Fred Astaire - Wikipedia
dance to a medley of Astaire-Rogers songs: "Cheek to Cheek,". "The Continental . advice of their new dance teacher, the children's surname was changed to relationship with Fred Astaire will be by no means barbed but less than fully. Probably the most famous off-camera Rogers-Astaire anecdote about Top Hat is Astaire wrote that despite the hassle, the rushes revealed very little problem. Astaire and Rogers were, and are, quite simply the most famous over the set, besides creating some problems of manoeuvrability for Fred. "We had our differences," said Ginger later, "what good artistic marriage doesn't?.
The latter observation will be no news to the profession, which has long admitted that Astaire starts dancing where the others stop hoofing.
He wrote his agent, "I don't mind making another picture with her, but as for this 'team' idea, it's 'out! The partnership, and the choreography of Astaire and Hermes Panhelped make dancing an important element of the Hollywood film musical. Six out of the nine Astaire-Rogers musicals became the biggest moneymakers for RKO; all of the films brought a certain prestige and artistry that all studios coveted at the time.
Their partnership elevated them both to stardom; as Katharine Hepburn reportedly said, "He gives her class and she gives him sex appeal. Astaire was also given complete autonomy over how the dances would be presented, allowing him to revolutionize dance on film. This gave the illusion of an almost stationary camera filming an entire dance in a single shot.
Astaire's second innovation involved the context of the dance; he was adamant that all song and dance routines be seamlessly integrated into the plotlines of the film. Instead of using dance as spectacle as Busby Berkeley did, Astaire used it to move the plot along. Typically, an Astaire picture would include at least three standard dances: Rogers was outstanding among Astaire's partners not because she was superior to others as a dancer, but because, as a skilled, intuitive actress, she was cagey enough to realize that acting did not stop when dancing began She faked it an awful lot.
She couldn't tap and she couldn't do this and that She got so that after a while everyone else who danced with me looked wrong. She made everything work for her. No loafing on the job on an Astaire picture, and no cutting corners. He negotiated with RKO to strike out on his own with A Damsel in Distress in with an inexperienced, non-dancing Joan Fontaineunsuccessfully as it turned out.
While both films earned respectable gross incomes, they both lost money because of increased production costs, : Astaire was reunited with Rogers in at MGM for their final outing, The Barkleys of Broadwaythe only one of their films together to be shot in Technicolor. Drifting to an early retirement[ edit ] This section does not cite any sources.
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June Learn how and when to remove this template message With Eleanor Powell in Broadway Melody of InAstaire left RKO to freelance and pursue new film opportunities, with mixed though generally successful outcomes. Throughout this period, Astaire continued to value the input of choreographic collaborators and, unlike the s when he worked almost exclusively with Hermes Pan, he tapped the talents of other choreographers in an effort to continually innovate.
His first post-Ginger dance partner was the redoubtable Eleanor Powell —considered the finest female tap-dancer of her generation—in Broadway Melody ofin which they performed a celebrated extended dance routine to Cole Porter's " Begin the Beguine.
She really knocked out a tap dance in a class by herself. The former film is particularly remembered for his virtuoso solo dance to "Let's Say it with Firecrackers" while the latter film featured an innovative song and dance routine to a song indelibly associated with him: The first, You'll Never Get Richcatapulted Hayworth to stardom and provided Astaire his third on-screen opportunity to integrate Latin American dance idioms into his style the first being with Ginger Rogers in "The Carioca" number from Flying Down to Rio and the second, again with Rogers, was the "Dengozo" dance from The Story of Vernon and Irene Castletaking advantage of Hayworth's professional Latin dance pedigree.
He next appeared opposite the seventeen-year-old Joan Leslie in the wartime drama The Sky's the Limitin which he introduced Arlen and Mercer 's " One for My Baby " while dancing on a bar counter in a dark and troubled routine. This film, which was choreographed by Astaire alone and achieved modest box office success, represented an important departure for Astaire from his usual charming happy-go-lucky screen persona, and confused contemporary critics.
Hollywood love story: The six-year secret of Ginger and Fred - Times Of Oman
His next partner, Lucille Bremerwas featured in two lavish vehicles, both directed by Vincente Minnelli: While Follies was a hit, Yolanda bombed at the box office, and Astaire, ever insecure and believing his career was beginning to falter, surprised his audiences by announcing his retirement during the production of Blue Skiesnominating "Puttin' on the Ritz" as his farewell dance.
After announcing his retirement inAstaire concentrated on his horse-racing interests and in founded the Fred Astaire Dance Studioswhich he subsequently sold in While Three Little Words did quite well at the box office, Let's Dance was a financial disappointment. The Band Wagonwhich is considered to be one of the finest musicals ever made, received rave reviews from critics and drew huge crowds.
But because of its excessive cost, it failed to make a profit on its first release. Soon after, Astaire, along with all the other remaining stars at M-G-M, was let go from his contract because of the advent of television and the downsizing of film production. InAstaire was about to start work on a new musical, Daddy Long Legs with Leslie Caron at 20th Century Foxwhen his wife Phyllis became ill and suddenly died of lung cancer.
