Digitally & artistically enhanced. Cyd Charisse, the leggy beauty whose balletic grace made her a memorable partner for Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly in classic MGM musicals like “Singin’ in the Rain,”“The Band Wagon” and “Brigadoon.”
Ms. Charisse came of age in a sparkling era of Hollywood musicals, and though she had some dramatic film roles, it was in musicals that she achieved her lasting renown. That fame later helped power a successful song-and-dance partnership with her husband, Tony Martin, in nightclubs and on television.
In his 1959 memoir, “Steps in Time,” Astaire called Ms. Charisse “beautiful dynamite.” She was a striking presence on film: slender and graceful with jet black hair. She stood 5 feet 6, but in high heels and full-length stockings — a familiar costume for her — she seemed even taller.
She made her film debut in 1943 under the name Lily Norwood in “Something to Shout About,” with Don Ameche and Janet Blair, and then spent almost...