Movie News

Cyd Charisse Dead at 86

By:
Jun 17, 2008 | 4:02pm EDT

Beloved actress/dancer Cyd Charisse has died in a Los Angeles hospital.

The 86-year-old reportedly suffered a heart attack on Monday and was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she died on Tuesday.

Born Tula Ellice Finklea in Texas in 1921, Charisse studied ballet in Los Angeles and performed as Siderova in the Bellet Russes up until World War Two, when she returned to California to embark on a movie career.

She became a staple in movie musicals throughout the 1940s and 1950s, appearing alongside Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly in films like Ziegfeld Follies, The Band WagonSilk Stockings and Brigadoon.

She retired from dancing in the late 1950s to become a straight actress.

Charisse took her surname from her first husband Nico Charisse, whom she wed in 1939. She was married to singer Tony Martin for 60 years up until her death.

The actress/dancer was presented with America's highest artistic honor, the National Medal of the Arts & Humanities, by President George W. Bush in 2006.

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