I just happened to run across this picture, and I liked it, so I thought I would post it today.
That smile is the one I recall from the night we met. It was at a surprise birthday dinner for RICHARD CONTE. My 'dad,' and his wife were also there. As was ANNETTE FUNICELLO, and her husband (at the time), Jack Gilardi. Jack was an agent, and he seemed to represent more than half of the contract players at AIP; the studio responsible for all those Beach Films I made.
Anyway, GENE and I hit it off immediately. He said he remembered all the publicity when FRED ASTAIRE had discovered me. He also told me (which of course, I already knew), that BARRIE (CHASE) had worked with him in "Les Girls." In fact, GENE even once went to ARTHUR FREED, and asked him to look at BARRIE. He too, thought that much of her talent.
Somewhere, amongst all these boxes, I have a wonderful picture of that birthday evening; where GENE and I are sharing our dinner together.
But, I must tell you.... perhaps even more wonderful than meeting GENE KELLY, was in meeting his wife, JEANNE COYNE. JEANNE was also a dancer, and had Assisted GENE several times. You can also see her dancing in the film, "Kiss Me Kate." She's paired with BOBBY VAN in the, "From This Moment On" number. This, being the number that HERMES PAN let BOB FOSSE choreograph.
Anyway, JEANNE was a lovely, lovely woman. One of those ladies, like NANCY OLSON, that makes you feel like you are THEE only other person in the room with her. I think I fell a little in love with JEANNE that night.
In any case, these were my thoughts this morning, when I came across this picture of GENE.