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|Also Known As:||Tula Ellice Finklea,Lily Norwood,Lily Norwood||Died:||June 17, 2008|
|Born:||March 8, 1922||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Amarillo, Texas||Profession:||Cast ... dancer actor|
Sinuous, dark-haired dancer with impossibly long legs who enlivened some of the finest MGM musicals of the 1950s. Classically trained yet very much a product of the post-"Oklahoma", semi-modern dance school, the dynamic Charisse was one of the finest dancers ever to achieve star status in Hollywood. While her acting and singing abilities were decidedly modest, her grace, serenity and earthy sensuality (somewhat reminiscent of the more fiery Ava Gardner, whom she strongly resembled) made her presence a decided plus. Charisse starred opposite musical comedy luminaries Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly in such films as "The Band Wagon" (1953), "Brigadoon" (1954), "It's Always Fair Weather" (1955) and "Silk Stockings" (1957) and later appeared in straight dramatic fare like Nicholas Ray's "Party Girl (1958) and Vincente Minnelli's "Two Weeks in Another Town" (1962) before her film career petered out. Charisse later did occasional night club work, often with her second husband, crooner Tony Martin, in which she continued to display the dancing talent which had earned her stardom. After years of performing in summer stock musicals, she made her Broadway debut in 1991 in the musical "Grand Hotel", starring in the role originated in the 1932 film by Greta Garbo and on the Broadway stage by Liliane Montevecchi.
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