Author Topic: R.I.P. Donald O'Connor  (Read 1631 times)

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R.I.P. Donald O'Connor
« on: September 27, 2003, 07:06:05 PM »
Entertainer Donald O'Connor Dies at 78    

LOS ANGELES - Entertainer Donald O'Connor, who combined comedy and acrobatics in the show-stopping "Make 'Em Laugh" number in the classic movie "Singin' in the Rain," died Saturday, his daughter said. He was 78.

O'Connor, who had been in declining health in recent years, died of heart failure at a retirement home in Calabasas, his daughter, Alicia O'Connor, told The Associated Press.

In a brief statement, the family said that among O'Connor's last words was the following quip: "I'd like to thank the Academy for my lifetime achievement award that I will eventually get."

O'Connor won an Emmy, but never an Oscar. He was best known for films he made in the 1950s - a series of highly successful "Francis the Talking Mule" comedies and movie musicals that put his song and dance talents to good use.

Songs in movie musicals are often touching or exciting, but O'Connor performed a rare feat with a number that were laugh-out-loud funny.

The best, 1952's "Singin' in the Rain," also starred Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds and took a satirical look at Hollywood during the transition from silent to sound pictures.

As he sings "Make 'Em Laugh," O'Connor dances with a prop dummy and performs all manner of amusing acrobatics.

"Someone handed me a dummy that was on the stage," he recalled in a 1995 Associated Press interview. "That was the only prop I used. I did a pratfall and we wrote that down. Every time I did something that got a laugh, we wrote it down to keep in the number."

The American Film Institute's list of the top 100 American movies ever made ranked "Singin' in the Rain" at No. 10.

Among O'Connor's other '50s musicals were "Call Me Madam," "Anything Goes" and "There's No Business Like Show Business."

“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol

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R.I.P. Donald O'Connor
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2003, 10:57:48 PM »
Donald O'Connor was amazing. I can't get enough of that Make 'Em Laugh sequence...the first time I ever saw it, my jaw was on the floor. In fact, I think I'll go watch it right now.

I guess all the stars of that time period are reaching their last legs now; they're dying left and right.

Just wait till we're all a little older and it's Harisson Ford one day and Schwarzenegger the next.


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R.I.P. Donald O'Connor
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2003, 10:12:01 AM »
If that actually happens, I'll know you were behind it. Don't forget that.

Donald O'Connor stole every scene in Singin' in the Rain, and is the reason I love it so. Make Em Laugh is very easily the best number of the film.

If I could take back one memory of him, it'd be The Buster Keaton Story.


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R.I.P. Donald O'Connor
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2003, 10:45:24 AM »
people need to stop dying.
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R.I.P. Donald O'Connor
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2003, 03:02:55 PM »
Quote from: eward
people need to stop dying.

you said it.
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.


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R.I.P. Donald O'Connor
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2003, 12:50:13 PM »
I just watched Singin' In The Rain for the first time in film class. Donald O' Conner was awesome. He was like the Jim Carrey of the fifties except better.

Interesting side note: the instructer said that the last time he screened Singin' in the Rain, Gene Kelly had just died. He'll only stop showing the film when Debbie Reynolds is gone. Damn you, film instructor!
Last five films (theater)
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R.I.P. Donald O'Connor
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2003, 12:57:54 PM »
Yes, his Make'Em Laugh sequence blew my mind as well.  There aren't too many people who can steal away best dance sequence in a movie from Gene Kelly.
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