Pic producer paragons
Freed received the Acad’s Thalberg Award at the 1952 Oscars ceremony, the night his “An American in Paris” won picture.
Of course, the musical had been a MGM staple since “Broadway Melody of 1929,” but the way in which “An American in Paris” reached out toward ballet, impressionist painting and a non-American culture shows what the form had become under Freed.
His great qualifications were being a songwriter (“Singin’ in the Rain” most notably) and a man who always found reasons to agree with Louis B. Mayer. Freed was a rough yes-man who could handle such diverse and tricky talents as Vincente Minnelli, Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly, Busby Berkeley, Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Cyd Charisse and so on — all the way down to people like Roger Edens, Andre Previn, Michael Kidd and Kay Thompson.