Gene Kelly’s daughter Kerry recollects ‘Singin’ within the Rain’ star’s fierce devotion to household in Hollywood

Gene Kelly’s daughter Kerry recalls ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ star’s fierce devotion to family in Hollywood

2021-11-25 15:30:51

Kerry Kelly Novich was raised by one of the crucial iconic stars from Hollywood’s golden period – however she insisted her childhood was “abnormal.”

Gene Kelly, the beloved song-and-dance man who starred in movies like “Singin’ within the Rain,” “On the City,” “Anchors Aweigh” and “An American in Paris,” handed away in 1996 at age 83. The actor appeared in 45 movies and his profitable profession in Hollywood spanned a half-century. Immediately, he’s nonetheless revered as a pioneer in dance on movie.

Kerry Novich didn’t observe in her father’s footsteps however she carved out a profession for herself that celebrates his love of household. She is a baby, adolescent and grownup psychoanalyst with over 55 years of expertise, in addition to an creator. She and her husband lately teamed as much as write “Emotional Muscle: Sturdy Dad and mom, Sturdy Kids,” which she mentioned is geared in the direction of “dad and mom, grandparents and lecturers.”

Kerry Kelly Novich is the daughter of Gene Kelly. She has fond recollections of rising up with the star.
(Courtesy of Kerry Kelly Novich)

Kerry Novich spoke to Fox Information about what it was like rising up with the late star, his early years within the Navy, in addition to how he felt about Hollywood.


Fox Information: When did you first notice that your father was completely different from different dads?
Kerry Kelly Novick: Nicely, one factor about rising up in Beverly Hills is that nearly everyone’s father or mom was in present enterprise. So it wasn’t so completely different.

I believe it was extra of a realization that for the remainder of the world, everyone’s dad and mom weren’t well-known. However as a result of it was so abnormal the place I grew up, it didn’t really feel completely different. And my father was abnormal, too. He and I might go get bagels after which head to the ironmongery store. My mother and I might go to the general public library. So our lives have been very abnormal.

Kerry Kelly Novich at three weeks old.

Kerry Kelly Novich at three weeks outdated.
(Courtesy of Kerry Kelly Novich)

Fox Information: What was it like rising up with Gene Kelly?
Kelly Novick: He was a really devoted, accessible and current dad with me and my siblings. And he was enjoyable and energetic. He was very a lot concerned in our schoolwork. However he additionally beloved taking part in video games with us.

Fox Information: What’s a favourite reminiscence you could have of your father?
Kelly Novick: There are definitely many. However one which all the time involves thoughts is from the time that I used to be very small. I used to be most likely 4 or 5. We had a behavior. Each time he was dwelling early after supper, he would sit in his huge pink leather-based chair within the den and he would decide one thing for us to learn from the encyclopedia. That’s truly how I realized to learn. All of us loved studying new issues and he made it enjoyable for us.


Fox Information: Your father enlisted within the Navy. How a lot of an impression did that have have on him?
Kelly Novick: He enlisted within the Navy as a result of his quantity was up. After which he went besides camp in San Diego. After that, he boxed and went by fundamental coaching. They assigned him to the movie unit that made coaching movies for the Navy. Then he proceeded till the tip of the warfare to make coaching movies, like how one can assemble and disassemble your rifle and issues like that.

After Navy service in World War II, Gene Kelly returned to films.

After Navy service in World Battle II, Gene Kelly returned to movies.
(Getty Photographs)

Essentially the most vital coaching movie he made is one referred to as “Fight Fatigue Irritability.” That’s a brief movie that he directed and partially wrote. And it talks about what was then often called “fight fatigue irritability,” which was referred to as “shell shock” earlier. These days, it’s PTSD. It handled the impression of fight experiences on troopers and sailors. It additionally seemed on the completely different sorts of remedies they acquired. It was a extremely highly effective film for its time that may now be discovered on the Nationwide Library of Medication, together with John Fords’s which have been comparable.

