Cyd Charisse was an American actress who trained as a dancer. She was born Tulla Ellice Finklea on March 8, 1921 in Amarillo, Texas. Cyd was a polio survivor. Having learned ballet in early childhood, she became a member of Ballet Russe by age 13. When she turned 18 in 1939, she married his former dance teacher Nico Charise whom she eventually divorced in 1947. Her first role in a movie was as Lily Norwood in 1943's "Something to Shout About" which was followed by a dancer role in "Mission to Moscow." Since 1945, she had performed in several musicals but it was in 1952's "Singin' in the Rain" with Gene Kelly that catapulted her to stardom. Other significant film credits include "The Band Wagon" and "Silk Stockings." During the later years of her career, she appeared on Broadway and in "That's Entertainment! III." Cyd received the National Medal of the Arts and Humanities in 2006 from then President George Bush. In June 16, 2008, she died of a heart attack. She was survived by her second husband singer Tony Martin and two children.