Astaire was so bereaved that he wanted to shut down the picture and offered to pay the production costs out of his own pocket. However, Johnny Mercer the film's composer and Fox studio executives convinced him that work would be the best thing for him at that time. When Daddy Long Legs was released init did only moderately well at the box office.
His next film for Paramount, Funny Faceteamed him with Audrey Hepburn and Kay Thompson and despite the sumptuousness of the production and the strong reviews from critics, it failed to make back its cost.
Similarly, Astaire's next project — his final musical at M-G-M, Silk Stockingsin which he co-starred with Cyd Charissealso lost money at the box office. As a result, Astaire withdrew from motion pictures for two years. The album, produced by Norman Granzprovided a musical overview of Astaire's career. The Astaire Story later won the Grammy Hall of Fame Award ina special Grammy award to honor recordings that are at least twenty-five years old and that have "qualitative or historical significance.
Afterwards, Astaire announced that he was retiring from dancing in film to concentrate on dramatic acting, scoring rave reviews for the nuclear war drama On the Beach Branching out into televised dance and straight acting[ edit ] Astaire did not retire from dancing completely.
He made a series of four highly rated Emmy Award -winning musical specials for television in,andeach featuring Barrie Chasewith whom Astaire enjoyed a renewed period of dance creativity. The restoration won a technical Emmy in for Ed Reitan, Don Kent, and Dan Einstein, who restored the original videotape, transferring its contents to a modern format and filling in gaps where the tape had deteriorated with kinescope footage.
Astaire won the Emmy for Best Single Performance by an Actor, but the choice had a controversial backlash because many believed that his dancing in the special was not the type of "acting" for which the award was designed.
At one point Astaire offered to return the award, but the Television Academy refused to consider it. Astaire appeared in non-dancing roles in three other films and several television series from to 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. Astaire's dance partner was Petula Clarkwho played his character's skeptical daughter.
He described himself as nervous about singing with her, while she said she was worried about dancing with him.
The film was a modest success both at the box office and among critics. Astaire continued to act in the s, 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 Infernoin which he danced with Jennifer Jones and for which he received his only Academy Award nomination, in the category of Best Supporting Actor.
Not such a fine romance
Astaire also appeared in the first two That's Entertainment! In the second compilation, aged seventy-six, he performed brief dance linking sequences with Kelly, his last dance performances in a musical film. Fred Astaire played Dr. Inhe co-starred with Helen Hayes in a well received television film A Family Upside Down in which they played an elderly couple coping with failing health. Astaire won an Emmy Award for his performance. He made a well publicized guest appearance on the science-fiction television series Battlestar Galactica inas Chameleon, the possible father of Starbuckin "The Man with Nine Lives," a role written for him by Donald P.
Both Fred and Ginger would have hated that. Not just because they would never have given their approval to a travel firm using their picture in this way, but simply because neither of them liked to be thought of as "partners". In fact, the time has come to say that they didn't want to be a regular act at all. More than that, they didn't actually like each other very much, and needed a great deal of persuasion to work together time after time.
Fred once told me in an aside while I was working on what would be his authorised biography - but in a statement distinctly not for publication at the time - "Oh Ginger! She always wanted to be boss. I didn't use the statement in the book. Fred was still alive at the time and it would have been churlish to go against his wishes, but it was difficult not to read between the lines and from the expression of exasperation on his face - almost 30 years after they had last worked together.
It was a fact underlined by Miss Rogers herself a few years later. We were having lunch - scrambled eggs for her - at London's Dorchester Hotel.
Fred and Ginger: The truth
At first, she wanted to talk only about herself, and preferably not at all about Astaire. It was difficult territory to navigate. Related Articles 26 April It was as if I had asked her if she had ever thought of taking dancing lessons. I think she must have realised the impact that stare was having and decided that some explanation was required.
The lady had to come first, and she felt it perfectly reasonable that "Mr Astaire", as Ginger referred to him throughout our chat, gave way to her demands. Needless to say, that was not how Fred saw it. He was the one in charge.
He worked on the routines as though he were planning a military operation. Every step that he intended to take was mapped out on paper by him in advance, and then on a blackboard. The battle was won when he swept her into his arms in a final triumphant surrender.
Indeed, that was the way their films were, too - he stalks her out, she runs away, he runs after her, she ultimately melts.
The truth was, she resented it. What she wanted to do, she told me, was her own thing - and preferably in high dramas, such as Kitty Foyle, in which she played to the horror of her fans, more used to seeing her in those flowing white dresses an unmarried mother - and won an Oscar for her trouble. When the time came to separate, Fred was as delighted as she was.
It would help, he thought, to remove from the popular image the notion of their togetherness.Follow The Fleet (1936) - Let's Face The Music And Dance"
But by then, everyone thought of them as that partnership, or even worse a "team". His first regular partner had been his sister Adele, with whom he went to dancing classes.