Fox Information: It looks as if psychological well being wasn’t one thing that was mentioned or understood as it’s right now.
Kelly Novick: I believe it was in some circles. My dad and mom have been intellectuals and really avant-garde. So that they have been conscious of psychological well being points. My father used to go to veteran’s hospitals to entertain the younger males who have been in restoration. I believe everyone was very aware of psychological well being wants. And I felt my father’s movie was very fascinating, particularly for me since I’m a psychological well being skilled.

Fox Information: What was your father’s relationship like with the opposite servicemen?
Kelly Novick: It was wonderful. My father grew up in a modest household in Pittsburgh in a working-class neighborhood. He all the time noticed himself as an everyday individual. I believe he acquired on very properly with everyone within the service. He additionally misplaced his perfect buddies in fight, so it was all the time an vital trigger to him.


Kerry Kelly Novich said she has a normal upbringing.

Kerry Kelly Novich mentioned she has a traditional upbringing.
(Courtey of Kerry Kelly Novich)

Fox Information: What are some enjoyable info about Gene Kelly that might shock followers right now?
Kelly Novick: His faculty diploma was in economics. He minored in political science and had an abiding curiosity in American historical past and politics. Within the public, he’s seen as a carefree, athletic dancer. However in personal he was such an mental who was all the time curious and browse on a regular basis.

Fox Information: It feels like your dad and mom weren’t the “film star” kind. 
Kelly Novick: They have been each dancers, however they have been additionally onerous employees. They have been like skilled athletes in order that they didn’t have the posh of simply lolling round. They have been introduced up by hard-working households the place everybody labored and had a task. My father was a part of supporting his household from when he was in faculty. His household ran two dancing faculties in Pennsylvania. After the Melancholy, my grandfather misplaced his job. And the dancing faculties supported the household. My mom’s mom was a faculty trainer who additionally took care of the household.

Gene Kelly visiting London with his wife, actress Betsy Blair and daughter Kerry, 1955.

Gene Kelly visiting London along with his spouse, actress Betsy Blair and daughter Kerry, 1955.
(Photograph by © Hulton-Deutsch Assortment/CORBIS/Corbis through Getty Photographs)

They achieved success in Hollywood, however my father all the time knew that he was going to guide his personal form of life. So after I got here alongside, they didn’t need me to be some kind of wealthy child. I had chores and a small allowance. We have been a really completely different Hollywood household. On the weekends, my dad and mom held actions like volleyball, baseball, softball and ping-pong. At evening, they have been taking part in charades and singing songs across the piano.

Gene Kelly is seen here listening to his daughter Kerry reading aloud from 'Worzel Gummidge' by Barbara Euphan Todd on the set of the MGM film 'Crest of the Wave' in London, circa 1953. The film was based on the play 'Seagulls Over Sorrento' by Hugh Hastings. 

Gene Kelly is seen right here listening to his daughter Kerry studying aloud from ‘Worzel Gummidge’ by Barbara Euphan Todd on the set of the MGM movie ‘Crest of the Wave’ in London, circa 1953. The movie was based mostly on the play ‘Seagulls Over Sorrento’ by Hugh Hastings. 
(Photograph by Archive Pictures/Getty Photographs)

On Sunday nights, they normally confirmed a film in the lounge with a 16-millimeter projector. I used to be about 11 after I realized how one can run the projector and I used to be very happy with that. They valued the significance of onerous work, however in addition they valued the significance of household. Our home was full of all kinds of artistic individuals, however they have been additionally good buddies who have been having an exquisite time with us.


Fox Information: Did your father ever train you to bop?
Kelly Novick: *Laughs*. He provided to show me. I had one lesson after which he mentioned I needed to apply day-after-day or else he wouldn’t proceed the teachings. I didn’t apply. So he didn’t proceed the teachings. That mirrored in his work ethic.

