ON THIS DAY: Vincente Minnelli's 110th Birthday!
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by Pat Cerasaro
On this very day 100 years ago, in 1903, master director Vincente Minnelli - nee Lester Anthony Minnelli - was born. And, what a career he had prior to his death in 1986 at age 83!
Moving quickly from window dresser to designer to photographer in Chicago, Minnelli then with had his big New York City dreams fulfilled soon thereafter when he was appointed as a set designer for Radio City Music Hall in 1932, eventually elevated to the higher rank of director.
Minnelli was celebrated for his daring and vivid use of color and precise attention to any and all design details as early as the 1930s when he was brought in as a color consultant for the design of the in-construction Rainbow Room, his idiosyncratic style a striking visual characteristic he would bring to many of his most successful film projects
Before his Hollywood heyday beginning in 1940 when Arthur Freed snapped him up, Minnelli's Broadway credits included 1935's AT HOME ABROAD, THE ZIEGFELD FOLLIES OF 1936, HOORAY FOR WHAT!, VERY WARM FOR MAY, THE SHOW IS ON and others.
Besides his estimable lineage - his first wife was Judy Garland and his daughter is Liza Minnelli - Vincente Minnelli was a true iconoclast in many areas of his art, and not just artistically. Over the course of his enviably diverse and unique fifty-year career designing for theatre and directing for film he accomplished what few ever do: he seemingly did it all.
Of course, Minnelli directed many of the most accomplished and classic movie musicals of all time, among them: CABIN IN THE SKY, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, KISMET, THE BANDWAGON, THE PIRATE, GIGI, BRIGADOON, BELLS ARE RINGING, ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER and more.
Yet, he is also well-remembered for his stunning dramas and vast assortment of genre films such as THE BAD & THE BEAUTIFUL, THE COURTSHIP OF EDDIE'S FATHER, LUST FOR LIFE, FATHER OF THE BRIDE, DESIGNING WOMAN, SOME CAME RUNNING, MADAME BOVARY, THE CLOCK, TEA & SYMPATHY, HOME FROM THE HILL and THE LONG, LONG TRAILER.
Glimpse the master director and his beloved muse, the one and only screen icon Judy Garland, in a candid shot from another birthday of Vincente's, below.
Photo Credit: Warner Brothers.