Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire

Tony Martin the husband of MGM star/dancer Cyd Charisse said he could tell who she had been dancing with that day on an MGM set. If she came home covered with bruises on her, it was the very physically-demanding Gene Kelly, if not it was the smooth and agile Fred Astaire.

Don McLean's song "Wonderful Baby" was written with Astaire in mind; Astaire reportedly loved the song, and recorded it for an album.

After Blue Skies (1946), New York's Paramount Theater generated a petition of 10,000 names to persuade him to come out of retirement.

Although he spent most of his childhood touring on the vaudeville circuit, he would occasionally settle down with his family and their neighbors and friends, who were almost all families of Austrian immigrants.

Appears on the sleeve of The Beatles' "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album.

Aside from starring in the film Funny Face (1957), he also starred in the original 1927 Broadway version of the George Gershwin & Ira Gershwin musical "Funny Face". Although he was the male lead in the show, he did not play the same character he does in the film, and the storyline of the original stage musical was entirely different from the one in the film. Both play and film used many of the same songs. The studio may have felt that the original plot of "Funny Face" could not be properly adapted into a movie as it was an "ensemble" musical with people dropping out and parts changing all the time. Apparently the studio bought the rights to the title just so they could use the song. The plot of this movie is actually that of the unsuccessful Broadway musical "Wedding Bells" by Leonard Gershe. His character in the film is based on photographer Richard Avedon, who in fact, set up most of the photography shown in the film. The soggy Paris weather played havoc with the shooting of the wedding dress dance scene. Both Astaire and Audrey Hepburn

Astaire disguised his very large hands by curling his middle two fingers while dancing.

Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume Two, 1986-1990, pages 36-38. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.

Born at 9:16pm-CST

Born only 18 months after his sister Adele Astaire.

Famously wore a necktie around his waist instead of a belt, an affectation he picked up from his friendship with actor Douglas Fairbanks but often mistakenly attributed to Astaire alone.

First met lifelong best friend Irving Berlin on the set of Top Hat (1935).

For Daddy Long Legs (1955), Leslie Caron told Fred that she wanted to create her own costumes for the film. Fred Astaire told her: "OK, but no feathers, please", recalling the troubles he had with one of Ginger Rogers' elaborate ostrich feathered gowns in a dance from Top Hat (1935). A feather broke loose from Ginger Rogers dress and stubbornly floated in mid air around Astaire's face. The episode was recreated to hilarious effect in a scene from Easter Parade (1948) in which Fred Astaire danced with a clumsy, comical dancer portrayed by Judy Garland.

Fred Astaire was inducted into the The National Museum of Dance and Hall of Fame, in Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga, New York in 1987. Other inductees include George Balanchine, Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, Busby Berkeley, Alvin Ailey, Bob Fosse and Michael Jackson.

Good friend of actress Carol Lynley.

Had a son, Fred Astaire Jr. (born on Tuesday, January 21st, 1936) and a daughter, Ava Astaire-McKenzie (born on Saturday, March 28th, 1942) with his first wife, Phyllis Livingston Potter. Fred Astaire Junior was born 2,258 days (322 weeks and 4 days), before Ava Astaire-McKenzie.

He and Ginger Rogers acted in 10 movies together: The Barkleys of Broadway (1949), Carefree (1938), Flying Down to Rio (1933), Follow the Fleet (1936), The Gay Divorcee (1934), Roberta (1935), Shall We Dance (1937), The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939), Swing Time (1936) and Top Hat (1935)

He was voted the 19th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.

He was voted the 23rd Greatest Movie Star of all time by Premiere Magazine.

His father was Austrian and his mother was of German ancestry.