(orig. Tula Ellice Finklea; b Amarillo, Tex., 8 Mar. 1922; d Los Angeles, 17 Jun. 2008)
US dancer and actress. After studying with Bolm, Nico Charisse (her first husband), and Nijinska in California, she made her debut as a ballet dancer with Colonel de Basil's Ballets Russes in 1937. By 1946, however, she had moved on to commercial dance and in that world became one of the best-known dancers in the US, famous—like Betty Grable—for her long, elegant legs. She made several Hollywood films with Fred Astaire who once described her as ‘beautiful dynamite’; and she also partnered Gene Kelly in Singin' in the Rain (1952). She appeared, either as dancer or actress, in many films, including Mission to Moscow, Thousands Cheer, Ziegfeld Follies, The Harvey Girls, Till the Clouds Roll By, The Unfinished Dance, Fiesta, The Kissing Bandit, The Band Wagon, Brigadoon, It's Always Fair Weather, Meet Me in Las Vegas, Silk Stockings, and in Petit's 1960 film Black Tights. She made her Broadway debut as the Russian ballerina in Grand Hotel in 1992.
Subjects: Music — Dance.