Actor and dancer Fred Astaire brought us many hours of enjoyment and entertainment. Dancing with Ginger Rogers skyrocketed his career.
Frederick Austerlitz was born on May 10, 1899 in Omaha, Nebraska and was the younger of two children. His older sister, Adele, was only 18 months older than young Frederick, and both children showed an ability to dance at an early age of four years old. Fred used to accompany his sister to her ballet lessons.
In 1904, Fred’s mother moved both him and his sister to New York where they were enrolled in a school for the performing arts where they both learned how to tap dance. Both Adele and Fred then worked on the vaudeville stage. Their mother home schooled both children as they worked on the vaudeville circuit touring the different towns.
Because of World War I, the Austerlitz’s Americanized their name to Astaire and the new dancing duo of Adele and Fred Astaire became just as popular as when they were dancing under their Austrian last name. In 1932, Adele retired from working because she was wed to Lord Charles Cavendish. This left Fred Astaire to work on his own. It didn’t take him long to find a new dance partner, Claire Luce. Over the years Fred Astaire had many leading ladies and dance partners until he was paired up with Ginger Rogers who was not a dancer. Miss Rogers was an actress and singer and had to work many hours to be able to keep up with her co-worker, Fred Astaire. Throughout his acting and dancing career, Fred Astaire was a perfectionist and expected the same high standards of everyone that worked around him.
This dancing duo was popular and both of their careers skyrocketed until 1939 when they both decided to go their separate ways. Fred’s career seemed to plummet and in 1945 he decided to retire from acting and open up his own dance studio chain – Fred Astaire’s Dance Studio and they are still thriving today.
In 1948 Mr. Astaire was brought back to work in the movies starring Easter Parade because Gene Kelly had a mishap and broke one of his ankles. He continued working on stage, in films and on television until 1970 when he was over 70 years of age.
Fred Astaire passed on from this world on June 22, 1987 from pneumonia in Los Angeles, California.