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Charisse, Cyd (1921–)

Charisse, Cyd (1921–)

American actress and dancer. Name variations: Lily Norwood. Born Tula Ellice Finklea, Mar 8, 1921, Amarillo, Texas; aunt of actress Nana Visitor (b. 1957); trained with Adolf Bolm, Nico Charisse, and Bronislava Nijinska; m. Nico Charisse (her ballet instructor), 1939 (div. 1947); m. Tony Martin (singer), 1948.

At 13, joined the Ballet Russe, dancing under the names Maria Istomina and Felia Sidorova; as Lily Norwood, made film debut in a bit part in Something to Shout About (1943); as Cyd Charisse, signed with MGM and appeared in The Harvey Girls (1946), followed by Ziegfeld Follies, Till the Clouds Roll By, Fiesta, The Unfinished Dance, On an Island with You, The Kissing Bandit, Words and Music, Singin' in the Rain, The Band Wagon, Easy to Love, Brigadoon, Deep in My Heart, Sombrero, Invitation to the Dance, It's Always Fair Weather and Silk Stockings, among others; partners included Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire; made Broadway debut in Grand Hotel (1992).

See also autobiography with husband Tony Martin, The Two of Us (1976).

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