Fred Astaire Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1899 – 1987 *** Full Name: Fred Astaire was also known as Frederick Austerlitz *** Date of Birth (Birthday): Fred Astaire was born on May 10, 1899 *** Place of Birth: Fred Astaire was born in Omaha, Nebraska, United States *** Family background: His father was Frederic "Fritz" Austerlitz *** Early life and childhood: Fred Astaire grew up and spent the majority of his life in New York *** Education: Fred Astaire began his theatre education at the Alviene Master School of the Theatre and Academy of Cultural Arts *** Fred Astaire died on June 22, 1987 ***
Fred Astaire Fact 1: Frederick Austerlitz was born on May 10, 1899 in Omaha, Nebraska, United States.
Fred Astaire Fact 2: Fred Astaire was a famous American dancer, actor and musician who achieved a long, successful career on stage. He was an outstanding dancer who sought perfectionism.
Fred Astaire Fact 3: His parents were called Ann and Frederic "Fritz" Austerlitz. His father was a Roman Catholic who was born in Austria to Jewish parents. Frederic "Fritz" Austerlitz moved to Omaha, Nebraska in the United States of America where he began working for the Storz Brewing Company at the age of 24.
Fred Astaire Fact 4: He had a sister called Adele Astaire who was around three years older than himself. From an early age, both children showed star qualities. Adele could sing and dance, and Fred was musically talented and mimicked his sister's dance steps with ease.
Fred Astaire Fact 5: His mother, Ann, recognized that both Fred and Adele were gifted and set for a life on stage. She established a brother and sister act between Fred and Adele. Initially, Fred Astaire was reluctant to take up dance lessons, but the child had rhythm and could easily copy Adele's dance moves.
Fred Astaire Fact 6: Fred Astaire was musically gifted and learnt how to play a variety of instruments from an early age including the clarinet, accordion and piano.
Fred Astaire Fact 7: In 1905, the family moved to New York where Adele and Fred Astaire joined the Alviene Master School of the Theatre and Academy of Cultural Arts. The school offered specialized training to develop theie act. The children's talents quickly grew as they learnt more about singing, dancing and stage presence. It soon became obvious where their individual strengths lay.
Fred Astaire Fact 8: His surname wasn't originally Astaire, it was Austerlitz. His mother felt that their surname was a reminder of the Battle of Austerlitz so she advised her children to change it to Astaire.
Fred Astaire Fact 9: The first act by Adele and Fred Astaire was 'Juvenile Artists Presenting an Electric Musical Toe-Dancing Novelty'. They performed their act at a tryout theatre in Keyport, New Jersey. Fred Astaire wore a top hat for part of the show, as he often did to make himself appear taller. Following their theatre performance, a local newspaper reported that 'the Astaires are the greatest child act in vaudeville.'
Fred Astaire Fact 10: As the children grew into teenagers, their careers in theatre really began to take off. They were both outstanding dancers who had rhythm, style and perfection. They developed their act by learning new dance styles including tap, waltz and tango. They performed at the Orpheum Circuit which incorporated a number of movie theatres.
Fred Astaire Fact 11: He met an American composer and pianist called George Gershwin when he was fourteen years old. Fred Astaire was always looking for new ideas to perfect his act. George Gershwin played an important part in the Astaire's life and careers, by 1917, the sibling act had broken into Broadway.
Fred Astaire Fact 12: Fred Astaire is best remembered for being an incredible dancer and performer who had natural style and grace, and sought perfectionism in his acts. His first Broadway appearance was a duo act with his sister Adele in 'Over the Top'. The siblings went on to perform numerous shows on Broadway and the London stage including Jerome Kern's The Bunch and Judy, George and Ira Gershwin's Lady Be Good, Funny Face, and The Band Wagon.
Fred Astaire Fact 13: Fred Astaire married Phyllis Livingston Potter in 1933. They were married for approximately 21 years, until her death in 1954. The couple had two children together; their names are Fred, Jr. and Ava Astaire McKenzie.
Fred Astaire Fact 14: His sister, Adele, was an amazing dancer, singer and performer, however, Fred Astaire soon began to outperform his sister's dance moves. He was a perfectionist with a rhythm that was simply captivating. Many of his fans believed him to be the greatest dancer in the world. The sibling act parted ways after Adele married Lord Charles Arthur Francis Cavendish in 1932.
Fred Astaire Fact 15: Fred Astaire initially found going solo tough without his sister, Adele, whom he'd acted with for many years. He received various offers from Broadway and made his first solo appearance in 'The Gay Divorcee' with a new dance partner called Claire Luce who encouraged him to be more romantic.
Fred Astaire Fact 16: His first screen pairing with his famous dance partner, Ginger Rogers, occurred in 1933 in the musical film 'Flying Down to Rio'. The pair had chemistry so magical that Ginger Rogers became Fred Astaire's most famous dance partner. Dance commentator, John Mueller, once said '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 ... the reason so many women have fantasized about dancing with Fred Astaire is that Ginger Rogers conveyed the impression that dancing with him is the most thrilling experience imaginable.'Fred Astaire Fact 17: Fred Astaire made thirty-one musical films in total including Flying Down to Rio, The Gay Divorcee, Roberta, Top Hat, Follow the Fleet, Swing Time, Shall We Dance, A Damsel in Distress, Carefree, The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle, Broadway Melody of 1940, Second Chorus, You'll Never Get Rich, Holiday Inn, You Were Never Lovelier, The Sky's the Limit, Yolanda and the Theif, Ziegfeld Follies, Blue Skies, Easter Parade, The Barkleys of Broadway, Three Little Words, Let's Dance, Royal Wedding, The Belle of New York, The Band Wagon, Daddy Long Legs, Funny Face, Silk Stockings, Finian's Rainbow, Santa Claus is Comin to Town, That's Entertainment.
Fred Astaire Fact 18: His television and movie career lasted for seventy-six years in total during which time he received many awards and performed with famous people including Adele Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Bing Crosby, Rita Hayworth, Vera Ellen and Cyd Charisse.
Fred Astaire Fact 19: The American Film Institute named Fred Astaire the 5th Greatest male Star of Old Hollywood. The list of stars, known as the AFI (American Film History) 100 Years... 100 Stars, consists of the greatest male and female screen legends.
Fred Astaire Fact 20: Fred Astaire died on June 22, 1987 at the age of 88 in Los Angeles, California in the United States. The cause of death was pneumonia. Fred Astaire was interred in Chatsworth, California at the Oakwood Memorial Park Cemetery.
Influence and Legacy of Fred Astaire: Fred Astaire was an important dancer and actor whose film and television career spanned over 76 years. He is recognized across the world for his sensational rhythm, style and stage performance. His most famous dance partner was Ginger Rogers.
Short Facts about Fred Astaire for Kids
The above short facts detail interesting information about the life, milestones, history and key events that occurred during the life of this famous character, Fred Astaire. A fast, simple way to present a short biography of Fred Astaire with important dates and info that provides details such as the date of birth (birthday), place of birth, education, family, work and career. An ideal educational resource for kids, schools, teachers and social studies.