23 Facts About Fred Astaire

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

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2. Fred Astaire had an interest in boxing and true crime.

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

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4. 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.

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5. 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.

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

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

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8. 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.

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9. 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.

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10. Fred Astaire voiced the mailman narrator in the 1970s animated television specials Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town and The Easter Bunny Is Comin' to Town.

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11. Fred Astaire continued to act in the 1970s, appearing on television as the father of Robert Wagner's character, Alexander Mundy, in It Takes a Thief and in such films as The Towering Inferno, in which he danced with Jennifer Jones and for which he received his only Academy Award nomination, in the category of Best Supporting Actor.

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12. Fred Astaire played Julian Osborne, a non-dancing character, in the 1959 movie On the Beach and was nominated for a Golden Globe Best Supporting Actor award for his performance, losing to Stephen Boyd in Ben-Hur.

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

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14. In 1954, Fred Astaire was about to start work on a new musical, Daddy Long Legs with Leslie Caron at 20th Century Fox, when his wife Phyllis became ill and suddenly died of lung cancer.

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15. Fred Astaire made two pictures with Rita Hayworth, the daughter of his former vaudeville dance idols, the Cansinos.

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

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17. 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.

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18. 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.

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

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

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21. Fred Astaire was born Frederick Emanuel Austerlitz on May 10, 1899 in Omaha, Nebraska, the son of Johanna "Ann" (22 December 1878—30 Jul 1975) and Frederic "Fritz" Austerlitz.

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22. Fred Astaire was named by the American Film Institute as the fifth greatest male star of Classic Hollywood cinema in 100 Years.

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23. Fred Astaire is widely regarded as the most influential dancer in the history of film.

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