Dancer Cyd Charisse

Celebrity Q&A, Featured Article
on April 7, 2012

What can you tell us about dancer-actress Cyd Charisse?
—John Taflinger, Paris, Ill.

Born Tula Ellice Finklea in Amarillo, Texas, the entertainer began dancing lessons at age 6 to regain her strength after fighting off polio. At MGM, she was matched with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly in musicals including The Band Wagon, Singin’ in the Rain, Brigadoon and Silk Stockings. Married twice, she was wed for 60 years to her second husband, singer Tony Martin, until her death of an apparent heart attack in 2008 at age 86. She said her mate always knew with whom she had been dancing. “If I was black and blue, it was Gene. And if it was Fred, I didn’t have a scratch,” she once said.