74 Facts About Fred Astaire


Fred Astaire is widely regarded as the "greatest popular-music dancer of all time".


Fred Astaire received numerous accolades including an Honorary Academy Award, three Primetime Emmy Awards, a BAFTA Award, two Golden Globe Awards, and a Grammy Award.


Fred Astaire was honored with the Film Society of Lincoln Center tribute in 1973, the Kennedy Center Honors in 1978, and AFI Life Achievement Award in 1980.


Fred Astaire was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960, American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1972, and the Television Hall of Fame in 1989.


Fred Astaire starred in more than 10 Broadway and West End musicals, made 31 musical films, four television specials, and numerous recordings.


Fred Astaire's fame grew in films like Holiday Inn, Easter Parade, The Band Wagon, Funny Face, and Silk Stockings.


Fred Astaire was born Frederick Austerlitz on May 10,1899, in Omaha, Nebraska, the son of Johanna "Ann" and Friedrich "Fritz" Emanuel Austerlitz, known in the US as Frederic Austerlitz.


Fred Astaire's mother was born in the US to Lutheran German immigrants from East Prussia and Alsace.


Fred Astaire's father was born in Linz in Upper Austria, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, to Catholic parents who had converted from Judaism.


Fred Astaire's mother dreamed of escaping Omaha by her children's talents.


Fred Astaire's older sister, Adele, was an instinctive dancer and singer early in her childhood.


Fred Astaire wore a top hat and tails in the first half and a lobster outfit in the second.


The career of the Fred Astaire siblings resumed with mixed fortunes, though with increasing skill and polish, as they began to incorporate tap dancing into their routines.


Fred Astaire's dancing was inspired by Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and John "Bubbles" Sublett.


Fred Astaire first met George Gershwin, who was working as a song plugger for Jerome H Remick's music publishing company, in 1916.


Fred Astaire had already been hunting for new music and dance ideas.


Fred Astaire was always on the lookout for new steps on the circuit and was starting to demonstrate his ceaseless quest for novelty and perfection.


Fred Astaire went on to achieve success on his own on Broadway and in London with Gay Divorce while considering offers from Hollywood.


The end of the partnership was traumatic for Fred Astaire but stimulated him to expand his range.


Free of the brother-sister constraints of the former pairing and working with new partner Claire Luce, Fred Astaire created a romantic partnered dance to Cole Porter's "Night and Day", which had been written for Gay Divorce.


The latter observation will be no news to the profession, which has long admitted that Fred Astaire starts dancing where the others stop hoofing.


Fred Astaire revolutionized dance on film by having complete autonomy over its presentation.


Fred Astaire is credited with two important innovations in early film musicals.


Fred Astaire got so that after a while everyone else who danced with me looked wrong.


Fred Astaire negotiated with RKO to strike out on his own with A Damsel in Distress in 1937 with an inexperienced, non-dancing Joan Fontaine, unsuccessfully as it turned out.


Fred Astaire returned to make two more films with Rogers, Carefree and The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle.


Fred Astaire was reunited with Rogers in 1949 at MGM for their final outing, The Barkleys of Broadway, the only one of their films together to be shot in Technicolor.


Fred Astaire left RKO in 1939 to freelance and pursue new film opportunities, with mixed though generally successful outcomes.


Fred Astaire really knocked out a tap dance in a class by herself.


Fred Astaire played alongside Bing Crosby in Holiday Inn and later Blue Skies.


Fred Astaire next appeared opposite the seventeen-year-old Joan Leslie in the wartime comedy The Sky's the Limit.


Fred Astaire choreographed this film alone and achieved modest box office success.


Fred Astaire nominated "Puttin' on the Ritz" as his farewell dance.


Fred Astaire returned to the big screen to replace an injured Gene Kelly in Easter Parade opposite Judy Garland, Ann Miller, and Peter Lawford.


Fred Astaire followed up with a final reunion with Rogers in The Barkleys of Broadway.


In 1954, Fred Astaire was about to start work on a new musical, Daddy Long Legs with Leslie Caron at 20th Century Fox.


Fred Astaire was so bereaved that he wanted to shut down the picture and offered to pay the production costs out of his pocket.


Fred Astaire made a series of four highly rated Emmy Award-winning musical specials for television in 1958,1959,1960, and 1968.


