Talk:Fred Astaire

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Astaire and Bill Robinson:[edit]

I've reverted Kevin j's edit due to absence of a citation and a conflict with the following authority: John Mueller's Astaire Dancing p.116: "Astaire was not particularly impressed by Robinson as a dancer, and tended to regard him as a one trick artist who mainly tapped up and down stairs...He had boundless admiration for another black hoofer John W. Bubbles, considering him a truly great performer, particularly for his spontaneity and dazzling inventiveness"

Please see the Swing Time article esp. the entry under "Bojangles of Harlem" for more info.

Astaire first met Robinson in 1912, when he was thirteen and already dancing on stage for eight years, and this is what he says about that meeting in his 1959 autobiography Steps in Time p.49 "The great Bill interested me, not only for his incomparable dancing but for his good nature and likeable personality - in addition to his ability as a pool player. He often watched our act. His first words to me were "Boy, you can dance!" That meant a lot to me. We discussed dancing and compared steps."

Interviewed in 1984 for Bob Thomas' Astaire, The Man, The Dancer, p.27, he goes further: "Bill Robinson was a buck dancer. I admired him, but I didn't want to do what he did - the wooden-shoe up and down the stairs. John Bubbles was different. I don't know whether he used tap shoes or not but he was stylish. I used to meet him occasionally and we'd try steps together, but at that point in my career I wasn't doing much tap dancing"

So, while he clearly admired Robinson, it doesn't support Kevin j's assertion that Robinson inspired Astaire to become a dancer. Dermot 14:44, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

Niven's painting anecdote[edit]

Niven's version of this anecdote is famous and has often been included in the article. But like many of Niven's anecdotes, it is wildly exaggerated:

From Bob Thomas - Astaire, The Man, The Dancer, p.198:

"In The Moon's a Balloon, David Niven wrote of Astaire's pride in his racing stable. Niven termed his friend "a pixie, timid, always warm-hearted, a sentimentalist with a Lefty Flynn-type penchant for schoolboy jokes," and he told of an early-morning telephone call from Astaire: 'I've done a terrible thing. I don't know what possessed me, but at four o'clock this morning, I got out of bed and drove all over Beverly Hills, painting the city mailboxes with my racing colors.'

FRED: David loved to tell a story, and his stories got better with each telling. Imagine me going around painting mailboxes! I could have been arrested! What happened was this: I must have been bored one night, and I was thinking that mailboxes were colored the same blue as my racing colors, which were blue and yellow with a red cap. I added a strip of yellow adhesive tape to a couple of mailboxes, that was all." Dermot 21:22, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:FredAstaire.jpg[edit]

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He did dance to Pick Yourself Up (with Ginger), but Ginger was the one who did most of the singing, so I don't know that you can say he introduced it. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs).

When both artists share in the singing of a song for the first time, the term "co-introduced" is used. In this case, Astaire sings the lengthy introduction and Rogers sings the chorus. D7240 09:36, 19 August 2007 (UTC) 14:23, 19 August 2007 (UTC)Well, yes, granted, although it's the clip of her singing that's anthologized widely. The thing is, the article doesn't say he co-introduced it. It says he introduced it, which he really didn't.

I actually agree with the basic point about singing ability, but the phrasing is perhaps not accurate here, and there are many (more famous) examples where there'd be no ambiguity. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by [[Special:Contributions/{[[User:{ (talk · contribs)|{ (talk · contribs)]] ([[User talk:{ (talk · contribs)|talk]] · [[Special:Contributions/{ (talk · contribs)|contribs]] · [{ (talk · contribs)


}}|{[[User:{ (talk · contribs)|{ (talk · contribs)]] ([[User talk:{ (talk · contribs)|talk]] · [[Special:Contributions/{ (talk · contribs)|contribs]] · [{ (talk · contribs)


}}]] ([[User talk:{[[User:{ (talk · contribs)|{ (talk · contribs)]] ([[User talk:{ (talk · contribs)|talk]] · [[Special:Contributions/{ (talk · contribs)|contribs]] · [{ (talk · contribs)


}}|talk]]) 14:23:49, August 19, 2007 (UTC)

