Fred Astaire
(Movies & TV)
Elaine May
(Movies & TV)
Funny Face
Cary Grant
(Movies & TV)
Ira Gershwin
Audrey Hepburn
(Movies & TV)

See also

Stanley Donen

Knowledge Identifier: +Stanley_Donen


Stanley Donen

American film director and choreographer whose most celebrated works are Singin in the Rain and On the Town, both of which he co-directed with actor and dancer Gene Kelly add

Category: Movies & TV

Born in 1924.

Countries: United States (68%), United Kingdom (6%), England (5%)

Education: undef.

Main connections: Fred Astaire, Elaine May, On the Town (film)

Linked to: University of South Carolina, American Broadcasting Company, Communist Party USA, House Un-American Activities Committee




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Stanley Donen was born in 1924 add something


"Funny Face" contains four of the original George and Ira Gershwin songs from the 1927 Broadway musical of the same name that had starred Fred Astaire, although it is not an adaptation of that show add something


The scene where the audience at a movie theater laugh when Kelly's character utters the trite dialogue "I love you, I love you" was a reference to the notorious incident where silent film star John Gilbert was similarly laughed at when uttering similar dialogue in the 1929 film "His Glorious Night" add something


Most critics were unenthusiastic; however, Jay Cocks praised the film for having "the glistening surface and full-throttle frivolity that characterized Hollywood films in the 1930s add something


The film is loosely based on Astaire's real-life career with his sister and early dancing partner Adele Astaire, who retired after marrying an English lord in 1932 add something


The film that had the strongest impact on him was the 1933 Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musical "Flying Down to Rio" add something


The second film is "Baxter's Beauties of 1933", a tribute to the extravagant musicals of Busby Berkely add something


Encouraged by his mother, he moved to New York City to pursue dancing on stage in the fall of 1940 add something


In the early 1940s Donen dated actress Judy Holliday while working on Broadway add something


Like both men, she moved to Hollywood in the early 1940s and worked as a dancer and choreographer at MGM. She and Donen eloped in 1948, but their marriage became strained add something


Donen and Kelly first met during the Broadway production of "Pal Joey", and became collaborators and friends during the production of "Best Foot Forward" in 1941 add something


Eventually Donen was fired from "Best Foot Forward", but in 1942 was the stage manager and assistant choreographer for Abbott's next show "Beat the Band" add something


In 1943 Arthur Freed, the successful producer of musical films at Metro Goldwyn Mayer, bought the film rights to "Best Foot Forward" and made a film version starring Lucille Ball and William Gaxton add something


In 1943 he went to Hollywood and worked as a choreographer before he and Kelly made "On the Town" in 1949 add something


Between 1944 and 1955 Donen and Kelly co-directed three films and choreographed the dance sequences in four other films add something


Donen accepted and choreographed three dance sequences with Kelly in 1944's "Cover Girl" add something


He was personally asked by Cary Grant to direct and began developing it while still under contract at MGM. With a plot that strongly resembles "On the Town", the film features Grant, Ray Walston and Larry Blyden as three navy officers on leave in San Francisco in 1944 add something


In 1944 Donen and Kelly choreographed the musical "Anchors Aweigh", released by MGM in 1945 and starring Kelly and Frank Sinatra add something


While Kelly completed his service in the U.S. Naval Air Service as a photographer from 1944 to 1946, Donen worked uncredited as a choreographer on musical films add something


In 1946, Donen briefly returned to Broadway to help choreograph dance numbers for "Call Me Mister" add something


"Royal Wedding" starred Astaire and Jane Powell as a brother-sister American dancing team performing in England during the occasion of the royal wedding of Elizabeth and Philip in 1947 add something


They married on April 14, 1948 and divorced in May 1951 add something


After the success of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game", Freed gave Donen and Kelly the chance to direct "On the Town", released in 1949 add something


This film would eventually become "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" in 1949 add something


In the late 1950s Donen signed a non-exclusive, three film deal with Columbia Pictures add something


They separated in 1950 and divorced in 1951 add something


Later in 1951 Donen made "Love Is Better Than Ever" add something


Donen and Marshall were married from 1952 until 1959 add something


In 1952 Donen and Kelly co-directed the musical "Singin' in the Rain", regarded as one of the greatest films ever made add something