Each featured Barrie Chase, with whom Fred Astaire enjoyed a renewed period of dance creativity.


The first of these programs, 1958's An Evening with Fred Astaire, won nine Emmy Awards, including "Best Single Performance by an Actor" and "Most Outstanding Single Program of the Year".


Fred Astaire won the Emmy for Best Single Performance by an Actor.


At one point, Fred Astaire offered to return the award, but the Television Academy refused to consider it.


Fred Astaire played Julian Osborne, a non-dancing character, in the nuclear war drama On the Beach.


Fred Astaire was nominated for a Golden Globe Best Supporting Actor award for his performance, losing to Stephen Boyd in Ben-Hur.


Fred Astaire appeared in non-dancing roles in three other films and several television series from 1957 to 1969.


Fred Astaire shed his white tie and tails to play an Irish rogue who believes that if he buries a crock of gold in the shadows of Fort Knox the gold will multiply.


Fred Astaire described himself as nervous about singing with her, while she said she was worried about dancing with him.


Fred Astaire appeared on television as the father of Robert Wagner's character, Alexander Mundy, in It Takes a Thief.


In 1976, Fred Astaire played a supporting role, as a dog owner, in the cult movie The Amazing Dobermans, co-starring Barbara Eden and James Franciscus, and played Dr Seamus Scully in the French film The Purple Taxi.


Fred Astaire made a well publicized guest appearance on the science-fiction television series Battlestar Galactica in 1979, as Chameleon, the possible father of Starbuck, in "The Man with Nine Lives", a role written for him by Donald P Bellisario.


Fred Astaire asked his agent to obtain a role for him on Galactica because of his grandchildren's interest in the series and the producers were delighted at the opportunity to create an entire episode to feature him.


Fred Astaire acted in nine different roles in The Man in the Santa Claus Suit in 1979.


Fred Astaire was a virtuoso dancer, able when called for to convey light-hearted venturesomeness or deep emotion.


Fred Astaire drew from a variety of influences, including tap and other black rhythms, classical dance, and the elevated style of Vernon and Irene Castle.


Fred Astaire's was a uniquely recognizable dance style that greatly influenced the American Smooth style of ballroom dance and set standards against which subsequent film dance musicals would be judged.


Fred Astaire termed his eclectic approach "outlaw style", an unpredictable and instinctive blending of personal artistry.


Furthermore, Fred Astaire choreographed all the routines during his Broadway career with his sister Adele.


Occasionally Fred Astaire took joint screen credit for choreography or dance direction, but he usually left the screen credit to his collaborator.


Fred Astaire's perfectionism was legendary, but his relentless insistence on rehearsals and retakes was a burden to some.


When time approached for the shooting of a number, Fred Astaire would rehearse for another two weeks and record the singing and music.


Fred Astaire agonized during the process, frequently asking colleagues for acceptance for his work.


Fred Astaire co-introduced a number of song classics via song duets with his partners.


Fred Astaire was a songwriter, with "I'm Building Up to an Awful Letdown" reaching number four in the Hit parade of 1936.


Fred Astaire recorded his own "It's Just Like Taking Candy from a Baby" with Benny Goodman in 1940 and nurtured a lifelong ambition to be a successful popular song composer.


In 1952, Fred Astaire recorded The Fred Astaire Story, a four-volume album with a quintet led by Oscar Peterson.


Fred Astaire married 25-year-old Phyllis Potter in 1933, a Boston-born New York socialite and former wife of Eliphalet Nott Potter III, despite his mother's and sister's objections.


Fred Astaire attempted to drop out of the film Daddy Long Legs, which he was in the process of filming, offering to pay the production costs to date, but was persuaded to stay.


Intensely private, Fred Astaire was rarely seen on the Hollywood social scene.


Fred Astaire was good friends with David Niven, Randolph Scott, Clark Gable and Gregory Peck.


Fred Astaire took up skateboarding in his late seventies and was awarded a life membership in the National Skateboard Society.


Fred Astaire had an interest in boxing and true crime.


Fred Astaire remained a male fashion icon even into his later years, eschewing his trademark top hat, white tie, and tails, which he hated.


Fred Astaire died of pneumonia on June 22,1987, at the age of 88.


Fred Astaire's body was buried at Oakwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Chatsworth, California.