(b Pittsburgh, 3 Aug. 1912; d Beverly Hills, Calif., 2 Feb. 1996)
US actor, dancer, choreographer, and film director. He studied dance as a child, and while still pursuing his academic education (at Pittsburgh University) was staging his own shows and running a dance school. In 1939 he went to New York where he performed in musicals, including the lead role in Pal Joey (1940). His dance style was a fusion of tap, soft shoe, ballet, modern, jazz, and folk, and was executed with an unusual gymnastic attack. He also possessed a strong cinematic personality and became involved in directing the films in which he performed (often in collaboration with Stanley Donen), including On the Town (1949), An American in Paris (1951, with Vincente Minnelli), and Singin' in the Rain (1952). In all these films Kelly sought new ways of integrating dance into film. However, his most ambitious ballet film, Invitation to the Dance (1952, released 1956), was his least successful. He created the ballet Pas de dieux (mus. Gershwin) for Paris Opera in 1960 and was recipient of the Légion d'honneur in the same year.