The Texas-born Tula Ellice Finklea grew up to become one of the world's greatest dancers, and joined the Ballet Russe as a teenager. However, Charisse appeared in only one Broadway musical, Grand Hotel, in 1992.
While she began her career in minor roles in such films as Till the Clouds Roll By and Words and Music, she gained fame when she appeared in one segment of Singin' in the Rain. Her other major films included The Band Wagon, It's Always Fair Weather, and Invitation to the Dance, along with the film adaptations of the Broadway hits Silk Stockings and Brigadoon.
Turner Classic Movies will air Singin' in the Rain, The Band Wagon, and Silk Stockings in a six-hour marathon on June 27, beginning at 8pm.
Charisse also appeared frequently in nightclubs with her second husband, singer Tony Martin, who survives her, as do her sons Nicky Charisse and Tony Martin, Jr.