Fred Astaire was born on May 10, 1899 in Omaha, Nebraska.
His first stage experiences came in a brother/sister act
with his sister Adele. Together they played the vaudeville
circuit and advanced to productions on Broadway
and in London. The partnership broke up with Adele's marriage
in the early 30s.
Astaire's famous partnership with Ginger Rogers
started with a minor role in Flying Down to Rio.
Astaire and Rogers would go along to make ten films together, many of which
are considered classics of the genre. Astaire insisted that all
dance sequences be filmed with a stationary camera in a single
shot. This was a marked contrast from the style of the times in which
aerial shots, quick takes, and zooms were used to enhance (and
sometimes detract!) from the dance. Astaire would famously
quip, "Either the camera will dance, or I will."
At the end of the 30s, the Astaire/Rogers partnership broke up
and Astaire went on to make a series of classic films, including
Holiday Inn with Bing Crosby,
Easter Parade with Judy Garland,
and Royal Wedding with Jane Powell.
In later years, Astaire focused more on straight acting roles. He
received an Academy Award nomination for his supporting
actor role in The Towering Inferno.
Fred Astaire died on June 22, 1987, leaving behind the legacy of
being arguably the greatest dancer of the 20th century.