Diary of a Dancer [entries|friends|calendar]
Cyd Charisse

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1954 [29 Apr 2006|01:32pm]
Well, my dears, I have been MIA for quite some time and my sincerest apologies. I have been incredibly busy. Filming of BRIGADOON with Gene Kelly has begun (finally). There's another musical being filmed called SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS, and Gene's friend Stanley Donen is directing it. It's a cute little B-musical. MGM has their money banked in us, but Gene was simply fuming over not being able to shoot on location in Scotland. The film will be darling, though, so hold on to your knickers ;)
dancin' in the dark

[14 Mar 2006|11:29pm]
I have been talking to little Shirley Temple. She is such a doll! So charming and polite. She calls me Miss Cyd, and I adore that.

Filming, filming, filming. As usual.
1 friend dancin' in the dark

1953 [03 Mar 2006|01:11am]
filmed EASY TO LOVE with Esther, Van Johnson and Tony. :) It's a darling film ... Tony and I have a short appeareance in it. I play a lipstick model, and he sings to me.

*off subject*
Tony is simply amazing!!

*end topic*

next on my list of films to churn out: THE BANDWAGON with my beloved Fred Aataire!! FINALLY I get to work with Fred professionally, and not just dancing at a party or for fun in the studio dance halls. To say I am excited would be an understatement. Last year Gene, this year Fred. And I'm told I'll be starring in Gene's next picture BRIGADOON as well. Gene said we're going to Scotland to film it!! That will be breathtaking.
1 friend dancin' in the dark

late 1952 [17 Feb 2006|10:26pm]
Well, here it is, another year gone by. I'm just about done with my cameo in a musical called Singin' In the Rain starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, and a young beauty who's been in only a handful of films, Debbie Reynolds. I remember at the beginning, when I was approached to do this picture, walking in to a rehearsal space, Debbie was practicing tap so hard her feet were bloody and blistered when she took off her shoes. Bless her heart!

My number with Gene is erotic and thrilling and, most obvious, colorful.

I have a feeling this film will make musical history!


visual proofCollapse )

Gene choreographed it so you can't tell I'm taller than he is. Ooh, that just got under his skin. I love the man dearly, but he has such issues with being shorter than women. He's very domineering ... which, I suppose, is a bit of a turn on. There's no denying he's an attractive man.

I was sitting at home with Tony, the boys were asleep, I was icing down my feet. Tony said, "I can always tell when you dance with Gene because you come home covered in bruises."

I said, "How do you know we were dancing?"

Joking, of course, but I had to admit to Tony if I'd never met him, and if Gene were single, I'd be very inclined to wonder what could happen... (there, my secret is out).

But I believe some truth has to be in film roles, some sort of attraction, even if very small, or else it appears to be fake on that giant screen.

*laughs with Tony*

Another story from this set: I'm not a smoker. I got very sick because the crew was trying to teach me how to smoke a cigarette. In the film you'll only see me take one small drag and blow smoke into Gene's face. It took numerous takes, and I really did feel ill because of it.

Oh and the wind dance ... We used the entire length of the sound stage. The size of two football fields. This part of the ballet is my favorite. The jazz dance is erotic, this i just thrilling and romantic. To stand and dance with hig-powered fans blowing the viel at just the right moment ... it's proving to be very difficult to make it appear effortless on screen.
4 friends dancin' in the dark

REMINDER [16 Feb 2006|11:11am]
Here are the photo themes for every month, you can also suggest other photo-posting themes, games, etc.

Would anyone like to do a contest? I'll post a photo from our beloved classic era, and whoever makes up the funniest theme we'll have a banner for them and maybe they can have something a little extra special or something on here until the next contest winner?
1 friend dancin' in the dark

1952 [16 Feb 2006|11:02am]
Well, I've finished filming Wild North with Stewart Granger. It's good to be back at MGM. I was at Universal for a short while last year to film Mark of the Renegade with Ricardo (Montalban), and it was nice, but it's certainly no MGM ;)

Wild North is a cute film ... I play and Indian, or is it Native American? They prefer Native American, but MGM is calling it "Indian."


moreCollapse )
3 friends dancin' in the dark

September 1950 [20 Dec 2005|07:40pm]

2 photosCollapse )


Thankfully, Nicky isn't having any jealousy issues. The last couple of months it seemed everyone was telling me about problems that would occur in Nicky. It's only been a month, but so far, so good. Tony explained it well to him that a new baby in the family didn't mean we didn't love him (Nicky, that is) any less. It just meant we "have more love to give around." So I think, being seven that he understands. (Thankfully)

I only have a few short months left of my scheduled year off and then it's off to Universal International (they're "borrowing me" as they put) to film with Ricardo (Montalban) once again in a picture they're calling Mark of the Renegade - it's a Mexican tale. Probably won't even be shown in the US, but it'll be seen in Europe and Latin America (dubbed, of course).
19 friends dancin' in the dark

November 1949 [16 Dec 2005|09:45pm]
East Side, West Side cast Cyd Charisse as a young model who helps a playboy played by James Mason, and thereby earns the friendship of his wife played by Barbara Stanwyck. The film was modestly successful but Cyd was so lovely one forgets she's a dancer doing a straight acting job.