The article does say he co-introduced it. The paragraph begins with "Astaire also co-introduced a number of song classics via song duets with his partners2 and goes on to say "in duets with Ginger Rogers...". Unlike the previous paragraph which deals with songs he introduced on his own, this paragraph specifically deals with numbers he co-introduced with partners. D7240 14:34, 19 August 2007 (UTC)


A while ago I noticed Astaire was entry #0000001 at imdb, which I thought was an interesting fact. However, I hate "Trivia" sections in articles, so I was not anxious to see it listed in one. To whomever had the idea of putting it as a side note on the imdb link, well done. Novel way to work an interesting fact into an already-existing part of an article. Just wanted to say that. -R. fiend (talk) 00:18, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Frederic "Fritz" Emmanuel Austerlitz[edit]

I would like to point out that the name Emanuel is not published in Larry Billman's book Fred Astaire - A Bio-bibliography and it is actually not published in any book yet. The name was first discovered after several researches in the Austrian archives by Alessandra Garofalo from Italy and the news have been inserted first on to which other website take links. I would suggest to re-associate the note [3] to this website. Fritz1899

As you correctly point out, it is not in Billman. For the moment, it's probably best to leave it out until such time as the various researches underway are published in a reputable scholarly source, as per WP:V and WP:RS. I have also appended a reference to Satchell's book where Fritz's parents (Stephan Austerlitz and Lucy Heller) were first identified.D7240 (talk) 20:14, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

WP:WikiProject Actors and Filmmakers priority assessment[edit]

After debate and discussion re: assessment of the approximate 100 top priority articles, this article has been continued as top priority. Wildhartlivie (talk) 09:55, 29 February 2008 (UTC)


Some of this sounds like it's been written by a very adoring fan, unless Fred Astaire is some sort of demigod. Especially in the "Working methods and influence on filmed dance" paragraph. Some exapmles: "His perfectionism was legendary, as was his modesty and consideration towards his fellow artists... Although he viewed himself as an entertainer first and foremost, his consummate artistry won him the adulation..." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:03, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

i agree that some of that language is over the top, but he is in fact a demigod of dance. consummate artistry and legendary perfectionism are correct, without controversy.(mercurywoodrose, watching "Royal Wedding") (talk) 06:22, 14 November 2010 (UTC)

Tap-dancing: more on Astaire's influences?[edit]

I have moved a reference to Bill Robinson and John Bubbles as influences on Astaire to the proper place for it in the biographical section. The cited reference is a web page on Astaire which seems to be derivative from other sources. This topic is important enough to deserve both better sources and perhaps an informed paragraph on Astaire's sources for his tap-dancing technique and choreography. —Goclenius (talk) 21:06, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Balanchine and Nureyev quotes[edit]

These quotes need to be referenced, and even if they exist, they need to be qualified. Nureyev has also said that Chaplin was the greatest dancer of the 20th Century. Chaplin quote These guys are great dancers, but also salesmen. I am sure they have nominated many many people for "greatest dancer" etc. depending on the audience. Balanchine said the same about Nijinsky and Nureyev (again) about Margot Fonteyn, I seem to recall. Wallie (talk) 07:48, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

These quotes were and are referenced. If you had taken the trouble to visit the cited Wikiquote page on Fred Astaire you would have found a comprehensive litany of tributes from classical dancers and choreographers. Balanchine's comments were made in a 1961 magazine interview, Baryshnikov's remark "a genius...a classical dancer like a never saw in my life" was similarly made during a TV interview. Neither context was in any way related to Astaire, the remarks just emerged spontaneously. As for Nureyev, while it's true he was given to gushing tributes, it is well known - and any biography will confirm this - that one of his favourite ways to relax in the evening was to screen an Astaire film for his friends. In any event, I think the present wording of the introduction now accurately reflects the high regard in which Astaire was held by his peers. D7240 (talk) 11:32, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

On the Beach[edit]

The Wikipedia entry for Fred Astaire does not mention his outstanding performance in the 1959 film "On the Beach." Why? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:59, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

It does. Read the whole article next time. Gareth E Kegg (talk) 22:06, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Mr. All Hallow's Wraith needs to familiarize himself with the Undue Weight clause with WP:V and also needs to stop switching usernames. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:50, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Salomon Austerlitz?[edit]

