Stanley Donen died today at the age of 94. One of Old Hollywood’s most prominent directors, associated in particular with the golden age of movie musicals, but who also made films in every genre (dramas, comedies, thrillers), was responsible for a litany of classics, including On the Town (1949), Royal Wedding (1951), Singin’ in the Rain (1952), Seven Brides For Seven Brothers (1954), It’s Always Fair Weather (1955), Funny Face (1957), The Pajama Game (1957), Charade (1963), Two for the Road (1967), and Bedazzled (1967). His longtime collaboration with frequent co-director Gene Kelly (right) produced some of the great movies ever made, like Singin’ in the Rain, but he was also the choreographer for films like Cover Girl (1944) and Anchors Aweigh (1945) before becoming a director. He started out his career in the chorus line on Broadway in the 1940’s (where he met Kelly), before moving to Hollywood to become a choreographer, then filmmaker. He won a lifetime achievement Oscar in 1998, but amazingly, was never nominated for a competitive one in his career. The movies are better today because of his contribution to them.
Trailer for Singin’ in the Rain:
Trailer for Funny Face (one of his favorite actresses was Audrey Hepburn, who starred in three different genres of films for him- this, Charade and Two For the Road):
Donen’s Honorary Oscar acceptance speech: