Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire


5/10/1899, Omaha, Nebraska, USA



Birth Name

Frederic Austerlitz Jr.


out of 10
User Rating
17 votes



He started off in show business dancing alongside his sister Adele Astaire on stage. Then he headed off to Hollywood alone to dance alongside Ginger Rogers and a host of other talented dancers. He started a dance studio called Fred Astaire Dance Studios that is still in business today.



Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Fred was placed on the Greatest Male Lead Actors list by the American Film Institute, on June 16, 1999, coming in at #5, behind Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, James Stewart, and Marlon Brando.

    • Fred was married twice, the first time in 1933, to Phyllis Potter In addition to Phyllis's son, Eliphalet IV, known as Peter, the Astaires had two children, Fred Jr. (born 1936, he appeared with his father in the movie Midas Run but became a charter pilot and rancher instead of an actor), and Ava, Mrs. Richard McKenzie (born 1942). Phyllis died in 1954.
      He married again in 1980, to Robyn Smith, an actress turned champion jockey almost 45 years his junior.

    • Fred's television special, "An Evening With Fred Astaire," broadcast on October 17, 1958, won nine Emmy Awards, including "Best Single Performance by an Actor" and "Most Outstanding Single Program of the Year." It was also noteworthy for being the first major broadcast to be prerecorded on color videotape.

    • Fred was an Episcopalian.

    • Fred insisted on having a stationary rather than moving camera to film dance numbers, starting with The Gay Divorcee (1934) until his final musical film, Finian's Rainbow (1968), when director Francis Ford Coppola overruled him as well as firing Hermes Pan, Fred's personal choreography partner and friend.

    • Fred co-founded the Fred Astaire Dance Studios in 1947 and franchised it in 1950. There are 110 franchise studios as of 2006, and it is headquarterd in Longmeadow, Massachusetts.

    • Fred liked to golf, hunt, and fish in his spare time to keep in shape.

    • Fred first announced his "retirement" after completing Blue Skies (1946) to spend time with his family, but this was short-lived and he returned with Easter Parade (1948) two years later.

    • Fred was MGM's first choice to play George M. Cohen in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1939) but turned it down and the role was given to James Cagney.

    • Fred was originally considered to play Bert, the chimney sweep, in Mary Poppins (1964) but turned it down and DIck Van Dyke was cast in his place.

    • Fred felt his hands were too big and when dancing with his arms outstretched he would often bend his two middle fingers towards his palm to try hiding their size.

    • The camera technique that made Fred appear as though he were dancing up the walls and then on the ceiling in Royal Wedding (1951) was used by Lionel Ritchie in his 1984 video for his song "Dancing On The Ceiling".

    • Fred was a horse-riding and racing fan.

    • In August 2006 TV Guide announced that Fred Astaire will be portrayed in an upcoming biographical movie by Benji Schwimmer, a winner on the Fox television program, So You Think You Can Dance?

    • Fred received his part in Easter Parade (1948) only after Gene Kelly, the original choice, had injured himself.

    • Fred is buried at Oakland Memorial Park in Chatsworth, California, the same place as his long-time co-star/dancing partner, Ginger Rogers.

    • Fred starred in a total of 10 movies with Ginger Rogers. These include:
      Flying Down to Rio (1933)
      The Gay Divorcee (1934)
      Roberta (1935)
      Top Hat (1935)
      Follow The Fleet (1936)
      Swing Time (1936)
      Shall We Dance? (1937)
      Carefree (1938)
      The Story of Vernon & Irene Castle (1939)
      The Barkleys of Broadway (1949)

    • Fred's legs were insured for $1 million.

    • Fred has a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame at 6756 Hollywood Boulevard.

    • Fred was given the Lifetime Achievement award by the American Film Institute in 1981.

    • Fred received an honorary Oscar in 1950, for "his unique artistry and his contributions to the technique of musical pictures." He was also nominated in 1975 for Best Supporting Actor in The Towering Inferno.

    • Fred received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1978.

    • Fred's initial screen test report for RKO Pictures read: "Can't sing. Can't act. Balding. Can dance a little."

    • His best friend was Irving Berlin.

    • The name of Fred Astaire's autobiography, published in 1959 by Harper, is titled "Steps in Time."

    • Fred Astaire appears on the sleeve of The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album.

    • Fred Astaire was known for sporting a top hat and tails in many of his movies. Ironically, he hated wearing them and preferred casual dress.

    • Fred began his show business career at age 5 as his sister Adele's dance partner.

    • Fred Astaire began dancing when, while waiting with his mother during his sister Adele's dance lessons, he began to copy the students.

  • Quotes

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  • A dancer and musician extroadinare, who charms ladies flawlessly.

    The absolute greatest dancing master who ever lived. Fred could do virtually anything from sing to dance to play instruments, and he made it all look so easy.

    Although he was short and scrawny, andhad one of the worst hairstyles a celebrity could have, his sheer talent and ability to play almost any part more than made up for it. Even after his dancing careers with other star such as Ginger Rogers and Judy Garland had elapsed, he maintained his worth as a dramatic actor in films such as "On The Beach."

    Defintely worth a look any chance you have. There will never be someone like Fred Astaire to touch the world again.moreless