In the '40s, Kelly excelled at musicals (Anchors Aweigh) and dramas (The Cross of Lorraine). But his greatest accomplishments would come in the next decade. In 1949, he teamed with director Stanley Donen for three revolutionary movie musicals: On the Town, An American in Paris and Singin' in the Rain, resulting in an Honorary Academy Award for Kelly in 1952.
As an actor and occasional director, Kelly shone in Brigadoon, Invitation to the Dance, Les Girls, Inherit the Wind and Hello Dolly (1969). He made his final film appearance in That's Entertainment III (1994). He died Feb. 2, 1996.