Not even Fred Astaire's own autobiography mentions this and Levinson's doesn't even list a source for this supposed birth name. The book is incredibly judaocentric - even failing to mention Fred Astaire's mother wasn't of any arguable Jewish heritae. "Fred Astaire born to a family of Austrian Jewish roots" Ridiculously biased work. (talk) 20:00, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

Which reviewers accused the book of "strangely ulterior motives" or bias? Has its accuracy been challenged or disputed by any writers? Is Peter Levinson considered an unreliable source as a biographer? All Hallow's (talk) 23:29, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

Salomon Austerlitz was Fred's paternal grandfather, father of Fritz Austerlitz. Salomon was of Jewish origins but was baptized in 1867 with the name Stefan. Kindly refer to this book for all the information about Astaire parents. Thank you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Fritz1899 (talkcontribs) 10:55, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Removed an unremarkable coincidence[edit]

I removed the following:

His death coming exactly 20 years after that of fellow singer, dancer, actress Judy Garland, whom with he starred in the film Easter Parade.

Many famous people died on that day. So the fact doesn't seem worthy of inclusion. Adam Di Carlo (talk) 04:33, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

I think it is an interesting fact. I'm not sure if it is necessary to include it. Now, if he had died on the same date as his sister or Gershwin, we should absolutely include it as these were people who were of great importance to him and who were deeply intertwined in his story. Gingermint (talk) 21:56, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
It should not be included because it is not true. Garland died in 1969, Astaire in 1987. That is 18 years after her, not 20. Jim Michael (talk) 04:08, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

Astaire and Hayworth[edit]

Fred Astaire's dancing was so precise and polished that he made his partners look clumsy by comparison, even Ginger Rogers. Except for Rita Hayworth. When I first saw her with him in "You Were Never Lovelier", I realized here was a dancer who could effortlessly keep up with him, who never looked as if she was uncomfortable or lagging. Though it might be interpreted as an unkind slap at Ginger Rogers, this might be the reason he said that Hayworth was his favorite partner. Perhaps someone should research this and incorporate it.

As for whether the article was written by someone with an unduly high opinion of Astaire... All I can say is that he's the only person I've ever seen who does what he does perfectly. WilliamSommerwerck (talk) 14:04, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

If you meant it to be an unkind slap to Ginger Rogers, WilliamSommerwerck, forget it. When asked who his favorite dancing partner was by British TV interviewer Michael Parkinson on "Parkinson" in 1976, Fred Astaire said "I must say Ginger was certainly the one. You know, the most effective partner I had. Everyone knows. That was a whole other thing what we did...I just want to pay a tribute to Ginger because we did so many pictures together and believe me it was a value to have that girl...she had it! She was just great!". This interview can be seen on-line. It is currently on YouTube as "Fred Astaire interview - Parkinson 1976". — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lauracerffer (talkcontribs) 18:52, 15 October 2016 (UTC)

Cyd Charisse once remarked that as Fred Astaire lacked the physical strength to lift his partner dancing with him was a pleasure.

Dancing with Gene Kelly who did have the physical strength to lift his partner and usually did meant that she usually went home with bruises after a session with Gene Kelly. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:52, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Astaire's ancestry[edit]

Since the category "American Jews" is regularly added to and then deleted from this article it's perhaps appropriate to settle this properly. The categories relating to Astaire's ancestry have been altered to accurately reflect his actual ancestry as currently established:

  • American people of Austrian descent: father's nationality
  • American actors of German descent: maternal grandparents' nationality and ethnicity. (Lutheran Germans)
  • American people of Jewish descent: ethnicity (not religion) of father. Astaire's father and paternal grandparents were Austrian Roman Catholics of Jewish ethnicity, the grandparents having converted from Judaism.

