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Frederick Austerlitz (Astaire, Fred)

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Born: 1899 AD
Died: 1987 AD, at 88 years of age.

Nationality: American
Categories: Choreographers, Dancers, Entertainers, Humorist

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1899 - Frederick Austerlitz, born on the 10th of May o a wealthy Omaha family, young Astaire was trained at the Alvienne School of Dance and the Ned Wayburn School of Dancing. He was the greatest dancer ever seen on film.

1909 - In a double act with his sister Adele, He danced in cabarets, vaudeville houses, and music halls all over the world before he was 20.

1917 - The Astaires reportedly made their film bow, Mary Pickford vehicle, same year of their first major Broadway success, +Over the Top.

1920 - The two headlined one New York stage hit after another, their grace and sophistication spilling into their social life, in which they hobnobbed with literary and theatrical giants, as well as millionaires and European royalty.

1931 -  When Adele married the British Lord Charles Cavendish, he found himself soloing for the first time in his life.

1933 - He danced more than a little in his first film, Dancing Lady, though he didn't actually play a role and was confined to the production numbers.

       - Married for the first time, to Phyllis Potter, a Boston-born New York socialite and former wife of Eliphalet Nott Potter III.

1934 - He was cast as comic/dancing relief in the RKO musical Flying Down to Rio, which top-billed Dolores Del Rio and Gene Raymond. Astaire was billed fifth, just below the film's female comedy relief Ginger Rogers.

       - RKO complied with The Gay Divorcee, based on one of Astaire's Broadway hits. Supporting no one this time, Fred and Ginger were the whole show as they sang and danced their way through such Cole Porter hits as "Night and Day" and the Oscar-winning "The Continental."

1937 - He and Rogers were fast friends, but both yearned to be appreciated as individuals rather than a part of a team. He finally got a chance to work as a single in Damsel in Distress.

1938 - 1939 - Leading RKO to re-team him with Rogers in Carefree, and after The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle.

1942 - He decided to go solo again, and, after a few secondary films, he found the person he would later insist was his favorite female co-star, Rita Hayworth, with whom he appeared in You'll Never Get Rich and You Were Never Lovelier. Other partners followed.

1953 - He was in his fifties in such films as The Band Wagon  and Funny Face, but he had adapted his style so that he neither drew attention to his age nor tried to pretend to be any younger than he was.

1959 - With the exceptions of his multi-Emmy-award-winning television specials of the late '50s and early '60s, He cut down on his dancing in the latter stages of his career to concentrate on straight acting.

       - He was superb as a troubled, suicidal scientist in On the Beach.

1974 - He was nominated for an Oscar for his work in The Towering Inferno.

1976 - He was appearing in such films as The Amazing Dobermans.

1980 - He remarried, to Robyn Smith, an actress turned champion jockey almost 45 years his junior.

1981 - He was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute.

1987 - Died on the 22nd of June from pneumonia at the age of 88, and was interred in the Oakwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Chatsworth, California. One last request of his was to thank his fans for their years of support.



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Page last updated: 8:50am, 30th Mar '07