Biographer and film historian PATRICIA WARD KELLY is the widow of Gene Kelly. She has worked as a writer at a film production company, as a contributing scholar for the authoritative Northwestern/Newberry Writings of Herman Melville, and as a freelance journalist. She and Kelly met at the Smithsonian in 1985, when he was the host/narrator for a television special for which she was a writer. Soon after, he invited her to California to write his memoirs, a job for which she recorded his words nearly every day for over ten years, and they were together until his death in 1996. Currently, she serves as Trustee of The Gene Kelly Image Trust and Creative Director of Gene Kelly: The Legacy, a corporation established to commemorate Kelly’s centenary worldwide. She lives in Los Angeles and is completing the book about her late husband.
Mrs. Kelly has recorded commentary for DVDs of An American in Paris, The Pirate, Words and Music, Xanadu, and is frequently called upon to introduce Gene Kelly’s films in theaters and at festivals, including the recent TCM Classic Film Festival where she spoke to audiences about Singin’ in the Rain and Cover Girl and for which she wrote the program note: “Gene Kelly: Changing the Look of Dance on Film.” She has done an in-depth, 3-hour interview about Gene Kelly for the TCM archives and served as co-host with host Robert Osborne introducing four Kelly films on his centenary, August 23, 2012. On July 13, she joined Oscar winner Rita Moreno in a lively “conversation” onstage at the Smithsonian to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Singin’ in the Rain and Gene Kelly’s innovations in choreographing dance for the camera.
She has appeared in “An Evening with Mrs. Gene Kelly” in several cities around the world, has been a panelist at the Bangkok International Film Festival and featured speaker at Cinematographer’s Day with her illustrated overview “Gene Kelly and the Revolution of Dance on Film.” In 2007, she joined musician Michael Feinstein in his “Standard Time” Carnegie Hall/ASCAP performance, providing an intimate story about the songs of Gene Kelly. More recently she has presented a one-woman show about her life with Kelly at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, California and for Brandeis University. For the past 13 years she has been the keynote speaker at the annual Gene Kelly Awards held at the 2800-seat Benedum Theater in Pittsburgh. She has spoken in 32 Pittsburgh-area high schools. Her centennial tribute to her late husband sold out two nights at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in May 2012. In July 2012, she reprised versions of these shows at two sold out evenings for The Film Society of Lincoln Center and at the University of Pittsburgh in October. Her performance has been described as “mesmerizing.”