Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends related to dancing and dancers and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the dancing urban legends featured so far.
DANCING URBAN LEGEND: Cyd Charisse’s legs were insured for a million bucks each.
Cyd Charisse (born Tula Elice Finklea) sadly passed away a few years ago.
The gorgeous dancer with the beautiful long legs was a screen starlet for a number of years.
Charisse danced with Fred Astaire in a few films, including…
and Silk Stockings…
She also danced with Gene Kelly in some films, including, perhaps most memorably, Singin’ in the Rain…
So she had the rare treat of dancing with two of the most notable ballroom dancers of the 20th Century, even though her background before this time was strictly ballet.
When Charisse passed away, a number of obituaries about her made reference to her legs, stating that MGM insured them for a million dollars each.
Is it true?
While it’s certainly a nice hook, I don’t believe it.
Charisse had said for years before her death in interviews that it was not true, that it was just a matter of MGM’s publicity machine coming up with an interesting hook (and clearly, it WAS an interesting hook, if people are still talking about it today).
MGM internal documents about Charisse during the time make no mention of such an insurance policy.
The amount of the insurance policy changes from telling to telling (I’ve seen between two and five million for the pair).
And, obviously, no one has ever found the supposed policy.
So I’m going with a “false” on this one. If anyone ever does find proof going the other way, I’d gladly change my answer!
The legend is…
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.