Aries Apr 13, 1924 Columbia Actor, Director and Producer
Stanley Donen is an American film director and choreographer whose most celebrated works are Singin' in the Rain and On the Town, both of which he co-directed with actor and dancer Gene Kelly. His other noteworthy films include Royal Wedding, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Funny Face, Indiscreet, Damn Yankees!, Charade, and Two for the Road. He received an Honorary Academy Award in 1998 for his body of work and a Career Golden Lion from the Venice Film Festival in 2004. He was hailed by film critic David Quinlan as "the King of the Hollywood musicals". Donen married five times and had three children. His current long term partner is film director and comedian Elaine May.
He began his career in the chorus line on Broadway for director George Abbott, where he befriended Kelly. In 1943 he went to Hollywood and worked as a choreographer before he and Kelly made On the Town in 1949. He then worked as a contract director for MGM under producer Arthur Freed producing hit films amid critical acclaim, both as a solo director and with Kelly. In 1952 Donen and Kelly co-directed the musical Singin' in the Rain, regarded as one of the greatest films ever made. Donen's relationship with Kelly deteriorated in 1955 during their final collaboration on It's Always Fair Weather. He then broke his contract with MGM to become an independent producer in 1957. As musicals began to lose public appeal, Donen switched to comedies. He continued to make hit films until the late 1960s, after which his career slowed down. He briefly returned to the stage as a director in the 1990s and again in 2002.