to walk through that lot."

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