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Stanley Donen

Stanley Donen

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: April 13, 1924 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Columbia, South Carolina, USA Profession: director, producer, choreographer, dancer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Between 1949 and 1959, Stanley Donen was either the key creative force behind or an essential element in the production of some of the most critically acclaimed musicals in Hollywood history. A former dancer, he befriended Gene Kelly, who joined forces with Donen on Broadway and later in feature films for the dancing legend like "On the Town" (1949) and what was widely considered the most popular musical ever made, "Singin' in the Rain" (1952). Donen also directed his idol Fred Astaire in "Royal Wedding" (1951) and "Funny Face" (1957), and helmed such crowd-pleasing titles as "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" (1954) and "Damn Yankees" (1958). In later years, he showed a deft touch with light comedies like "Indiscreet" (1958), as well as thrillers like "Charade" (1963). Though his directorial career wound down in the early 1980s, the visual and technical brilliance of Donen's body of work, which was rightfully feted with an honorary Academy Award in 1998, ensured that he would remain in the upper reaches of Hollywood's pantheon of musical directors as long as viewers continued to draw joy and inspiration from them.

Between 1949 and 1959, Stanley Donen was either the key creative force behind or an essential element in the production of some of the most critically acclaimed musicals in Hollywood history. A former dancer, he befriended Gene Kelly, who joined forces with Donen on Broadway and later in feature films for the dancing legend like "On the Town" (1949) and what was widely considered the most popular musical ever made, "Singin' in the Rain" (1952). Donen also directed his idol Fred Astaire in "Royal Wedding" (1951) and "Funny Face" (1957), and helmed such crowd-pleasing titles as "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" (1954) and "Damn Yankees" (1958). In later years, he showed a deft touch with light comedies like "Indiscreet" (1958), as well as thrillers like "Charade" (1963). Though his directorial career wound down in the early 1980s, the visual and technical brilliance of Donen's body of work, which was rightfully feted with an honorary Academy Award in 1998, ensured that he would remain in the upper reaches of Hollywood's pantheon of musical directors as long as viewers continued to draw joy and inspiration from them.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Love Letters (1999) Director
2.
  Blame It On Rio (1984) Director
3.
  Saturn 3 (1980) Director
4.
  Movie Movie (1978) Director
5.
  Lucky Lady (1975) Director
6.
  Little Prince, The (1974) Director
7.
  Staircase (1969) Director
8.
  Bedazzled (1967) Director
9.
  Two for the Road (1967) Director
10.
  Arabesque (1966) Director

CAST: (feature film)

5.
 The Big Show (1957)
6.
 Best Foot Forward (1943) Cadet
7.
 70th Annual Academy Awards, The (1998) Award Recipient (Honorary Award)
8.
 Nichols and May -- Take Two (1996) Interviewee
9.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1940:
Broadway debut (as chorus boy) in "Pal Joey," starring Gene Kelly
1941:
Worked as assistant choreographer (to Kelly) in Broadway musical "Best Foot Forward"
1943:
Went to Hollywood as assistant choreographer and member of dancing chorus of film version of "Best Foot Forward"
1944:
Worked with Kelly on choreography for "Cover Girl"
1949:
Debut as co-director and co-story writer (with Kelly) of "Strictly USA" number in "Take Me Out to the Ball Game"
1949:
Film co-directing debut (with Kelly), "On the Town"
1951:
Solo film directing debut, "Royal Wedding"
1952:
Co-directed the film classic "Singin' in the Rain" with Kelly
1954:
Helmed Oscar Best Picture nominated "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers"
1957:
First film as producer, "The Pajama Game"; also co-directed with George Abbott
1957:
Directed Audrey Hepburn in "Funny Face"; film nominated for Palme d'Or at Cannes
1958:
Reteamed with Abbott to direct musical "Damn Yankees!"
1963:
Produced and directed the stylish comedy-mystery "Charade," starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn
1967:
Directed Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney in "Two for the Road"
1978:
Helmed the homage to old Hollywood "Movie Movie"
1984:
Produced and directed last feature "Blame It on Rio"
1993:
Made Broadway debut as director of ill-fated musical "The Red Shoes"
1998:
Received honorary Academy Award for career achievement (March)
1999:
Made TV directorial debut with adaptation of A.R. Gurney's "Love Letters" (ABC)
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

"If we remade 'Singin' in the Rain' today, when Gene Kelly sing in the rain I think he'd be looking around to make sure he wasn't going to get mugged." --Donnen quoted in The New York Times, February 9, 1996.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Jeannie Coyne. Dancer, assistant choreographer. Married in 1948; divorced in 1949; met through mutual friendship with Gene Kelly (Coyne had been Kelly's student and later his assistant in the 1940s); married to Kelly from 1960 until her death in 1973.
companion:
Elizabeth Taylor. Actor. Together briefly in 1951.
wife:
Marion Marshall. Actor. Married in 1952; divorced.
wife:
Adele Dillingham. Married in 1960; divorced in 1970; died in 1990.
wife:
Yvette Mimieux. Actor. Married in 1972; divorced in 1982.
wife:
Pamari Donen. Married in 1990; divorced in 1994.
companion:
Elaine May. Actor, director, writer. Donen reportedly proposed in spring 2000.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Mordecai Donen. Dress shop manager.
mother:
Helen Donen.
son:
Peter Donen. Born in 1953; mother, Marion Marshall.
son:
Joshua Donen. Agent, producer. Born in 1955; mother, Marion Marshall; producer of "The Quick and the Dead" (1995); named senior vice president at William Morris in July 1996.
son:
Mark Donen. Born c. 1962.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Stanley Donen" Scarecrow Press
"Dancing on the Ceiling: Stanley Donen and His Movies" Alfred A. Knopf

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