Stanley Donen: Singin' in the Rain co-director dies aged 94

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Stanley Donen, director of the classic films "Singing In The Rain" and "American in Paris", hugs his Oscar backstageImage source, Reuters
Image caption,
Donen received an honorary Oscar in 1998, and performed an impromptu dance

Veteran Hollywood musicals director Stanley Donen has died aged 94, according to US media reports.

The director was perhaps best known for the 1952 musical Singin' in the Rain, which he co-directed with its star Gene Kelly.

His other films included On the Town, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Funny Face.

The Chicago Tribune first reported Donen's death, citing one of his sons, Mark.

A former Broadway dancer, Donen moved into cinema as a choreographer, then as a director.

He translated his love for dance to the big screen with the help of Kelly and Fred Astaire. Singin' in the Rain was named the greatest movie musical of all time by the American Film Institute in 2006.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Singin' in the Rain starred Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds

Edgar Wright, who directed films including Hot Fuzz, paid tribute to the breadth of Donen's work, from musicals to thrillers, while Mission Impossible filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie said that Donen "understood when to move and when to let others do the moving".

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In 1998, Donen was awarded an honorary Oscar by director Martin Scorcese "in appreciation for a body of work marked by grace, elegance, wit and visual innovation".

In his acceptance speech, he performed an impromptu song and dance routine while clutching his Oscar.

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The key to a successful film, he once said, was a great script, great songs and great actors. "When filming starts, you show up and you stay the hell out of the way."