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Fred Astaire

Next star: Frank Albertson
Previous star: The Brothers Ritz

Biography

The evaluation of Fred Astaire’s first screen test: “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Balding. Can dance a little.” Little did they know that Fred Astaire was soon to be one of the greatest male stars of all time. Fred Astaire was an American film and Broadway stage dancer, choreographer, singer and actor whose stage and subsequent film career spanned a total of seventy-six years, during which he made thirty-one musical films. Fred Astaire entered show business at age 5 and soon became successful both in vaudeville and on Broadway in partnership with his sister, Adele Astaire. After Adele retired to marry in 1932, Astaire headed to Hollywood. Signed to RKO, he was loaned to MGM to appear in Dancing Lady (1933) before starting work on RKO’s Flying Down to Rio (1933). In the latter film, he began his highly successful partnership with Ginger Rogers, with whom he danced in nine RKO pictures. During these years, he was also active in recording and radio.

After a temporary retirement from 1945-1947, during which he opened Fred Astaire Dance Studios, Astaire returned to film to star in more musicals through 1957. Some of Fred Astaire’s most memorable films include Ziegfeld Follies (1946), Three Little Words (1950), for which he won a Globen Globe, and Royal Wedding (1951), in which he performed his famous “Ceiling Dance.” According to Gene Kelly, “The history of dance on film begins with [Fred] Astaire.” Beyond film and television, many classical dancers and choreographers, including Rudolf Nureyev and Jerome Robbins, also acknowledge Astaire’s importance and influence. In 1999, Fred Astaire was named the fifth Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute.

Fred Astaire is proof that to make it in Hollywood, you must never give up even if you are first met with disappointment.

Fact file

Read more about Fred Astaire at Wikipedia or at the Internet Movie Database

In the news

"Funny Face," Starring Fred Astaire, Audrey Hepburn and Kay Thompson, Receives Blu-Ray Release April 8
Playbill Combined , 2014-04-08 04:00:00
The movie musical "Funny Face," starring Academy Award nominee Fred Astaire, Tony and Academy Award winner Audrey Hepburn and Kay Thompson, is released on Blu-Ray April 8.

ArtsBeat: Classical Playlist: Beethoven, the Bad Plus, Fred Astaire and More
NY Times Music, 2014-04-02 16:00:38
Times critics share what they’ve been listening to lately.    

ON THE RECORD: Vintage Fred Astaire Recordings from The Early Years at RKO, Plus "Lost Broadway and More"
Playbill Combined , 2014-01-19 05:01:00
This week's column discusses the hit-filled compilation "Fred Astaire: The Early Years at RKO," plus a collection of mostly unknown songs by Comden, Green & Styne under the title "Lost Broadway and More."

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