In 1952 Kelly was at the height of his fame after the release of "An American in Paris" add something


Now established as a successful film director, Donen continued his solo career at MGM with "Fearless Fagan" in 1952 add something


Kelly's "An American in Paris" had been a surprise Best Picture winner at the Oscars in March 1952, and MGM decided to re-release it add something


Singin' in the Rain - "'Singin' in the Rain"' is a 1952 American musical comedy film directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, starring Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds, and choreographed by Kelly and Donen


Donen and Marshall had two sons together: Peter Donen, born in 1953, and Joshua Donen, born in 1955 add something


In 1953 Donen made the musical "Give a Girl a Break" add something


Its success was a surprise to MGM, which had invested more money in two of its other 1954 musicals: "Rose Marie" and "Brigadoon", starring Kelly add something


Later in 1954 Donen made "Deep in My Heart", a biography of the Hungarian-born American operetta composer Sigmund Romberg starring José Ferrer add something


"Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" was one of the highest grossing films of 1954 and appeared on many critics' 10 Best Films lists add something


Donen's relationship with Kelly deteriorated in 1955 during their final collaboration on "It's Always Fair Weather" add something


In 1955 Donen teamed up with Kelly for their third and final directorial collaboration add something


His last project for MGM was completing the final four days of shooting on "Kismet" in July 1955 for director Vincent Minnelli, who had other commitments add something


After three films in 1957 Donen became an independent producer and director add something


As part of the deal to secure the Gershwin music he wanted for "Funny Face", Donen was able to accept, and he and Abbott co-directed the film version in 1957 add something


He broke his contract with MGM to become an independent producer in 1957 add something


Kelly's marriage to Blair ended in 1957, after which he moved in with Coyne add something


Funny Face - "'Funny Face"' is a 1957 American musical film directed by Stanley Donen, containing assorted songs by George and Ira Gershwin


Donen and Grant inaugurated their company in 1958 with "Indiscreet", based on a play by Norman Krasna and starring Grant and Ingrid Bergman add something


In 1959, Donen's father Mordecai Donen died at 59 in Beaufort, South Carolina add something


Donen quickly re-teamed with Brynner and Kurnitz for the film "Surprise Package", released in 1960 add something


Grandon Productions produced Donen's next film: "The Grass Is Greener", released through Universal Pictures in 1960 add something


He continued to make hit films until the late 1960s, after which his career slowed down add something


Initially the film received only moderate reviews from critics such as Bosley Crowther and did not begin to receive widespread acclaim until the late 1960s add something


The film's fun-loving association with the Swinging London of the 1960s divided critics, but Roger Ebert called its satire "barbed and contemporary add something


They married in 1960 and had two children together add something


They married in 1960, had one son , and lived together in London add something


While in England in the early 1960s Donen was praised as an early influence on the then-emerging British New Wave film movement add something


Maurice Binder - The Bond producers first approached him after being impressed by his title designs for the 1960 Stanley Donen comedy film "The Grass Is Greener"


In 1963 Donen made one of his most praised films: "Charade", starring Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau, James Coburn, George Kennedy and Ned Glass add something


Robert Wagner - In the spring of 1963, after a brief courtship, Wagner, Marshall, and her two children from her marriage to Stanley Donen moved back to America


In 1966 Donen made another Hitchcock-inspired film: "Arabesque", starring Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren add something


In 1967 Donen made "Two for the Road", starring Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney with supporting roles by Eleanor Bron, William Daniels, and Jacqueline Bisset early in her career add something


The resulting film was "Bedazzled", an updated version of the Faust legend in 1967 add something


Barry Humphries - In 1967 his friendship with Cook and Moore led to his first film role, a cameo as "Envy" in the hit film "Bedazzled" starring Cook and Moore with Eleanor Bron, and directed by Stanley Donen


In 1969 Donen directed "Staircase", an adaptation of the autobiographical stage play by Charles Dyer with music by Moore add something


They separated in 1969 before divorcing in 1971 add something


After Donen's marriage to Adelle Beatty ended, he moved back to Hollywood in 1970 add something


After "Indiscreet" Donen made England his home until the early 1970s add something


