Fred Astaire, The Legend

Fred Astaire (1899-1987) is considered to be the greatest dancer ever. He is a true icon whose movie career continues to inspire tremendous popularity among people of all ages.

His quest to create beautiful dances using his unique artistry and flawless technical styling, paired him with some of the loveliest and most talented co-stars of his era including female greats Ginger Rogers, Cyd Charisse, Judy Garland and Rita Hayworth and male stars Bing Crosby, Gene Kelly and Clark Gable. On top of his great dancing abilities, Fred also was a composer and singer and first sang many classic #1 hits such as “ Puttin’On The Ritz", "Night and Day", "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails" and "Shall We Dance". Fred′s incredible mark on the history of dance, cinema, stage, television and music remains his true legacy. His choreographic innovations continue to serve as a benchmark for superior dancing and technique.

He was a man composed of sheer elegance, style and poise, a man who will live on for eternity. We at Fred Astaire Franchised Dance Studios in Canton, Connecticut are proud to carry his name and remain committed in all aspects of what we do, to live up to our great tradition.

Biography

Born in 1899, Fred Astaire began his show business career at the age of 5, performing on Broadway and in Vaudeville shows with his sister, Adele. Together, they starred in twelve musicals between 1912 and 1932. In 1932 Adele married a British Lord, so Fred decided to move to Hollywood to further his career. He did not have the easiest beginning there. According to Hollywood folklore, a screen test report on Astaire for RKO Radio Pictures is reported to have read: "Can't sing. Can't act. Balding. Can dance a little". David O. Selznick, who had originally signed Astaire to RKO and commissioned the test stated in a memo: "I am uncertain about the man but I feel, in spite of his enormous ears and bad chin line, that his charm is so tremendous that it comes through even on this wretched test" - They may not have been convinced in the beginning, but history shows how incredibly wrong they were! Between then and 1976 he made thirty-three musical films with such esteemed co-stars as Ginger Rogers, Joan Crawford, Rita Hayworth, Judy Garland, Debbie Reynolds, Audrey Hepburn and Cyd Charisse to name just a few. Fred Astaire also co-starred with the biggest male names of the time including Bing Crosby, Red Skelton, Clark Gable and the great Gene Kelly.

Films

Fred Astaire was not only a great dancer – changing the face of the American movie musical with his style and grace – but he was also an actor in many different dramatic and comedic roles in both movies and TV specials. He won multiple Emmys for his work in television. The Towering Inferno (1974) earned him an Oscar nomination. He received an honorary Academy Award in 1950 for his “unique artistry and his contributions to the technique of musical pictures.”

Music

In addition to his incredible dancing prowess, Fred Astaire also was a fantastic singer and introduced the world to such famous songs as “The Way You Look Tonight”, “They Can’ Take That Away from Me”, “Steppin’ Out with My Baby”, “Top Hat, White Tie and Tails”, “All of You” and “That’s Entertainment” to name just a few.