So say the crtics.

And apparently everyone else. Well, I think Babara, who's "too good to deal with less experienced actresses" is turning red with anger. She's being over shadowed by "some dancer." Everything Tony has read to me has been good - towards me.

Well, the big wigs at MGM are thinking they have a huge star under contract and are wanting to cast me opposite Gene Kelly as a French girl in his next film An American In Paris.

"This will be your launch into stardom, Cyd." said one Louie B. Mayer. He went off for what seemed like hours on a huge tangent about the campaining, promoting, filming, schedule, every detail he went over while I was trying to get a word in inch wise. Eventually, I gave up and decided to wait till he was done talking.

Which eventually he did stop - and asked, "Well, how does that sound?"

"It all sound wonderful and perfect and everything I could ever ask for, but..."

"But what? Christ, I'm handing you your fame!"

"I'm sorry, I have to say no."

"No?! To a Gene Kelly picture?!"

"Yes, exactly."

"Why?!"

"I'm pregnant, Mr. Mayer."

"You're what?!"

"You know, pregnant."

"Why did you do that?!"

"Well, it just happened, and I'm very happy it did."

And with that - I walked out of the office. Oh he had one of those legendary tantrums as I walked down that long white fur rug through that giant white room to the tall doors and left. I left Mr. Mayer rolling on the floor, over that white rug, to go home for the announcement party.


I feel slightly sad, though. But there's no way I could film before I started showing. I think this will be the toughest decision of my life. It certainly sounds like my stardom would be launched with a film like this one.

But ...

I'M PREGNANT!!!
19 friends dancin' in the dark

late fall 1949 [05 Dec 2005|10:03pm]
filming on east side, west side has wrapped and all i hae to say is "finally!" i don't know if i could stand one more day of Babara Stanwyk and her cold attitude toward me. that woman is absolutely frigid! pardo me for saying that, but i've been holding back for months now. more than a few times she would ruin a perfectly good take because i was "an amature" and wasn't "really performing".

well, despite all that, i think the film will be something really great. here are some photos (ten to be exact)...

I was married to a man other women pursued.Collapse )


oh ... i'm told my next project will be TENSION a film directed by John Berry.
plot summaryCollapse )
i play Mary Chanler - another supporting role.
2 friends dancin' in the dark

Summer 1949 [25 Nov 2005|07:47pm]
Well kids, I'm making another picture again. *It's good to be back*

Tony and I got a good laugh from our mutual confession that we enjoyed our time as newlyweds together and we're having so much fun as man & wife, but we were both very anxious to get back to work.

What can I say? I love to dance and I love to be in front of those cameras being scrutinized.

Well this picture is called East Side, West Side and I'm a big supporting cast member along with Barbara Stanwyk, Ava Gardner, James Mason, and Van Heflin. I play Rosa Senta, and the plot is this: Brandon (James Mason) and Jessie Bourne (Barbara Stanwyk) have been married to each other for many years. A few years ago, Brandon had an extra-martial affair with Isabel Lorrison (Ava Gardner). Now she has come back to New York intending to start over with the relationship once again. Meanwhile, Jessie is attracted to Mark Dwyer (Van Heflin), just arrived from a secret mission in Italy.

Sound kind of cheesy? I know. But it's turning out to be very interesting, really. My character befriends Brandon and Jessie.

Speaking of Barbara Stanwyk ... she doesn't like me at all. She says she has no time to deal with "amatures" and she even tried to get me replaced! Can you believe it?! Well, I won't tell you what I think about her now ... but I simply adore Ava! She is hilarious, and so beautiful. She's everything I'm not, and somehow that makes us get along very well. I'm happy to know her.
5 friends dancin' in the dark

1949 [10 Nov 2005|01:32am]
I took out a new contract with MGM, one that guaranteed me time off to settle into married life. It was time to draw up a new contract anyway - they've finally decided on one long term contract instead of those silly little short term ones. It's so much hassle going through renewals every year.

