World-renowned director of beloved Hollywood classics such as “Singin’ in the Rain,” “On the Town” and “Charade,” Stanley Donen, has died in New York at age 94.
One of his sons, Mark Donen, confirmed to the Chicago Tribune, that the late director died of a heart attack.
Donen, whose films were known as witty, stylish and energetic, worked with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, from Audrey Hepburn to Fred Astaire.
Gene Kelly’s famously exuberant, and water-logged dance scene in “Singin’ in the Rain” that is directed by Stanley Donen became one of cinema’s most iconic moments.
He may not always be in the limelight as he often works behind the camera; his works are treasured by his peers in the industry, earning him an Academy Award for lifetime achievement in 1998. It was his first and only Oscar award.
He worked with the most prominent dancers and choreographers of his time, including Bob Fosse and Gower Champion.
Hollywood Reporter wrote in an appreciation article for Donin: “No other director, with the possible exception of Vincente Minnelli, contributed more aesthetically to the American musical.”
Aside from his masterful works in the American musical, he was also famed for his romantic comedies, like the hugely popular “Two for the Road,” starring Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney.
Stanley Donen grew up in South Carolina where he started dance lessons at the early age of seven. According to Variety, the talented director shortly left his home after high school to try his luck on Broadway. He met Kelly while in the chorus of “Pal Joey” and was eventually signed by MGM.
His long-awaited breakthrough came with “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” in 1954. He also worked on musicals “Pajama Game” and “Damn Yankees,” both choreographed by Fosse.
Asked in later years how it was possible to work with Hepburn without falling in love with her, he replied, “It’s not.” /apr