Fox Information: Is it true that Judy Garland was a household good friend?
Kelly Novick: She was. She and my dad have been very shut buddies. I believe he was all the time extraordinarily grateful to Judy. She was already established in motion pictures when he was delivered to Hollywood. He all the time mentioned that she was the one who taught him how one can act in motion pictures. She taught him the significance of constructing small gestures to convey a sense and utilizing facial expressions in a extra nuanced manner. She was welcoming and sort to him. He by no means forgot that. They have been all the time singing and dancing collectively. They remained buddies till she died. So Judy and her household have been very a lot part of my childhood.

Gene Kelly and Judy Garland in publicity portrait for the film 'For Me And My Gal', 1942. 

Gene Kelly and Judy Garland in publicity portrait for the movie ‘For Me And My Gal’, 1942. 
(Photograph by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Getty Photographs)

Fox Information: What have been your father’s later years like?
Kelly Novick: There was a profession change. The studio system started to vary so he began doing extra directing and cameo appearances. My step-mother died younger, leaving my brother and sister on the ages of 9 and 7. At that time, my dad decided to not do any extra movies on location. If he couldn’t deliver the children, he wouldn’t do it.

By that point, I used to be grown up and dwelling in England. He was functioning as a single mother or father and made the skilled determination to remain dwelling and take care of my siblings. So his later years have been of devotion. He taken care of my brother and sister they usually have been very a lot a precedence. However he was additionally a mentor to many younger artists. Folks would all the time search him out for profession recommendation and doubtless private recommendation like Paula Abdul and Michael Jackson. He was thrilled to do it.


Fox Information: You’ve been working with kids and households for a very long time. How did your upbringing encourage you to pursue this function, versus working in Hollywood?
Kelly Novick: I used to be all the time curious about taking good care of children. I used to babysit rather a lot as a child. I briefly labored in designing units and being a dressing up supervisor after faculty. However I then went again to high school and educated to be a baby psychoanalyst with Anna Freud in London.

Gene Kelly (1912 - 1996) with his wife Jeanne Coyne (1923 - 1973) and their children Tim and Bridget, circa 1968.

Gene Kelly (1912 – 1996) along with his spouse Jeanne Coyne (1923 – 1973) and their kids Tim and Bridget, circa 1968.
(Photograph by Henry Gris/FPG/Getty Photographs)

It was a steady thread. My father was all the time very curious about kids. He was a trainer and one in every of my grandmothers was a trainer. There was a robust custom within the household of taking note of the wants of kids. There have been scenes with kids in nearly each one in every of my father’s movies. He was happy with me. He had a variety of confidence in me and knew this was additionally vital to me. He would say, “I belief your selection. If that is what you need to do, go for it.”

Fox Information: What’s life like for you right now?
Kelly Novick: It’s terrific. I’ve three children and 9 grandchildren. I’m nonetheless very energetic in my profession. My husband and I write books collectively. We’re each psychoanalysts so we do a variety of instructing. I’m 79 and I’m wholesome, blissful and busy.

Gene Kelly swings from a lamp post in a still from the film, 'Singin' In The Rain' directed by Kelly and Stanley Donen, 1952.

Gene Kelly swings from a lamp submit in a nonetheless from the movie, ‘Singin’ In The Rain’ directed by Kelly and Stanley Donen, 1952.
(Photograph by MGM Studios/Hulton Archive/Getty Photographs)

Fox Information: Earlier than your father’s passing, how did he really feel about Hollywood?
Kelly Novick: He was very happy with his profession. He was additionally grateful that individuals continued to worth his work, particularly in the direction of the tip of his life. At one level, he instructed me, “I simply need to make individuals blissful.” I believe he succeeded. His movies train us the enjoyment of artistic expression. It is not totally believable for individuals to stroll down the road and all of a sudden burst into track and dance. However the concept that this lives inside us is, I believe, a robust motive why we nonetheless love his movies.

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