Motion Picture Magazine: Which of your traits do you hope your little daughter has inherited?
Gene Kelly: None. I only hope she’ll get as much fun out of life as her old man is getting. (Oct. 1944)
Gene Kelly had three children. His first was a daughter, Kerry (above), born in October of 1942 to Gene and his first wife, Betsy Blair. Although likely exaggerated (as fanzine interviews typically were/are), the Photoplay article “My Kids, The Kellys” (Feb. 1949) discusses young Kerry’s relationship with her father:
And with all of this Gene is great fun, too. He and Kerry sing together all the time. At five, Kerry knows the words of at least a dozen songs she’s learned from Gene. And sings them like Gene. And looks just like him, Gene’s eyes, his mouth, his mannerisms, and light as spindrift on her feet. I think Kerry is one of the luckiest little girls in the world.
In this Person to Person interview with (1958) Edward R. Murrow, Gene shows off a picture that Kerry, at age nine, drew for him (about 3 min in):
At present, Kerry and her husband, Jack Novick, work as child psychologists in Michigan. Recognized for founding the Allen Creek Pre-School, a laboratory for integrating psychoanalytic insight with early childhood education, the couple has co-authored several books:
- Fearful Symmetry: The Development and Treatment of Sadomasochism
- Emotional Muscle: Strong Parents, Strong Children
- Working with Parents Makes Therapy Work
Gene’s second child and his first with Jeanne Coyne, is Timothy (above). He was born in March of 1962. Biographer Clive Hirschhorn documents how Gene apparently heard about the pregnancy:
While Gigot (1962) was being made in Paris, Jeannie became pregnant and informed Gene of the fact by sending him a birthday card which simply told him that she had his present inside her. (Hirschhorn)
Tim went to the University of Southern California’s Film School and, we think, still works in the film industry. In an interview for People magazine (1984), Tim opens up about his father, including their similar physical characteristics: “Our shirt, sleeve, neck, shoulder size, everything is the same. It’s amazing. I had the greatest black loafers of all time. Boy, I miss those loafers.” (The loafers, along with many of the family’s possessions were lost in a house fire.)
Gene’s third child is Bridget (above). She was born to Gene and Jeanne in 1964. Again, Gene recalls the occasion in Hirschhorn’s biography:
I was in the Cedars of Lebanon hospital waiting for Jeannie to give birth, when I received a phone call from a well-known newspaper columnist who congratulated me on becoming a father again and what, he wanted to know, did I have to say for myself? Well, I had no idea Jeannie had already delivered, and wondered how the hell the guy had heard before me! I knew it was impossible to keep a secret in Hollywood, but this, I thought, was ridiculous!
Bridget attended the American College in Paris and designs costumes for films. Some of her work may be seen The Truth About Cats and Dogs (1996), Airheads (1994), Dennis the Menace (1993), and The Mambo Kings (1992).
Being a parent is probably the most important thing you can do in your life.
My kids and I are very close. — Gene Kelly, The Star (February 1996)