Fred Astaire is regarded by many as the greatest popular music dancer of all time. Astaire is usually remembered for his pairings with Ginger Rogers, who starred in several films with him, including Swing Time Light on his feet, Fred Astaire revolutionized the movie musical with his elegant and seemingly effortless dance style. He may have made dancing look easy, but he was a well-known perfectionist, and his work was the product of endless hours of practice. Astaire started performing as a child, partnering up with his older sister Adele. The two toured the vaudeville circuit before making it to Broadway in Among their many productions the brother-sister team starred in the George and Ira Gershwin musical Funny Face. For all his early success, though, career in the movies eluded Astaire.
Who Was Fred Astaire?
He is widely considered the most influential dancer in the history of film. His stage and subsequent film and television careers spanned a total of 76 years. He starred in more than 10 Broadway and West End musicals, made 31 musical films , four television specials, and issued numerous recordings. Among most notable films where Astaire took the genre of tap dancing to a new level, should be mentioned Top Hat and Shall We Dance His most memorable dancing partnership was with Ginger Rogers , with whom he co-starred in a series of ten Hollywood musicals. Astaire's father was born in Linz , Austria, to Jewish parents who had converted to Roman Catholicism. Astaire's mother dreamed of escaping Omaha by her children's talents, after Astaire's sister, Adele Astaire , revealed herself to be an instinctive dancer and singer very early on in her childhood. Johanna planned a "brother and sister act", common in vaudeville at the time, for her two children. Although Fred refused dance lessons at first, he easily mimicked his older sister's steps and took up piano , accordion , and clarinet.
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Astaire and Rogers
See the gallery. Check out some of our favorite photos of the iconic dancer, actor, and all-around dapper gentleman, Fred Astaire through the years. See Fred through the years.
Fred Astaire, whose flashing feet and limber legs not only made him America's most popular dancer but also set standards for motion picture musical comedies that have rarely been met and never exceeded, died of pneumonia yesterday at Century City Hospital in Los Angeles. He was 88 years old. Astaire blithely danced his way into the heart of an America tormented by the Depression and edging toward World War II. His deceptively easy-looking light-footedness, warm smile, top hat, cane, charm and talent helped people to forget the real world that nagged at them outside the movie house. In a statement released by the White House press office, President Reagan said: ''Nancy and I are deeply saddened by the loss of a very dear friend. Fred Astaire, an American legend, has died. We join the entire nation in mourning his passing, and our heart-felt sympathies are with his wife, Robyn, and his family. Reagan said.