Donald O’Connor Dancing “Make Em Laugh”, 1952

“Make ‘Em Laugh” is a song first featured in the 1952 film Singin’ in the Rain, frenetically performed by Donald O’Connor. Written by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed, the song is closely based on Cole Porter’s “Be a Clown”. O’Connor’s song-and-dance routine in Singin’ in the Rain is noted for its extreme physical difficulty, featuring dozens of jumps, pratfalls, and two backflips. Hollywood legend states that O’Connor, though only 27 years old at the time and a chain-smoker, was bedridden for several days after filming the sequence. This high degree of difficulty has made the original routine a tour de force in physical comedy.