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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Who’s Greater: Fred Astaire Or Gene Kelly?

FredAstaire, left, and GeneKelly talk during MGM's musical extravaganza "That's Entertainment" Part II in this 1976 handout photo. (AP)

FredAstaire, left, and GeneKelly talk during MGM’s musical extravaganza “That’s Entertainment” Part II in this 1976 handout photo. (AP)

This year Gene Kelly would have turned 100. But of course he’ll always be young and vibrant and “Singin’ in the Rain.”

So we thought we’d spend a few minutes in appreciation. And we thought we’d ask the question: was Gene Kelly the greatest dancer and innovator in American movie musical history, or was Fred Astaire – who was 13 years older than Kelly?

Historian and theater and dance critic Iris Fanger told Here & Now, “They were both great… what makes us very lucky is that these are the only 2 major dance artists of the 20th century… that we have the greater body of their work on film.”

Let us know what you think in the comments below, or join the debate on our Facebook page.

Guest:

  • Iris Fanger, dance and theater critic and historian.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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