Astaire, Fred (1899-1987), American dancer and actor, known for his graceful, sophisticated dance style and for his musical comedy films. Born Fred Austerlitz in Omaha, Nebraska, Astaire appeared in vaudeville at the age of seven with his sister Adele. From 1917 to 1932 they were a noted Broadway dancing team, appearing in such musicals as Over the Top (1917), Lady Be Good (1925), and Funny Face (1927). After Adele Astaire retired from the stage, Fred Astaire began a career in films. His first film was Dancing Lady (1933). His films with the dancer Ginger Rogers, beginning with Flying Down to Rio (1933), include Roberta (1935), Top Hat (1935), Shall We Dance (1937), and The Barkleys of Broadway (1949). Astaire and Rogers developed an elegant dance style, noted for its technical excellence and intimacy. Astaires other films include Easter Parade (1948), with Judy Garland; Daddy Long Legs (1955), with Leslie Caron; Funny Face (1957), with Audrey Hepburn; and Silk Stockings (1957), with Cyd Charisse.
Perhaps the greatest popular dancer of his time, Astaire combined a technical mastery with a sense of ease and good humor. In 1949 his film work was recognized with a special Academy Award. The
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