1911 – She was born on the 16th of July this year in Independence, Missouri, the daughter of Eddins McMath, of Scottish ancestry and Lela Owens McMath, of Welsh ancestry.
1929 – At the age of 17, married Jack Culpepper, another dancer on the circuit. The marriage was over within months, and she went back to touring with her mother.
1929 – Her Broadway theater debut in a musical called Top Speed, which opened on Christmas Day of this year. Her first movie roles were in a trio of short films made in the same year which are Night in the Dormitory, A Day of a Man of Affairs, and Campus Sweethearts.
1930 – She signed up with Paramount Pictures for a seven-year contract.
1933 – She made her screen breakthrough in 42nd Street (film) with Warner Brothers. She was most famous for her partnership with Fred Astaire. Together, from this year to 1939 they made nine musical films at RKO.
1934 – She married her second husband, actor Lew Ayres. They separated quickly and were divorced in 1941
1941 – She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her starring role in 1940s Kitty Foyle.
1943 – She married her third husband, Jack Briggs, a Marine. They divorced in 1949.
1950 – In later life, she remained on good terms with Astaire: she presented him with a special Academy Award.
1953 – She married her fourth husband, lawyer Jacques Bergerac. 16 years her junior, he became an actor and then a cosmetics company executive.They got divorced after four years.
1961 – She married her fifth husband, director and producer William Marshall. They divorced in 1971.
1967 – She teamed up with him as co-presenters of individual Academy Awards.
1995 – She died on the 25th day of April this year of congestive heart failure, at the age of 83, in Rancho Mirage, and was cremated. Her ashes are interred in the Oakwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Chatsworth, California.