Polio survivor starred in big-screen musicals

By Bartee Haile
During a tour of Europe with a ballet company, 17 year old Tula Ellice Finklea of Amarillo married her instructor Nico Charisse, 32, in Paris on Aug. 12, 1939. If the name on her birth certificate fails to ring a bell, how about Cyd Charisse, the beautiful brunette who danced her way to stardom in the classic Hollywood musicals of the 1940’s and 1950’s? She had gone by “Sid” since childhood because that was how her baby brother mispronounced “Sis” and probably because anything was better than Tula.

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