A Look Beyond Gene Kelly’s Dancing Feet


By Kenny Jones, Special to the Independent

Gene Kelly was the dancer’s dancer. He was proud, stylish and full of vitality so when I met up with his wife Patricia this week, it came as no surprise to find that she was made of the same stuff.

Patricia Kelly was Gene’s wife at the time of his death in 1996 and she will be performing at the Laguna Playhouse on Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 29-30, with her show, “Gene Kelly- The Legacy.”

Patricia is a very proud wife and she delivers her testimony on life with Gene with reverence and respect, but most of all she speaks with the love of someone who shared time with their one soul mate.

In a show about her late husband, Patricia Kelly reveals much about the man behind the smile. Photo courtesy of Laguna Playhouse.
In a show about her late husband, Patricia Kelly reveals much about the man behind the smile.
Photo courtesy of Laguna Playhouse.

Gene Kelly was a writer, dancer, director, actor and choreographer and this production is a look back at both Gene the man and Gene the artiste.

I am sure many of Gene’s friends and colleagues could testify to his attitude, his work ethic and his amazing talent, but it takes a wife to know a man to the core. Patricia Kelly shares her insights of her husband with an audience that ranges from young, would-be dancers who want to learn about a mentor to their grandparents who wish to take a walk down memory lane and relive some of Gene’s amazing life.

As a Gene Kelly fan myself, I wanted to know what he was like at home, what he read and what music he listened to. It appears that Gene had an insatiable appetite for the written word and devoured a book a day and would read everything from Charles Dickens to the New Yorker.

He was also a precise man and he did not like slackers. He was old school and believed in punctuality and reliability and values that are slowly slipping away in today’s ever-more carefree society.

“The Legacy” is a show that will reveal not only his capabilities as a performer, but will also allow you to share his passions, his friends and take a peek at his domestic life. It will give you an insight into how a working class, American-Irish Catholic boy from Pittsburgh rose to become one of the most innovative and hard working men in show business, but most of all you will learn about the man behind the smile.

Kenny Jones, of Newport Beach, works as a radio presenter for Talk Radio Europe, based in Spain.


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