Following the guideline in WP:EGRS, the category "American Jews" appears inappropriate, since Astaire never self-identified as Jewish, either from a religious or ethnic standpoint. Nor is there any evidence that his father Fritz did either. In fact, Astaire was notoriously reticent about his father who - according to his biographer Satchell who conducted the only primary research ever undertaken among Astaire's living relatives in Omaha, Nebraska - was a philandering alcoholic, and Fred Astaire would round angrily on any interviewer who asked probing questions related to his father. The fact of Fritz's Jewish ethnicity only first appeared in Levinson's recent bio, which used as its source Garofolo's research in the Austrian archives, published in 2009, even though Satchell gave a broad hint in 1988 when he first identified the names of Fritz's parents, Stephen Austerlitz and Lucy Heller. D7240 (talk) 22:38, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

Early years, corrections[edit]

In describing Fred's early years, the text is incorrect in identifying Frederic Austerlitz, Fred's father, as a brewer. He was a traveling agent (i.e. traveling salesman) for the Storz Brewery, listed as such in several Omaha City Directories. Also, Fred's father did not lose his job at the time Ann and her two children moved to New York City. He remained in Omaha and supported the family, coming to New York City occasionally to visit and to help market his children. The source for this fact is Mr. Astaire's own biography, "Steps in Time." - DMS - (talk) 16:12, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

Astaire as a singer[edit]

Are you sure Astaire sung the songs in the movies himself? Or did someone dub him? His singing voice sounds very different than his speaking voice. IGG8998 —Preceding undated comment added 20:50, 14 December 2010 (UTC).

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. - Victor Hugo Gareth E Kegg (talk) 22:47, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

What do you mean? The only thing I want to know is:did someone dub Astaire? If they did: then he is not a singer. IGG8998 —Preceding undated comment added 14:57, 15 December 2010 (UTC).

With only one exception (see below) Astaire always did his own singing, as did Ginger Rogers. Of his many dance partners on film, Rita Hayworth was dubbed (by Nan Wynn), as was Joan Leslie (by Sally Sweetland), Joan Caulfield (by Betty Russell), Vera-Ellen (by Anita Ellis), Cyd Charisse (by Carol Richards), and Marjorie Reynolds (by Martha Mears). And in the song Nice Work If You Can Get It from Damsel in Distress his singing partners are dubbed by the Stafford Sisters. He also played most of the instruments he is shown playing on film, including the piano, the accordion and drums. The exceptions are the harp, where in Yolanda and the Thief his harp-playing is dubbed by the virtuoso Bobby Maxwell, and the trumpet, where in Second Chorus he is dubbed by the famous jazz trumpeter Bobby Hackett.
The only occasion in his entire film career when he agreed for his singing voice to be dubbed was in Daddy Long Legs, in the Daydream Sequence when he sings a short comic song in basso profundo - so the dubbing is obvious and designed for comic effect - where the voice used is that of Thurl Ravenscroft. D7240 (talk) 16:14, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

White tie & tails[edit]

I'm uncertain about this quote: "Astaire remained a male fashion icon even into his later years, eschewing his trademark top hat, white tie and tails (which he never really cared for)"

White tie and tails were never something worn when just going out shopping - you only wore it to occassions where full dress was expected. In Astaire's later years, these occassions disappeared. He may not have liked white tie & tails, as the quote said, but it was not his dislike that stopped him wearing it - it was a lack of occassion _to_ wear it. (talk) 10:29, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

why not GA?[edit]

Looks like a lot of good content here...TCO (talk) 14:15, 28 May 2011 (UTC)


This article shows that Fred Astaure married Ginger Rogers, but he is not shown as a spouse on her bio. I believe this is an error, and his second spouse should be Robyn Smith. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:11, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Error? Ginger Rogers listed as F. Astaire's wife...[edit]

It's 30th December 2011 and the entry for Fred Astaire, dancer/singer/actor, displays "Ginger Rogers" as his second spouse. This will come as a great surprise to Fred and Ginger, wherever they're waltzing now. (talk) 02:59, 31 December 2011 (UTC)N. Tango

personal life/his marriages[edit]

this passage is extremely unclear and needs rewriting: "In addition to Phyllis Potter's son, Eliphalet IV (known as Peter), the Astaires had two children. Fred, Jr. (born January 1, 1936) appeared with his father in the movie Midas Run, but became a charter pilot and rancher instead of an actor. He married Gale (born 1938) in 1956. Ava Astaire McKenzie (born March 19, 1942; married Richard MacKenzie) remains actively involved in promoting her late father's heritage.". FoCuSandLeArN (talk) 23:48, 18 July 2012 (UTC)


Can you please get a better photo of the man!?! Please!?! ( (talk) 12:34, 29 November 2012 (UTC))

Introduction Missing TV and Recording Career[edit]

Fred Astaire won multiple Emmy awards for his TV work, both for his filmed TV specials and as an actor in a TV film. Yet, the introduction makes no mention that he ever appeared on TV. This seems very incomplete and misleading.

