2023 Author: Leah Sherlock | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 12:28
Fred Astaire is an American theater and film actor, dancer, singer, choreographer, producer and television host. He was one of the main stars of Hollywood musicals, actively worked on Broadway. Considered one of the most influential dancers and choreographers of all time. Over a nearly eighty-year career, he has participated in fifty feature-length and television projects.
Childhood and youth
Fred Astaire was born on May 10, 1899 in Omaha, Nebraska. Real name - Frederick Emmanuel Austerlitz. Has German and Austrian roots. Fred's older sister, Adele, was a talented dancer in her childhood, the mother of the family decided to send her son to dance lessons, as creative duets of brother and sister were popular in those days.
Soon the family moved to New York, where the children continued to attend various acting classes, and also learned to dance and play musical instruments.
After the successful debut of the Asters and several years of performances, they had to suspend their careers due to the fact that Adele became much taller than Fred and the duetstopped looking organic. During the break from performances, the brother and sister continued to actively train and learn new dance styles.
In 1912, Adele and Fred Astaire returned to the stage. During this period, the brother also took on the responsibility of providing musical accompaniment to numbers, at the age of fourteen he collaborated with the famous composer George Gershwin.
In the early twenties, the Asters appeared on Broadway, becoming participants in many successful musicals. The duo also worked in theaters in London. By that time, Fred Astaire began to surpass his sister in dancing skills and, according to many professionals, was considered the best tap dancer in the world.
In 1932, Adele Astaire married the Duke of Cavendish and ended her stage career. Fred continued to perform solo, he participated in Broadway musicals and tried to break into the movies, but Hollywood producers considered him unsuitable for the screen.
Together with new dance partner Claire Luci, Fred Astaire was able to put on some dance numbers that were more romantic and sensual. One of the couple's numbers got into the television version of the play "Merry Divorce". This was the start of a film career for the dancer.
However, major studios were in no hurry to sign a contract with the artist. Looking at a photo of Fred Astaire, one of the Hollywood producers noted that there was nothing special about him, besides, he was going bald and had huge ears. However, renowned producer David Selznick has signed Astaire.
Soon Fred appeared in a small role in the musical comedy "Dancing Lady". In his next film "Flight to Rio" he became part of a duet with Ginger Rogers. Initially, the artist was against long-term cooperation with another partner, but the success of their dance number convinced him to continue their career together.
The duet with Ginger Rogers was the most fruitful in the filmography of Fred Astaire. Together they played in ten films, almost all of them became box office hits. The popularity of the actors was so great that they even received a percentage of the profits at the box office, which was an unheard of practice in those days.
Fred tried to work with other partners, but these pictures were unsuccessful. After the break, he starred in two more films with Rogers, they became box office hits, but Astaire continued to work with other partners. For example, he starred in two films with Rita Hayworth, and also appeared on screen with Lucille Bremer in two projects.
Retirement and return
In 1946, Fred Astaire announced his retirement from acting. He founded a chain of dance studios named after himself, but soon lost interest in the business and sold his stake to partners.
The actor returned to the screen two years later, when he was offered to replace the injured Gene Kelly in the movie Easter Parade. A year later, Fred Astaire worked with Ginger Rogers again for the last time in his career.
In the fifties, the popularity of film musicals began to decline,many projects involving Fred turned out to be box office failures. Soon, contracts with him and many other actors of the studio were terminated. In 1958, he announced that he was ending musical films and would work as a dramatic actor.
In subsequent years, Fred Astaire created four musical programs on television and received an Emmy Award. He also played dramatic roles in the films "On the Shore" and "Hell in the Sky", was nominated for the Golden Globe Award.
In 1968, one of the best films with Fred Astaire, Francis Ford Coppola's musical Finian's Rainbow, was released. However, the picture was a box office failure and gained cult status only a few years later.
In recent years, the actor continued to work on television, played in several series and television films. He also released several music albums. The last film role in the biography of Fred Astaire was the thriller "Ghost Story" in 1981.
It is believed that it was Astaire who came up with the idea of filming dances in film musicals in one shot, if possible, so that the actors always remain in the frame. Famous dancers and choreographers Bob Fosse, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Michael Jackson recognized the influence of Fred's dance style on their work.
Fred Astaire first married in his youth, the marriage lasted two years. In 1933 he married Phyllis Potter. The couple lived together for twenty-one years until Phyllisdied of lung cancer. Two children were born in the marriage, and the couple also raised their son Phyllis from their first marriage.
Fred Astaire was fond of golf and horse racing. Died at the age of eighty-eight from complications of pneumonia.
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