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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 September, 2003, 04:09 GMT 05:09 UK
Singin' in the Rain actor dies
Donald O'Connor and Gene Kelly in Singin' in the Rain
O'Connor (left) was not as famous as Kelly, but he could jump just as high
The actor Donald O'Connor, best known for his role in the hit Hollywood musical Singin' in the Rain, has died.

He died near Los Angeles of a heart failure at the age of 78.

His dance routines in the film, along with fellow stars Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds are considered among the best in the history of Hollywood musicals, combining acrobatics, elegance and wit.

Born in Chicago to circus performers, O'Connor joined the family act when he was just an infant.

Although he never won an Oscar, he was widely admired in Hollywood.

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."

Donald O'Connor
He and Kelly were famed for their Singin' performances
Besides Singin' in the Rain, O'Connor also featured in many 1950s musicals, including Call Me Madam, Anything Goes, and There's No Business Like Show Business.

He said he ended up acting so many musicals by chance, noting that he started out as a "straight" actor.

He once also said that his song-and-dance image came with a downside: "Back then, when you were typecast that way, it was very difficult to get dramatic parts."

O'Connor also had some success in television. He won an Emmy for The Colgate Comedy Hour in 1954.




SEE ALSO:
Obituary: Donald O'Connor
28 Sep 03  |  Entertainment
Musicals director Sidney dies
06 May 02  |  Entertainment
Singin' In The Rain writer dies
25 Oct 02  |  Entertainment



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