Kerry Kelly Novich was raised by one of the vital iconic stars from Hollywood’s golden period – however she insisted her childhood was “peculiar.”
Gene Kelly, the beloved song-and-dance man who starred in movies like “Singin’ within the Rain,” “On the City,” “Anchors Aweigh” and “An American in Paris,” handed away in 1996 at age 83. The actor appeared in 45 movies and his profitable profession in Hollywood spanned a half-century. Right this moment, he’s nonetheless revered as a pioneer in dance on movie.
Kerry Novich didn’t observe in her father’s footsteps however she carved out a profession for herself that celebrates his love of household. She is a toddler, adolescent and grownup psychoanalyst with over 55 years of expertise, in addition to an writer. She and her husband lately teamed as much as write “Emotional Muscle: Sturdy Mother and father, Sturdy Youngsters,” which she mentioned is geared in the direction of “dad and mom, grandparents and academics.”
Kerry Novich spoke to Fox Information about what it was like rising up with the late star, his early years within the Navy, in addition to how he felt about Hollywood.
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Fox Information: When did you first notice that your father was completely different from different dads?
Kerry Kelly Novick: Effectively, one factor about rising up in Beverly Hills is that just about everyone’s father or mom was in present enterprise. So it wasn’t so completely different.
I feel it was extra of a realization that for the remainder of the world, everyone’s dad and mom weren’t well-known. However as a result of it was so peculiar the place I grew up, it didn’t really feel completely different. And my father was peculiar, too. He and I might go get bagels after which head to the ironmongery store. My mother and I might go to the general public library. So our lives had been very peculiar.
Fox Information: What was it like rising up with Gene Kelly?
Kelly Novick: He was a really devoted, out there and current dad with me and my siblings. And he was enjoyable and energetic. He was very a lot concerned in our schoolwork. However he additionally beloved enjoying video games with us.
Fox Information: What’s a favourite reminiscence you could have of your father?
Kelly Novick: There are definitely many. However one which all the time involves thoughts is from the time that I used to be very small. I used to be most likely 4 or 5. We had a behavior. Each time he was residence early after supper, he would sit in his massive crimson leather-based chair within the den and he would choose one thing for us to learn from the encyclopedia. That’s truly how I discovered to learn. All of us loved studying new issues and he made it enjoyable for us.
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Fox Information: Your father enlisted within the Navy. How a lot of an impression did that have have on him?
Kelly Novick: He enlisted within the Navy as a result of his quantity was up. After which he went as well camp in San Diego. After that, he boxed and went by fundamental coaching. They assigned him to the movie unit that made coaching movies for the Navy. Then he proceeded till the tip of the conflict to make coaching movies, like tips on how to assemble and disassemble your rifle and issues like that.
Probably the most vital coaching movie he made is one referred to as “Fight Fatigue Irritability.” That’s a brief movie that he directed and partially wrote. And it talks about what was then generally known as “fight fatigue irritability,” which was referred to as “shell shock” earlier. These days, it’s PTSD. It handled the impression of fight experiences on troopers and sailors. It additionally appeared on the completely different sorts of therapies they obtained. It was a very highly effective film for its time that may now be discovered on the Nationwide Library of Medication, together with John Fords’s which had been related.
Fox Information: It looks as if psychological well being wasn’t one thing that was mentioned or understood as it’s right now.
Kelly Novick: I feel it was in some circles. My dad and mom had been intellectuals and really avant-garde. In order that they had been conscious of psychological well being points. My father used to go to veteran’s hospitals to entertain the younger males who had been in restoration. I feel everyone was very aware of psychological well being wants. And I felt my father’s movie was very fascinating, particularly for me since I’m a psychological well being skilled.
Fox Information: What was your father’s relationship like with the opposite servicemen?
Kelly Novick: It was wonderful. My father grew up in a modest household in Pittsburgh in a working-class neighborhood. He all the time noticed himself as an everyday individual. I feel he acquired on very properly with everyone within the service. He additionally misplaced his best possible mates in fight, so it was all the time an necessary trigger to him.
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Fox Information: What are some enjoyable info about Gene Kelly that will shock followers right now?
Kelly Novick: His faculty diploma was in economics. He minored in political science and had an abiding curiosity in American historical past and politics. Within the public, he’s seen as a carefree, athletic dancer. However in personal he was such an mental who was all the time curious and skim on a regular basis.
Fox Information: It feels like your dad and mom weren’t the “film star” sort.
