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Fred Astaire

Widely regarded as one of the most influential dancers in the history of film and television musicals.

Fred Astaire

Filmography

1933      

Dancing Lady 

Flying Down to Rio

 

1934      

The Gay Divorcee

 

1935      

Roberta

Top Hat

Swing Time

 

1936      

Follow the Fleet

 

1937      

Shall We Dance

A Damsel in Distress

 

1938      

Carefree

 

1939      

The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle

 

1940      

Broadway Melody of 1940 

Second Chorus 

 

1941      

You’ll Never Get Rich

 

1942      

Holiday Inn

You Were Never Lovelier

 

1943      

The Sky’s the Limit

 

1945      

Yolanda and the Thief 

 

1946      

Ziegfeld Follies 

Blue Skies

 

1948      

Easter Parade

 

1949      

The Barkleys of Broadway

 

1950      

Three Little Words

Let’s Dance 

 

1951      

Royal Wedding

The Pleasure of His Company 

 

1952      

The Belle of New York

 

1953      

The Band Wagon

 

1955      

Daddy Long Legs 

 

1957      

Funny Face 

Silk Stockings

 

1959      

On the Beach

 

1962      

The Notorious Landlady

 

1968      

Finian’s Rainbow 

 

1969      

Midas Run 

 

1974      

That’s Entertainment! 

The Towering Inferno 

 

1976      

That’s Entertainment, Part II 

The Amazing Dobermans

 

1977      

The Purple Taxi 

 

1981      

Ghost Story 

 

1994      

That’s Entertainment! III

Awards

Fred Astaire was nominated for one Academy Award Best Actor in a Supporting Role for The Towering Inferno (1974).

In 1950, he received an Honorary Oscar :For his unique artistry and his contributions to the technique of musical pictures”.

I’m just a hoofer with a spare set of tails. ~ Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire born Frederick Austerlitz on May 10, 1899 in Omaha, Nebraska, the son of Johanna “Ann” (née Geilus) and Frederic “Fritz” Austerlitz (born September 8, 1868 as Friedrich Emanuel Austerlitz).

Astaire’s mother dreamed of escaping Omaha by virtue of her children’s talents, after Astaire’s sister, Adele Astaire, early on revealed herself to be an instinctive dancer and singer. She planned a “brother and sister act,” which was common in vaudeville at the time. Although Astaire refused dance lessons at first, he easily mimicked his older sister’s steps and took up piano, accordion, and clarinet.

When their father suddenly lost his job, the family moved to New York City in 1905 to launch the show business career of the children, who began training at the Alviene Master School of the Theatre and Academy of Cultural Arts.

Despite Adele and Fred’s teasing rivalry, they quickly acknowledged their individual strengths, his durability and her greater talent. Fred and Adele’s mother suggested they change their name to “Astaire,” as she felt “Austerlitz” sounded reminiscent of the name of a battle. Family legend attributes the name to an uncle surnamed “L’Astaire.” They were taught dance, speaking, and singing in preparation for developing an act. Their first act was called Juvenile Artists Presenting an Electric Musical Toe-Dancing Novelty. Fred wore a top hat and tails in the first half and a lobster outfit in the second. In an interview, Astaire’s daughter, Ava Astaire McKenzie, observed that they often put Fred in a top hat to make him look taller. The goofy act debuted in Keyport, New Jersey, in a “tryout theater.” The local paper wrote, “the Astaires are the greatest child act in vaudeville.”

As a result of their father’s salesmanship, Fred and Adele rapidly landed a major contract and played the famed Orpheum Circuit in the Midwest, Western and some Southern cities in the United States. Soon Adele grew to at least three inches taller than Fred and the pair began to look incongruous. The family decided to take a two-year break from show business to let time take its course and to avoid trouble from the Gerry Society and the child labor laws of the time. In 1912, Fred became an Episcopalian. The career of the Astaire siblings resumed with mixed fortunes, though with increasing skill and polish, as they began to incorporate tap dancing into their routines. Astaire’s dancing