Similarly, he issued numerous recordings during his lifetime, for which he was post-humously awarded a lifetime achievement Grammy award.

I've taken a swing at re-dressing this balance.

Similarly, the Work section lists only his musical films (and one non-musical one) and completely ignores his TV work, most of his straight acting, and all of his recordings. Again, this seems very incomplete and misleading. Contributor tom (talk) 07:26, 9 June 2013 (UTC)

Personal life section[edit]

"...dismissive of the more open sexiness of movies in the 1970" Can anyone think of wording more encyclopedic than this? -Xcuref1endx (talk) 06:56, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

Done! Not perfect, but grammatically sound. Pookerella (talk) 15:34, 10 May 2015 (UTC)

Elusive film clip of Fred and Adele[edit]

Back in the 1980s I saw a bio on a PBS station which featured a brief circa 1930 clip, with live sound, of Fred and Adele dancing together; I not only saw it, I videotaped it and re-viewed the recording quite a few times over, so no mistake. Having said that, let me immediately deflate any exalted expectations: as part of some proceedings on a very unglamorous stage set, they are verbally introduced and do a sort of side-by-side shuffle into the scene, wave hello to the camera, then shuffle off again. Elapsed time: about ten seconds. Nonetheless, it is film of Fred and Adele dancing together, contradicting the ubiquitous statement that there is no film of them and that the first footage of Fred dancing is from 1933 -- that is, if it is conceded that this brief bit of tandem footwork constitutes dancing. I still have the tape somewhere, but locating it would be a gigantic project and God knows if it is still playable three decades later. Why has this bit of film seemingly disappeared into oblivion, MIA in all the subsequent documentaries of which I am aware, and just what is it? Dim recollection and educated guessing suggest that it came from a newsreel and was publicity for the Broadway production of The Band Wagon (1931). Does anyone out there have more solid info or a citable ref? (talk) 11:16, 27 February 2016 (UTC)

P.S. A single page of googling turns up this blog post, which at least serves to demonstrate that my memory is not coughing up some private delusion. It associates the clip with Smiles (1930), and the description in its "Internet rumors ..." paragraph accords with my recollections, but apparently the blogger has not actually seen it and is simply paraphrasing others' descriptions. The Astaires do dance a bit, just barely, as roughly described above. (talk) 19:39, 27 February 2016 (UTC)

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Just in case who deleted the song was not vandal: :They Can't Take That Away From Me

Words & Music by Ira & George Gershwin
and in The Barkleys of Broadway (1949))

Both of the 1st two paragraphs of the article mention Astaire's being listed as the 5th best male actor of old Hollywood. This is redundant, one should be removed. Not sure which. Israelgale (talk) 22:45, 5 May 2016 (UTC)

Agreed, especially since both paragraphs link to the same page and the same award organization (American Film Institute). I'll move the more specific entry from the third paragraph to the second paragraph. Contributor tom (talk) 06:59, 13 September 2016 (UTC)

Fred Austerlitz's first haircut[edit]

It was a family story, that my grandfather Joseph Wright, of Omaha Nebraska, had the unique honor of giving Fred Austerlitz his first haircut. He had a barbershop for many years, and though I have no idea what the name of the shop was or the address or the year of the haircut, but it was something my grandfather was proud of doing for the then toddler who later became so famous. I wasn't born until 1939 so I have, of course, no recollection of it, though I always loved the famous musicals Fred performed in. If your research can find the name of the Barbershop back in 1900, I'd love to know what it was and the address, just for my Ancestry research. Joseph Wright was born in Eagermont, Cumberland, England and joined a Salvation Army band to come to America when he was 18 years old. Thank you, Carol Alexander Grant. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:34, 3 March 2017 (UTC)