The Biography of Fred Astaire, born Frederick Austerlitz Jr. He was an American dancer, actor, and singer.
Fred Astaire is widely regarded as one of the greatest performers in the history of American entertainment.
Born on May 10, 1899, in Omaha, Nebraska, Astaire began his career as a vaudeville performer before becoming a successful Broadway star and later transitioning to film.
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Early Life and Career of Fred Astaire
Astaire’s parents were Austrian immigrants who had settled in Omaha. His father, Frederic Austerlitz Sr, was a successful brewer, while his mother, Ann Gelius, was a talented musician.
Astaire had an older sister, Adele, who would later become his dance partner.
Astaire’s parents recognized his natural talent for dance and music at an early age and enrolled him and his sister in dance lessons.
The siblings began performing in vaudeville shows when they were just children, and they quickly gained a reputation as a talented duo.
They eventually became known as “Fred and Adele” and toured the United States and Europe with their vaudeville act.
In the early 1920s, Fred and Adele transitioned to Broadway, where they became stars of the musical comedy stage.
They appeared in a series of successful shows, including “Lady, Be Good!” and “Funny Face,” written by George and Ira Gershwin.
Fred and Adele’s performances were popular for their elegance, precision, and charm, and they quickly became one of the most popular acts on Broadway.
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Solo Career and Hollywood Success
In 1932, Adele Astaire married Lord Charles Cavendish and retired from the stage.
Fred Astaire continued to perform on Broadway and eventually transitioned to Hollywood, where he became one of the most successful and beloved movie stars of the 1930s and 1940s.
Astaire’s first film was “Dancing Lady” in 1933, which starred Joan Crawford.
Although he had a small role, his performance was memorable, and he quickly became a sought-after leading man.
In 1934, he starred in “The Gay Divorcee” with Ginger Rogers, the first of ten films they would make together.
Astaire and Rogers quickly became one of Hollywood’s most popular and successful on-screen duos.
They starred in classic films such as “Top Hat” (1935), “Swing Time” (1936), and “Shall We Dance” (1937), which featured some of the most iconic dance numbers in movie history.
Astaire’s dancing was famous for its grace, athleticism, and elegance, and his partnership with Rogers was known for its chemistry and humor.
Astaire also had success outside of his partnership with Rogers. He starred in films such as “Easter Parade” (1948) with Judy Garland and “Royal Wedding” (1951), in which he performed a memorable dance routine with a coat rack.
He continued to work in films throughout the 1950s and 1960s, and he received an Academy Award for his performance in the 1974 film “The Towering Inferno.”
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Legacy and Personal Life of Fred Astaire
The biography of Fred Astaire would not be complete without referencing his legacy.
Astaire was known for his perfectionism and his tireless work ethic. He was involved in every aspect of his performances, from choreography to costume design.
Also, he demanded the same level of dedication and professionalism from his co-stars and crew.
In addition, he is known for his modesty and his graciousness, and he was beloved by his colleagues and fans alike.
Astaire was married twice, first to socialite Phyllis Potter in 1933 and then to jockey Robyn Smith in 1980.