Uncovering the legend of Gene Kelly

Gene Kelly: romantic, multilingual - and boy could he dance

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Gene Kelly and his wife Patricia.

Gene Kelly and his wife Patricia.

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Patricia Ward Kelly talks about Hollywood legend Gene Kelly, the man who loved to dance.

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WHAT was it like living with late Hollywood legend Gene Kelly? Audiences will find out from someone who knows at shows in Sydney and Melbourne in February.

Gene Kelly: The Legacy, an evening with Patricia Ward Kelly, will offer a unique perspective on classic film and Hollywood.

Patricia, the wife and biographer of the legendary dancer, director and choreographer, will bring rare and intimate portraits of the celebrated artist to the stage.

The couple met at the Smithsonian in Washington in 1985. He was the host-narrator for a television special about the museum and she was a writer on the project.

Soon after, Kelly invited her to California to write his memoir. They married in 1990.

During their decade together, Patricia recorded her husband's words in some format nearly every day.

"Gene wanted to be remembered for changing the look of dance on film and for creating a particularly American style of dance," she said.

"He was also a true Renaissance man who spoke multiple languages, wrote poetry and very often read a book a day.

"These are just some of the little-known dimensions to Gene that I reveal in the Legacy show."

Patricia Ward Kelly.

Patricia Ward Kelly.

He was also a romantic.

"Audiences will experience this when they hear his voice in rare recordings and when I read the valentines and notes he used to leave for me around the house," Patricia said.

"Toward the end of his life Gene travelled with his own one-man show and I will never forget the effect he had on the audience.

"He sat in a chair on stage and, even in a very big hall, people had the feeling that they were in the living room with him just having a chat."

That had a big impact on how Patricia designed her show as "more of a conversation".

Gene Kelly starred in some of the most loved Hollywood films including Anchors Away, Ziegfeld Follies, An American in Paris, The Three Musketeers and Singin' In The Rain.

He died in 1996 at the age of 83.

Gene Kelly: The Legacy -

Sydney State Theatre, February 12. Book HERE

Melbourne Recital Centre, February 13. Book HERE

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