Anyway, in the last summer I'll begin working on a picture. I don't know which one yet, but until then I'm enjoying being a wife and mother.
2 friends dancin' in the dark

[28 Oct 2005|09:10pm]
Well MGM has finally done it - photos of me as a married woman.


see hereCollapse )
8 friends dancin' in the dark

1948 [27 Oct 2005|07:52pm]
I've begun filming Words & Music and I'm having a great time. Mickey Rooney is simply hilarious ... and a bit of a pervert, in a comedic way of course. First day on set he came up behind me, I was standing in a leotard, toe shoes, and tights (on my way to rehearse with Dee Turnell when we were called in for a quick meeting) and he said, "Look at those damn things. They're as tall as me." He just kept staring at them, practically drooling.

Once again Gene (Kelly) and I are working in the same film without actually working together. Our rehearsals are in similar time slots so we may see each other from time to time in passing. One day, I promise you, I will work with him. I'm determined. He's just horribly talented, and would bring out the best in me. So would Fred (Astaire) - they are the two men I want to work with, it's a dream and a goal of mine that will be accomplished.

If only I could get MGM to cast me in leads, instead of supporting or ensemble roles where I end up becoming a supporting role to Judy Garland or Virginia O'Brien ... not that I mind - I adored working with those two women last year, but I'm just wanting to progress, because I know I'm good enough to do so.
8 friends dancin' in the dark

1948 [26 Oct 2005|09:26pm]
Dear Gene,
False alarm. It was just simply headaches
and nauesa like I thought it was.
Wouldn't it have been wonderful, though?
I do want to be a mother again. Giving
Tony a son or daughter would send him over
the moon, too. He does so well with Nicky.

Cyd
2 friends dancin' in the dark

1949 [24 Oct 2005|06:52am]
[ mood | sleepy ]

Ever have one of those days when waking up early just should not be an option?

It's going to be a long day...

*yawns*

That warm bed is just screaming my name. Why do nights go by so quickly?

8 friends dancin' in the dark

1948 [20 Oct 2005|09:29pm]
I had a small part on the film Kissing Bandit with Anne Miller and Ricardo Montalban. We perform a dance number - very entricate and the energy it seems to have is something I've never experienced before. We knew it'd be something great to see when it's 40feet tall, but once we were in front of the cameras, something magnetic happened. You'll just have to see the film to know what I'm talking about, but I believe your socks will be knocked off :)


I'm going to have a rather significant role in Words & Music, which begins filming in a couple of days. It's all about the life and work of Richard Rogers (played by Tom Drake) and Lorenz Hart (Mickey Rooney). I play Margo Grant, the girlfrien of Perry Como's character Eddie Lorrison Anders who gets to perform in a couple of the Rogers/Hart early productions when they hired friends because it was not only cheaper, but because they felt their friends deserved to have their names recognized - sort of to start their careers off. I'm really very excited.

After that I'll take a few months off. Since Tony & I have been married we've both still been working. Well, everything was pretty much lined up since last year, and our wedding was rather quick and sudden, so there was nothing to do, but work. Lou Mayer wanted me to continue working back-to-back, but I told him no. I want time to spend with my husband, and Nicky, and get settled into this whole marriage business. Right now we're more like initmate roommates. I want to be husband and wife.
8 friends dancin' in the dark

June 1948 [13 Oct 2005|10:19pm]
Filming for On An Island With You has wrapped. It was such a wonderful experience and I know most people say that, but it's just you an I here, no publicity, not reporters - just my sincerest confirmation that I enjoyed myself.
I got to know Esther, Ricardo, and Jimmy better, and Peter Lawford is just such a sweet, caring, funny, British man whom I'm so happy to have met in person and to now know.

Esther and I ... it's no secret that she and I got off to a rocky start last year during a very quiet dinner in which she left early and that on the set of Fiesta (also last year) she was having so many things going on that we were unable to really talk or get a chance to even become acquaintances.

This time we were able to spend time together. We played best friends, and well, I really needed us to be friends off camera as well. I didn't expect us to become best friends, we're too much alike (and we both agree on that), but I got what I wanted and I hope we stay in touch.

Tony and Howard were back and forth across the country - most of our film was shot in Florida. Florida is no Hawaii, but if it's what MGM wanted, it's what MGM got.

Ricardo has become a dancing partner I love. His Latin style Flamenco blends beautifully with my ballet so that we're each doing a little of the other's style. When it's on that gigantic movie screen II think it will take your breath away. That, and Esther in a swimsuit (right, fellas? *wink*).

Now, the really big news.

