The incomparable Cyd Charisse has passed away.
Depending on the reference source, she was 86 or 87 years old.
I don't mind admitting that this is a death that brought tears to my eyes, simply because she brought me so much joy as a lifelong fan of classic films.
My first great film love -- other than MARY POPPINS and THE SOUND OF MUSIC -- was MGM musicals, and Cyd starred in many of MGM's greatest. She also provided high points in many of MGM's lesser-known musicals; for instance, the best scene in Esther Williams' FIESTA was Cyd's dance with Ricardo Montalban.
She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Tony Martin (who is now 95), and two sons.
In 2006 President and Mrs. Bush presented her with the National Medal of Arts in the Oval Office. The citation reads: "An American icon, she has entertained millions throughout her career with her many stunning performances."
Cyd Charisse was a beautiful, immensely talented woman who brought happiness to millions, and the work she leaves behind has made the world a better place.
Update: The L.A. Times obituary.
Tributes at The Shelf, Libertas, Something Old, Nothing New, and Classic Ramblings.
Wednesday Update: For Fans of Cyd Charisse.