Cyd Charisse, the actress/dancer who rose to stardom dancing alongside Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, has died at the age of 86 of a heart attack, according to the New York Times. Born Tula Ellice Finklea in Amarillo, Texas, Cyd was a classically trained ballerina who was plucked from the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in California by studio scouts. Her big break was opposite Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain, her performance in which the Times describes as "both sultry vamp and diaphanous dream girl." Other famous Charisse performances include Brigadoon, Silk Stockings, and Party Girl (not to be confused with the Parker Posey film of the same name). Cyd appeared in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the "world's most valuable legs," as her studio reportedly took out a 5 million dollar insurance policy on her talented gams.
After the film roles receded, in the '60s and '70s Charisse and her second husband, Tony Martin, toured nightclubs and appeared on tv shows with their song and dance routines. Charisse made her Broadway debut in 1992 playing an aging ballerina in Grand Hotel, and in 2006, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts at the White House. Below is a darling, recent photo of Cyd and husband Tony. She is survived by him and two children, Tony Jr. and Nicky.