Cyd Charisse Biography

Published On Jun 15, 2018
Facts of Cyd Charisse
Date of Birth: 1922 , March-8
Date of Death: 2008 , June-17
Birth Nation: United States
Height: 5 Feet 7 Inch
Name Cyd Charisse
Birth Name Tula Finklea
Nick Name Cyd
Father Ernest Enos Finklea
Mother Lela Finklea
Nationality American
Birth Place/City Amarillo, Texas
Religion Methodist
Ethnicity White
Profession Actress, Dancer
Net Worth estimated $40.8 million
Eye Color brown-dark
Hair Color brown
Weight in KG 52kg
Famous for Singin' in the Rain, The Band Wagon
Married first marriage March 1939 and second marriage in 1948
Married to Nico Charisse and Tony Martin
Children Nicholas Charisse and Tony Martin, Jr.
Divorce first divorce 1947
Awards National Medal of the Arts and Humanities
Movies Singin' in the Rain, The Band Wagon, Silk and Satin
TV Show The Hollywood Palace, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Dean Martin Show
Died 17 June, 2008
View moreless Facts of Cyd Charisse

Cyd Charisse was an American dancer and actress known for her roles in Singin’ in the Rain(1952), The Band Wagon (1953), Brigadon (1954). In 2006, Cyd was also awarded the National Medal of the Arts and Humanities.

Cyd died on June 17, 2008, due to a heart attack, in Los Angeles, California.

The Early Life of Cyd Charisse

Cyd was born as Tula Finklea to Lela and Ernest Enos Finklea, a jeweler in Amarillo, Texas, on March 8, 1922. She was nicknamed ‘Sid’ when her younger brother tried to say ‘Sis; The name was later changed into Cyd.

Cyd started dance lesson to regain her strength at the age of six after she suffered from polio. She studied ballet in Los Angeles with Adolph Bolm and Bronislava Nijinska at the age of 12. And at the age of 14, she danced in the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.

Charisse’s Career

After the outbreak of World War II, Cyd returned to Los Angeles. She got a dancing role in Something to Shout About. Cyd later got discovered by Robert Alton and soon joined the Freed Unit at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. In 1946, Cyd got her first speaking role in The Harvey alongside Judy Garland.

Cyd appeared onscreen with Fred Astaire in Ziegfeld Follies, released in 1946, and in The Band Wagon (1953). Cyd also guest appeared in films like Tension ( 1949), ‘East Side, West Side’ (1949).

Her breakout film was Singin in the Rain (1952) co-starring Gene Kelly. In 1956, Cyd again co-starred with Gene in his MGM musical It’s Always Fair Weather. Cyd played a serious role of a showgirl who gets involved with gangsters and crooked lawyer in film Party Girl which was released in 1958.

In late 50’s, Cyd retired from dancing but she continued to appear in the films and TV productions. She also got a support role in an unfinished movie of Marilyn MonroeSomething’s Got To Give (1962). Charisse performed in a variety of TV shows like The Ed Sullivan Show, The Dean Martin Show, and The Hollywood Palace, which she has even hosted three times.

In the 1978 film Warlords of Atlantis, Cyd played the role of an Atlantean high priestess. Charisse’s last film was That’s Entertainment! III in 1994, a tribute to MGM musical Films. She also appeared in Janet Jackson’s film Alright and in Blue Mercedes’s I want to be your property.

Later Years of Cyd

Charisse made her Broadway debut in Grand Hotel, as the aging ballerina, in 1992. She and her husband, in 1976, wrote a joint memoir titled The Two of US (1976). Spotlighting the golden age of Hollywood, Charisse in her eighties made occasional public appearances and appeared more frequently in documentaries.

In 1952, Cyd issued $5 million insurance on her legs which later got featured in the 2001 Guinness Book of World Records under ‘Most Valuable Legs’.

Cyd’s Personal Life

Charisse got married to Nico Charisse (March 1906 to April 1970) in March 1939. They first met in a dance class in Los Angeles. The pair had a son together, Nicky, born in 1942. Cyd and Nico got divorced in 1947, but Cyd kept the surname even after the separation.

Cyd than got married to singer Tony Martin in 1948. The pair had a son Tony Martin, Jr ( August 28, 1950- April 10, 2011).

Cyd’s daughter-in-law is an actress and model, Liv Lindeland. Liv is married to Tony Martin, whereas her other daughter-in-law died in a crash of American Airlines Flight 191 on May 25, 1979.

Cyd Charisse’s Death

After suffering an apparent heart attack, Cyd was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles where she died the following day at the age of 86.

As Cyd was practicing Methodist, she was buried at a Jewish cemetery, Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California.

Charisse’s Earnings and Net Worth

Cyd stood 5 feet 7 inches (height) and her nationality was American. Her ethnicity is white. Throughout her life, Charisse played in many films, documentaries, and shows.

Her net worth at the time of her death was estimated to be around $40.8 million. Her final on-camera appearance was in a documentary ‘Satin and Silk’. Cyd's documentary and films can be found on YouTube. 

Cyd Charisse

Cyd Charisse facts on timeline

Born in Texas

March 8 , 1922

Cyd Charisse was an American dancer and actress born as Tula Finklea to Lela and Ernest Enos Finklea a jeweler in Amarillo, Texas on March 8, 1922. Cyd was also awarded the National Medal of the Arts and Humanities. 

Appeared in  The Harvey 

1946

Cyd started dance lesson to regain her strength at the age of six after she suffered from polio. In 1946, Cyd got her first speaking role in The Harvey alongside Judy Garland.  She also guests appeared in films like Tension ( 1949), ‘East Side, West Side’ (1949). Her breakout film was Singin in the Rain (1952). 

Married twice

1939

Charisse first got married to Nico Charisse in March 1939. Cyd and Nico got divorced in 1947 due to unexplained reasons. However, Cyd kept the surname to herself. Cyd than got married to singer Tony Martin in 1948  and remamined together till her death. 

Net Worth $40.8 million

2008

Cyd's net worth in 2008 was estimated to be around $40.8 million by some sources. Her final on-camera appearance was in a documentary ‘Satin and Silk’.

Died on June 2008

2008

After suffering an apparent heart attack, Cyd was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles where she died on June 17, 2008, due to a heart attack at the age of 86.