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Gene Kelly: A Life of Dance and Dreams
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Gene Kelly: A Life of Dance and Dreams

3.5  ·  Rating details ·  160 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Now in paperback! The only complete biography available on this Oscar-winning dancer, choreographer, actor, and director. Filled with firsthand interviews and new research, this fascinating book offers an honest examination of a legendary star and very complex man.
Paperback, 262 pages
Published September 1st 2001 by Billboard Books (first published December 1st 1999)
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Dec 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
I love biographies, and I'm a fan of Gene Kelly's, but this book didn't live up to my expectations. I would have appreciated a much more straight forward story of his life without all the imagined conversations that the author was never privy to. There were some interesting nuggets of information, and I did learn some new facts through reading this book, but overall I was left wanting more. I plan to look for another book on Gene Kelly.
Jul 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful biography that focuses especially on Kelly's early years. Has a great story about how he took a risk and won his first significant Broadway role.

For Kelly fans, this book is a MUST READ!
Jan 27, 2012 rated it did not like it
This book is FILLED with inaccuracies. If you look it up on you can see my review, where I list them. Gene Kelly deserved better than this.
Nov 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: form-ii
Gene Kelly was an amazing, driven, inspirational man, and Gene Kelly: A Life of Dance and Dreams by Alvin Yudkoff shows his struggles to achieve success. Gene Kelly was from Pittsburgh, PA and eventually moved to New York where he became a successful performer and choreographer on Broadway. Eventually he would move on to Hollywood where he would star in several movie musicals such as: Anchors Aweigh with Frank Sinatra and Kathryn Grayson and Singing in the Rain with Donald O’Connor and Debbie Re ...more
Apr 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Picked up this book while looking for a book on stop-motion animation at the library (there wasn't one). I love Gene Kelly's dancing in Singing in the Rain and An American in Paris (and can't understand why everybody doesn't love the ballet at the end), but I knew nothing about the man himself.

I learned that he's an Irish Catholic from Pittsburgh who took dancing lessons from a young age with his brothers and sisters. He had a quick temper which got him into fist-fights when he was a boy and mad
Clif Brittain
Sep 02, 2010 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Rabid Gene Kelly fans
On the plus side: I learned a lot about Gene Kelly I didn't know. I know his movies pretty well and like them. I love his athletic dancing and the (over)acting he brings to dance.

On the negative side: I didn't much enjoy the writing, least of all the interludes where it imagines his thoughts at the AFI awards ceremony. A couple of times I found myself rereading sentences and paragraphs because I thought I'd dozed off. I hadn't. There was such a poor sense of continuity that it just seemed like I
Dec 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Gene Kelly has fascinated me since I was a young girl. I knew very little about his back story or personal involvements, and was intrigued with the story of his legendary career. This is a perfect Biography to read if you are only familiar with Kelly's dance, and not his person. I loved getting to know, not only about him, but old Hollywood, and the history and development of the MOVIE MUSICAL! One can not help but fall in love with the lackadaisical life style led by these talented, and someti ...more
Linda Aull
Jul 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: dance fans
Having always been more of an Astaire fan who appreciated Gene Kelly but never really revered him, this book only cemented my opinions. Before reading this book, I had no idea what a leftie Kelly was. In biographies and autobiographies of Astaire, I don't remember politics ever being mentioned much. Astaire seemed to have a much humbler attitude that kept him firmly in the entertainment realm. Of course,even today I am ferociously turned off by celebrities that enter the political arena, either ...more
Nov 10, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one, read his other biographies if you want to know the truth.
This guy is an idiot. Most of what he says is contradicted by the other biographies I've read and even Gene Kelly's own wife's memoir!!! A good portion of it is outright guesswork as to what was going on in Gene Kelly's mind, the rest is obviously made up in Yudkoff's head as there is no way he can know these tiny little details. He wrote this book three years after Kelly's death!! Most of the quotes he uses are verbatim from Clive Hircshhorn's biography written years before (and sometime switch ...more
Jun 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was one of the best biographies I've ever read. It is so detailed and he was such a complicated man, none of which ever showed up on the creen. He always seemed to be boyish and easy going. It is difficult to know the truth with these types of books, perspectives on people vary depending on who you are talking to. He started late in his career and it cost him and there is a sadness to his decline but he seemed to have a sense of future. If you care about movies this is a good read and well ...more
Joshua Shimizu
Aug 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
This biography highlights GK's determination to push the limits of cinema and dance. In the end, it feels as if he had failed to reach the heights he had set for himself, hence the ironic retrospective angle of the book, set at a 'Lifetime Achievement Award' ceremony. I really appreciated this perspective because it didn't have the happy Hollywood ending that always littered GK's movies. Fascinating read.
Aug 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
not the greatest biography i've ever read. it seems to just focus on all the bad things that happened in Gene Kelly's life like him breaking his ankle and not being able to be in "Easter Parade". in certain parts it's as if the writer is imagining what Gene Kelly would have said at an award show. some parts of the book were good such as the making of some of the actor's movies and when he did some plays.
Aug 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
I was really impressed by this biography of Gene Kelly. I have always enjoyed watching this man on screen but always wondered about his life. It was really interesting to read about his life and is introduction to show business. He did not start in movies until he was in his thirties and this amazes me because he had such a wonderful body of work in a short period of time.
If you love Gene Kelly you will love this book!
Jan 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The biography by Alvin Yudkoff, Gene Kelly: A lLife of Dance and Dreams was a fascinating insight into one of my favorite actors/dancers. I recommend this to anyone interested in the background and production of musicals and also interested in what made this fabulous dancer tick!
Apr 01, 2010 rated it liked it
If you wan to learn more about the man behind the brilliant dancer, singer and movie star, this book is great. :) It's filled with little anecdotes of his private life (his witty sense of humour) and backstage stories.
(there are not nearly enough Gene-pictures in it, but that's just me. )
Mollie *scoutrmom*
The subject matter might be fascinating had the author any skill and the editor ruthlessly cut out 80% of the irrelevant detail. Much of the contents are gossip.

If you like celebrity gossip, this book might not put you to sleep.
Sep 22, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Really like Gene Kelly, but am not a fan of this book. While the book contains plenty of interesting information about Gene's life, I found the author's style to be disjointed and it read more like a research paper than a biography.
Mar 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a very good complement to other bios of Kelly such as Hirschhorn's one, with more details than expected, and a thorough research through every phase of Gene Kelly's life and career. It develops more his emotional profile than in previous biographies.
beth anne
Mar 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
i just love him! anything gene kelly rocks.
Apr 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Interesting to learn more about his life.
Apr 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: biography
I really hate when biographers invent things. Throughout the book the author pretends he is Gene Kelly at the AFI awards, reflecting back on his career. It's a biography; don't make something up!
Jun 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So much movie history in this book... along with the strengths and weaknesses of its main character. I couldn't put it down.
Jun 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Gotta dance!!!
Jun 14, 2010 added it
Have to take this one off my list for now. Our library here doesn't have this biography. :(
Mar 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography
An unfortunate biography in which the author seems to desire writing a novel.
A straight forward, factual biography is much more preferred.
May 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
An interesting and in depth account of gene's life.
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Apr 10, 2012
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Oct 25, 2011
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