Stanley Donen, co-director of “Singin’ in the Rain,” just passed away at the age of 94. The Guardian has reported the news and said that more details on his death will follow.
Donen might not have been a renowned filmmaker. However, he has helmed some beloved classics. For instance, there’s the previously mentioned “Singin’ in the Rain” which is a timeless classic. Not only did he co-direct with Gene Kelly but he also acted as the film’s choreographer. Donen was a secret weapon behind the picture’s memorable dance sequences. Some of them include the one where Kelly performs the song named after the title. Also, the scene where Donald O’Connor performs the song “Make ‘Em Laugh” would be cemented in film history.
Donen’s career spanned so many years that he entered the industry when films began to have sound. Coincidentally enough, his journey mirrors the plot of “Singin’ in the Rain” which depicts a silent movie star trying to make it in the “talkies.”
He discussed that transition in a 2013 interview with Vanity Fair, saying:
“Sound was still a fairly new thing when I came into movies. And the reason musicals happened is because of sound. They could put music in the picture! That’s how it all began.”
Thanks to the discovery of sound, he was able to become a mainstay in the musical genre. Aside from “Singin’ in the Rain,” musicals such as “On the Town” and “Funny Face” round out his filmography. His other films include “The Grass is Greener,” “Two for the Road,” and the 1963 genre-bending comedy “Charade” starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn.
Donen received an Honorary Oscar back in 1997 for his contributions to the medium. What he brought to the musical genre and cinema, in general, shall not be forgotten.