Kelly Novick: They had been each dancers, however they had been additionally onerous employees. They had been like skilled athletes in order that they didn’t have the posh of simply lolling round. They had been introduced up by hard-working households the place everybody labored and had a task. My father was a part of supporting his household from when he was in faculty. His household ran two dancing faculties in Pennsylvania. After the Melancholy, my grandfather misplaced his job. And the dancing faculties supported the household. My mom’s mom was a faculty trainer who additionally took care of the household.
They achieved success in Hollywood, however my father all the time knew that he was going to guide his personal sort of life. So after I got here alongside, they didn’t need me to be some kind of wealthy child. I had chores and a small allowance. We had been a really completely different Hollywood household. On the weekends, my dad and mom held actions like volleyball, baseball, softball and ping-pong. At night time, they had been enjoying charades and singing songs across the piano.
On Sunday nights, they often confirmed a film in the lounge with a 16-millimeter projector. I used to be about 11 after I discovered tips on how to run the projector and I used to be very happy with that. They valued the significance of onerous work, however in addition they valued the significance of household. Our home was crammed with all kinds of inventive individuals, however they had been additionally good mates who had been having a beautiful time with us.
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Fox Information: Did your father ever educate you to bounce?
Kelly Novick: *Laughs*. He provided to show me. I had one lesson after which he mentioned I needed to follow every single day or else he wouldn’t proceed the teachings. I didn’t follow. So he didn’t proceed the teachings. That mirrored in his work ethic.
Fox Information: Is it true that Judy Garland was a household good friend?
Kelly Novick: She was. She and my dad had been very shut mates. I feel he was all the time extraordinarily grateful to Judy. She was already established in films when he was delivered to Hollywood. He all the time mentioned that she was the one who taught him tips on how to act in films. She taught him the significance of constructing small gestures to convey a sense and utilizing facial expressions in a extra nuanced manner. She was welcoming and sort to him. He by no means forgot that. They had been all the time singing and dancing collectively. They remained mates till she died. So Judy and her household had been very a lot part of my childhood.
Fox Information: What had been your father’s later years like?
Kelly Novick: There was a profession change. The studio system started to vary so he began doing extra directing and cameo appearances. My step-mother died younger, leaving my brother and sister on the ages of 9 and 7. At that time, my dad decided to not do any extra movies on location. If he couldn’t convey the children, he wouldn’t do it.
By that point, I used to be grown up and residing in England. He was functioning as a single mum or dad and made the skilled resolution to remain residence and look after my siblings. So his later years had been of devotion. He sorted my brother and sister they usually had been very a lot a precedence. However he was additionally a mentor to many younger artists. Folks would all the time search him out for profession recommendation and possibly private recommendation like Paula Abdul and Michael Jackson. He was thrilled to do it.
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Fox Information: You’ve been working with youngsters and households for a very long time. How did your upbringing encourage you to pursue this function, versus working in Hollywood?
Kelly Novick: I used to be all the time inquisitive about caring for youngsters. I used to babysit loads as a child. I briefly labored in designing units and being a fancy dress supervisor after faculty. However I then went again to high school and skilled to be a toddler psychoanalyst with Anna Freud in London.
It was a steady thread. My father was all the time very inquisitive about youngsters. He was a trainer and considered one of my grandmothers was a trainer. There was a powerful custom within the household of taking note of the wants of kids. There have been scenes with youngsters in virtually each considered one of my father’s movies. He was happy with me. He had lots of confidence in me and knew this was additionally necessary to me. He would say, “I belief your alternative. If that is what you wish to do, go for it.”
Fox Information: What’s life like for you right now?
Kelly Novick: It’s terrific. I’ve three youngsters and 9 grandchildren. I’m nonetheless very energetic in my profession. My husband and I write books collectively. We’re each psychoanalysts so we do lots of instructing. I’m 79 and I’m wholesome, blissful and busy.
Fox Information: Earlier than your father’s passing, how did he really feel about Hollywood?
Kelly Novick: He was very happy with his profession. He was additionally grateful that individuals continued to worth his work, particularly in the direction of the tip of his life. At one level, he instructed me, “I simply wish to make individuals blissful.” I feel he succeeded. His movies educate us the enjoyment of inventive expression. It is not solely believable for individuals to stroll down the road and abruptly burst into track and dance. However the concept that this lives inside us is, I feel, a strong purpose why we nonetheless love his movies.