Flash Bio: Fred Astaire

Born on May 10th, 1899, as Frederic Austerlitz Jr., this talented actor and beloved dancer began his career in vaudeville when he was only 5. Spurred by his mother, young Fred began working next to his sister Adele, with whom he enjoyed a fruitful partnership for many years. After moving to New York, the brothers changed their last name to Astaire, and worked non-stop in several acts.bio-fred-astaire

At first outshined by his sister, soon Fred began incorporating new steps and music to their shows. In the late 20’s, when the siblings began performing on Broadway, Fred’s talent began being noticed by the critics, and in the early 30’s, the siblings split after Adele’s marriage. Almost immediately, Fred achieved success on his own through the stage version of The Gay Divorcee.

It wasn’t long until Hollywood came knocking at his door, and Fred participated in the successful films Dancing Lady and Flying down to Rio. In the latter, he was partnered for the first time with Ginger Rogers, gaining the audiences’ and critics’ affection. Although he participated in several profitable musical films with other actresses such as Cyd Charisse, Leslie Caron, Judy Garland, Audrey Hepburn, etc.; it was his partnership with Ginger Rogers which was deemed the favorite in the long run.

Astaire contributed to the movie musical by advocating for filming dances in a single shot, and incorporating song and dance to the narratives in what would later be known as the integrated musical.

Astaire announced his retirement from dancing twice, yet he remained tied to this art form through television and the That’s Entertainment! documentaries. As of today, Fred Astaire is considered one of the best dancers of film history, and is widely venerated by musical enthusiasts.

Astaire received an Honorary Academy Award in 1950, won three Golden Globe awards in 1951, 1961 and 1975; and 3 Emmy awards in 1959, 1961 and 1978.

He passed away on June 22, 1987.



Musical filmography

Dancing lady (1993)

Flying down to Rio (1933)

The gay divorcee (1934)

Roberta (1935)

Top hat (1935)

Swing time (1936)

Shall we dance (1937)

A damsel in distress (1937)

Carefree (1938)

The story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939)

Broadway melody of 1940 (1940)

Second chorus (1940)

You’ll never get rich (1941)

Holiday inn (1942)

You were never lovelier (1942)

The sky’s the limit (1943)

Yolanda and the thief (1945)

Ziegfeld follies (1946)

Blue skies (1946)

Easter parade (1948)

The Barkleys of Broadway (1949)

Three little words (1950)

Let’s dance (1950)

Royal wedding (1951)

The Belle of New York (1952)

The band wagon (1953)

Daddy long legs (1955)

Funny face (1957)

Silk stockings (1957)

Finian’s rainbow (1968)

That’s entertainment! (1974)

That’s entertainment, part II (1976)





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