Veteran Hollywood musicals director Stanley Donen has died aged 94 according to one of his sons, Mark. The director was perhaps best known for the 1952 musical Singin’ in the Rain, which he co-directed with its star Gene Kelly. His other films included On the Town, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Funny Face.
A former Broadway dancer, Donen moved into cinema as a choreographer, then as a director.
He translated his love for dance to the big screen with the help of Kelly and Fred Astaire. Singin’ in the Rain was named the greatest movie musical of all time by the American Film Institute in 2006.
In 1998, Donen was awarded an honorary Oscar by director Martin Scorcese “in appreciation for a body of work marked by grace, elegance, wit and visual innovation”.
In his acceptance speech, he performed an impromptu song and dance routine while clutching his Oscar.
The key to a successful film, he once said, was a great script, great songs and great actors. “When filming starts, you show up and you stay the hell out of the way.”
Edgar Wright, who directed films including Hot Fuzz, paid tribute to the breadth of Donen’s work, from musicals to thrillers, while Mission Impossible filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie said that Donen “understood when to move and when to let others do the moving”.
RIP the great Stanley Donen, some feat to have multiple classics in both musicals, but also comedies, thrillers, dramas. To have made On The Town, Singin’ In The Rain, 7 Brides For 7 Brothers, It’s Always Fair Weather, Funny Face, Charade, Two For the Road, Bedazzled….just wow. pic.twitter.com/MeArtLTaZE
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) February 23, 2019
Image: Singin’ in the Rain starred Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds