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Fred Astaire

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A lot comes to mind when one mentions American dancer and entertainer Fred Astaire. Fred Astaire was entertaining and captivating...his talents and presence will never be matched.

Childhood of Fred Astaire:

Fred Astaire was born in Omaha, Nebraska on May 10, 1899. The son of Johanna "Ann" and Frederic "Fritz" Austerlitz, Astaire began dancing at the age of four. He formed an act with his sister, Adele, that became popular at the time. Their first act was called "Juvenile Artists Presenting an Electric Musical Toe-Dancing Novelty." Astaire wore a top hat in the first half and a lobster outfit in the second. Following their debut performance, the local paper wrote, "the Astaires are the greatest child act in vaudeville." Adele eventually married, leaving Astaire to begin his solo career.

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers:

In 1933, Astaire was paired with Ginger Rogers. They were an instant sensation and were featured together in a classic series of films including The Gay Divorcee, Top Hat, and Swing Time. Astaire's partnership with Rogers had a special chemistry. It has been said that he gave her class and she gave him sex appeal. Their dance routines were complicated tap or graceful ballroom routines that portrayed romance. However, only once did the couple share an on-screen kiss.

Fred Astaire and His Influence on Dance:

Fred Astaire is regarded as a pioneer in the serious presentation of dance on film. Although his dancing appeared relaxed and effortless, he actually worked incredibly hard, rehearsing for hours at a time. Several of his dance routines became famous, including the slow-motion dance in Easter Parade, the dance with empty shoes in The Barkleys of Broadway, the ceiling dance and the duet with a hat rack in Royal Wedding, and the dance on air in The Belle of New York.

Personal Life of Fred Astaire:

Astaire married New York socialite Phyllis Potter in 1933. The two were happily married for 21 years, until Potter died of lung cancer at the age of 46, leaving Astaire devastated. He wanted to drop out of his current project, Daddy Long Legs, but he decided to continue with the picture to distract him from his grief.

Astaire was a golf and horse-racing enthusiast, remaining physically active into his eighties. He married Robyn Smith in 1980, an actress turned champion jockey.

Astaire died on June 22, 1987, at the age of 88. One of his last requests was to thank his fans for their many years of support.

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