To Donald O’Connor (28th Aug 1925 - 27th Sept 2003).
His role of Cosmo Brown and his brilliant performance for the song Make’Em Laugh almost outshines the iconic Gene Kelly’s Singing’ in the Rain number. Born into a vaudeville family, he began performing at an early age. He became a household name with his series Francis, about a soldier who befriends a talking mule. He appeared in many musicals, the most prominent ones were Singin’ in the Rain and There’s No Business Like Showbusiness with none other than Marilyn Monroe.
His dancing routines were often very physical and demanding such as Make’Em Laugh or his roller skates routine in I Love Melvin (two years before Gene Kelly in It’s Always Fair Weather!). He was very accomplished and, sadly, often underrated. He even played Buster Keaton in the non-factual The Buster Keaton Story.
To me, he is a beloved performer and one of my personal favorites.
Wherever you are Donald, I am sure you are making’em laugh.