Legendary dancer and actress Cyd Charisse died on Tuesday at the age of 86. In 1952 MGM reportedly insured Charisse's legs for a sum of 5 million dollars. Though sufficient to earn her an entry in The Guinness Book of World Records under the category "Most Valuable Legs," even adjusted for inflation that was clearly an inadequate amount. Impossibly graceful, Charisse was the only female dancer whose athleticism could rival Gene Kelly's (as you can see in this clip from Singin' In the Rain). Ironically, it was poor health that served as her introduction to the world of dance--at the age of six her doctor recommended exercise to aid in her recovery from polio.
Charisse is survived by her husband of nearly 60 years, singer Tony Martin and two sons, Nico "Nicky" Charisse and Tony Martin Jr.