Fred Astaire, born Frederick Austerlitz II in , began show business at the age of four, performing on Broadway and in Vaudeville with his older sister, Adele. As a young adult, he headed to Hollywood where he began a successful partnership with Ginger Rogers for nine movies. 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 a singer, and an actor with many different dramatic and comedic credits, in both movies and TV specials. Fred Astaire died in from pneumonia, at the age of With his passing, the world lost a true dancing legend.
Fred Astaire’s Dance Partners
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Music in Motion
Fred Astaire, whose flashing feet and limber legs not only made him America's most popular dancer but also set standards for motion picture musical comedies that have rarely been met and never exceeded, died of pneumonia yesterday at Century City Hospital in Los Angeles. He was 88 years old. Astaire blithely danced his way into the heart of an America tormented by the Depression and edging toward World War II. His deceptively easy-looking light-footedness, warm smile, top hat, cane, charm and talent helped people to forget the real world that nagged at them outside the movie house.
Fred Astaire is regarded by many as the greatest popular music dancer of all time. Astaire is usually remembered for his pairings with Ginger Rogers, who starred in several films with him, including Swing Time Light on his feet, Fred Astaire revolutionized the movie musical with his elegant and seemingly effortless dance style. He may have made dancing look easy, but he was a well-known perfectionist, and his work was the product of endless hours of practice. Astaire started performing as a child, partnering up with his older sister Adele. The two toured the vaudeville circuit before making it to Broadway in Among their many productions the brother-sister team starred in the George and Ira Gershwin musical Funny Face. For all his early success, though, career in the movies eluded Astaire. He had done a screen test, but he failed to attract any interest. A studio executive wrote at the time, "Can't sing.