Barbara Harris (actress) - Harris continued to appear in films of the 1970s-80s, including "Freaky Friday" with a young Jodie Foster, "Movie Movie" for director Stanley Donen, and "The North Avenue Irregulars" with Edward Herrmann and Cloris Leachman


They were married from 1972 until 1985, but remained close friends after their divorce add something


Yvette Mimieux - She was married to film director Stanley Donen from 1972 until their divorce in 1985


It was released in 1974 and was a financial disaster add something


It was re-released in 1975 to critical and popular success add something


The film is a remake of the 1977 Claude Berri film "Un moment d'égarement" and was written by Gelbart and Charlie Peters add something


It starred George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere, Red Buttons, Michael Kidd and Eli Wallach and premiered in competition at the 29th Berlin International Film Festival in 1978 add something


In 1980 Donen made the science fiction film "Saturn 3", starring Kirk Douglas, Farrah Fawcett and Harvey Keitel add something


In the early 1980s Donen was attached to direct an adaptation of Stephen King's "The Dead Zone" and worked with writer Jeffrey Boam on the script add something


Blame It on Rio - "'Blame it on Rio"' is a 1984 romantic comedy film, written by Charlie Peters and Larry Gelbart and directed by Stanley Donen


In 1986 Donen produced the televised ceremony of the 58th Academy Awards, which included a musical performance of the song "Once a Star, Always a Star" with June Allyson, Leslie Caron, Marge Champion, Cyd Charisse, Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel, Ann Miller, Jane Powell, Debbie Reynolds, and Esther Williams add something


Among its many honors, "Singin' in the Rain" was included in the first group of films to be inducted into the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress in 1989 and has been included on Sight and Sound's prestigious list of "Top Ten Films" twice, in 1982 and in 2002 add something


His mother Helen Donen died in 1989 at 84 in South Carolina, and Donen delivered the eulogy at her funeral add something


In 1989 Donen was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from the University of South Carolina add something


He briefly returned to the stage as a director in the 1990s and again in 2002 add something


They were married from 1990 until 1994 add something


In 1992 Donen said "I'm grateful to him, but I paid back the debt, ten times over add something


Patricia Kaas - In 1994 Kaas was offered the main role in the film "Falling In Love Again" by the American director Stanley Donen


In 1998 Donen was awarded an Honorary Academy award "in appreciation of a body of work marked by grace, elegance, wit and visual innovation add something


Donen's current longtime companion is writer and director Elaine May, who he has dated since 1999 and claimed to have proposed marriage to "about 172 times add something


Donen's final television film was the made-for-TV movie "Love Letters", which aired on ABC in April 1999 add something


It was remade by director Harold Ramis in 2000 add something


With the deaths in the 2000s of Billy Wilder, George Sidney, Elia Kazan, Robert Wise, and Jules Dassin, Stanley Donen became the last surviving notable film director of Hollywood's Golden Age add something


Donen had wanted to make a theatrical film version of the play, but was unable to secure financing from any major studio and instead took the project to ABC. In 2002 Donen directed Elaine May's musical play "Adult Entertainment" starring Danny Aiello and Jeannie Berlin in Stamford, Connecticut add something


In 2002 it was remade as "The Truth About Charlie", directed by Jonathan Demme add something


He died of a heart attack in 2003 at age 50 add something


It received poor reviews upon release, but was reevaluated by film critic Armond White in 2007 add something


He was the subject of the 2010 documentary "Stanley Donen: You Just Do It" add something


Donen's work influenced later directors of film musicals Bill Condon, Rob Marshall and Baz Luhrmann The 2011 film "The Artist" pays tribute to "Singin' in the Rain" , and Donen praised the film after attending its Los Angeles premiere add something


In November 2012 the musical "What A Glorious Feeling" depicted both the making of "Singin' in the Rain" and the love triangle between Donen, Kelly and Coyne add something


In December 2013 it was announced that Donen was in pre-production for a new film co-written with Elaine May, to be produced by Mike Nichols add something


Elaine May - In December 2013 it was announced that Stanley Donen was in pre-production for a new film co-written with May, to be produced by Mike Nichols


In celebration of Donen's 90th birthday in 2014, a retrospective of his work was held from July to August in Columbia, North Carolina add something


On February 21, 2019, Donen died at age 94 from heart failure in New York City add something