Only a few of you knew about this, it wasn't a big Hollywood hooplah in my opinion and we wanted it small.

Tony and I are married. It happen May 15, 1948 and I'm so happy! ♥

I realized that even though I was eternally grateful to Howard for facilitating my divorce and getting me the best doctors in the world when I was injured ... that's all there was to our relationship. Howard is such a wonderful, warm person and he shared a lot of secrets with me that I will take to my grave, but he wasn't the man for me.

Tony, with his silly face, his charisma, charm, class, humor, simply everything about him. Most inportantly, he's adopted Nicky as his own. Nicky calls him Pop and his name was legally changed to Nicholas Charisse-Martin. I'm still Cyd Charisse in films, but in my real life I'm now: Mrs. Tony Martin!

Don't you just love it!

promos from On An Island With You and photos of Tony and ICollapse )
14 friends dancin' in the dark

1948 [05 Oct 2005|10:46pm]
Things are in full swing - I'm back to pique condition, Tony is here with me, Esther is feeling better (after what she's been though I didn't expect her to "bounce back", as they say, 100%) - she swims even when we're not filming or rehearsing. I gather her swimming is like my dancing - it's always there, always expressive, always a way to release and calm down. We're much more talkative and friendly toward one another on this film (compared to Fiesta last year). I like her very much - we're very much alike, which I suppose it what keeps us from being terribly close friends. I do enjoy working with her, though. We joke about how we feel as if we're in a constant state of deja vu - every script we work on seems to be the same - her with her water ballets, and me with my dancing ballets. Well, as long as we're working and having fun with it more importantly we're not going to complain. Whine a little, but not complain ;)

Tony ... Tony is wonderful! When I'm with him there's no one else in the world (besides Nicky, of course, but that's different). Howard is a dear and I enjoy his company and all the adventures we've been on, all the wonderful things I've been able to experience, and I'm forever indebited to him for the care he bestowed upon me during my divorce from Nico and the knee injury. But Tony is something else entirely. I'm head over heels for him, and that frustrates him to no end HAHA You see, I'm not entirely ready for marriage again. It's spring time and I guess that's what has the nesting urge in him - everything in life is coupling up, marrying in a way and bringing new generations - he speaks of marriage and of children and wants it right away. Well, I do want that, and to be with him would be better than any Heaven I've heard of - but not yet. No, not just yet.
6 friends dancin' in the dark

1948 [27 Sep 2005|08:48pm]
Well, it's happened. I've healed. I'm fully recovered and back to work on On An Island With You here in Florida ... explaining my lack of updates recently. I apologize to anyone who may have been even slightly interested in my hum-drum life ;) Thank you to everyone's kind words and well wishes. They were appreciated.

Howard flew me to Florida himself. Non-stop from California to Florida, in what is called an amphibian seaplane - you know, the kind that can land on water. Well, it would have been non-stop if I hadn't had asudden craving for Cracker Jack. It just popped into my head how good the little popcorn candies are and I pathetically pleaded to Howard to land the plane on the Gulf near Texas so I could run into a drug store for a box of Cracker Jack. He spoils me :)

Tony called earlier today. He said in a couple of weeks he'll be coming to Florida to visit me for a weekend. We won't have much time alone together, I'll be working so much, but to have him around will be so nice.
dancin' in the dark

1948 [15 Sep 2005|07:21pm]
[ mood | loved ]

Well ... getting back to walking on my own with a "bum knee" as Tony calls it ... is painful. I'm not one for crying, but I seriously thought I might shed a tear or two as I tried walking around the house today. The doc says I can do that and I know I should because physicalt therapy is good. He gave me instructions on exercises I can do to strengthen it. Dear Howard, God love him, he hired the best doctors to take care of me. And my silly Tony, he said he wishes I wouldn't have let Howard do that. But then WONDERFUL TONY "appeared" and said, "After all this, the only thing I can do to upstage him is ask if you'll marry me."
It wasn't an actual proposal ... I don't think ... because as soon as he said it, he added, "But we've got all the time in the world for that kind of silly talk. Let's get ready to play cards with Gene and Betsy."
I have to admit that less than half of me was shocked. If it makes me sound over zealous or confidant, maybe it's because I am, but I had always figured that I would love being with Howard but would never marry him (he hasn't even mentioned it with all the jewlery and plane offers, plus he doesn't want kids), and Tony was more of the type of man I could fall in love with.

I just don't feel ready to marry again. I've been divorced from Nico since 1947 and I really enjoy being a single woman right now. I believe Tony enjoys being single as well. We have options open, left to explore.

But he is something wonderful! *swoon*

4 friends dancin' in the dark

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