Which performer had their final movie appearance in the 1980 film Xanadu?
And the answer: Gene Kelly.
Featuring disco and lots of roller skates, Xanadu was a 1980 musical that starred Olivia Newton-John, Michael Beck, and Gene Kelly in his final film role. Unfortunately critics weren't impressed with the movie, and it became the inspiration for the Golden Raspberry Awards, which recognize the worst films of the year.
At the time of its inception, Xanadu was poised to be a hit. The star-studded cast and colorful concept had all the makings for an entertaining night. And, in a sense, it certainly did make waves – who could look away from a film laden with Greek mythology, roller skates, and features from Electric Light Orchestra? Unfortunately, many audience members were less than enchanted by the eclectic concept. Upon its release in theaters on August 8, 1980, Xanadu was met with negative reviews and unexceptional box office returns.
Interestingly, the film was meant to launch Olivia Newton-John's career as a solo star. However, thanks to its failure at the American box office, it became the one and only time she received top billing without a co-star in a theatrical release.
While the film wasn't a hit on the silver screen, its soundtrack was well-loved. In fact, the single "Magic" scored Olivia Newton-John a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks in August 1980. The soundtrack also peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200, launching five singles that charted on the top 20.
Famously, the film received the following one sentence review: "In a word, Xana-don't." Ouch.