Fred ASTAIRE | Frederick Austerlitz

* 10.05.1899, Omaha, Nebraska, USA † 22.06.1987, Los Angeles, USA

Schauspieler * ab 1905 tritt zusammen mit Schwester Adele als Tanzduo in Vaudeville-Theatern auf * Tanzausbildung an der Alvienne School of the Dance und am Ned Wayburn Studio of Stage Dancing * 1917 Debüt am Broadway (mit seiner Schwester) in Over the Top - bis 1931 (letzte gemeinsame Show The Band Wagon) bilden beide eines der populärsten Tanzpaare in New York und London, GB (1923-32) * 1933-39 unter Vertrag bei RKO * 1933 Filmdebüt (als er selbst) in Dancing Lady * erster gemeinsamer Film mit Ginger Rogers (Flying Down to Rio, 1933) - in weiteren neun Filmen steigen beide rasch zum beliebtesten amerikanischen Tanzpaar der 30er Jahre (1935-37 dreimal unter Top Ten des box office) * 1934 erste Hauptrolle (The Gay Divorcee) * 1938 nach dem Mißerfolg seines ersten Vehikels ohne Rogers (A Damsel in Distress) als Kassengift [box-office poison] abgeschrieben * Trennung von Ginger Rogers (The Story of Vernon & Irene Castle, 1938/39) * setzt seine Karriere in song-and-dance films mit wechselnden Partnerinnen (Eleanor Powell, Rita Hayworth, Cyd Charisse) fort * 1944 unterschreibt Vertrag bei M-G-M (Ziegfeld Follies) * 1946 erklärt seinen Rückzug aus dem Kinogeschäft - nach einer Verletzung von Gene Kelly feiert allerdings schon zwei Jahre später ein triumphales Comeback in Easter Parade * ca. 1947 eröffnet Fred Astaire Dance Studios * 1949 letzter gemeinsamer Film mit Ginger Rogers (The Barkleys of Broadway) * seit 1958 auch Fernseharbeit (host/Gastgeber von Fred Astaire's Alcoa Premiere Theatre, 1961-63) * 1959 erste dramatische Rolle in On the Beach * Veröffentlichung seiner Memoiren Steps in Time (1959) * 1968-69 Gaststar der TV-Serie It Takes a Thief (Ihr Auftritt, Al Mundy) * auch Choreograf, Komponist und Sänger


"Dancing is a sweat job."
"I just put my feet in the air and move them around."
"I can watch Astaire anytime. I don't think he ever made a wrong move. He was a perfectionist. He would work on a few bars for hours until it was just the way he wanted it. Gene [Kelly] was the same way. They both wanted perfection, even though they were completely different personalities." Cyd Charisse
"Fred moved like glass. Physically it was easy to dance with him. It was not as demanding on me. I didn't need the same vitality and strength." Cyd Charisse


Die Karriere des am 10. Mai 1899 in den USA unter dem Namen Frederick Austerlitz geborenen Sohnes österreichischer Einwanderer begann bereits in früher Kindheit. Im Alter von vier Jahren schickte ihn die Mutter zum Ballettunterricht, als Teenager feierte er im Duo mit seiner Schwester Adele am Broadway erste Erfolge. Nach Hollywood zog es ihn Anfang der 30er Jahre, kometenhaft avancierte er dort zum Superstar. Mit Ginger Rogers bildete Astaire ein Traumpaar, das sich mit Filmen wie "Ich tanz' mich in dein Herz hinein", einer Mischung aus Screwball-Komödie und Musical, unsterblich machte. Als "Tänzer vom Broadway" steppten sie, inzwischen in sattem Technicolor und zur swingenden Musik von Ira und George Gershwin sowie Harry Warren, zum letzten Mal gemeinsam. In Frack und mit Zylinder tanzte Astaire in dem Musical "Drei kleine Worte", das er später zu seinen Lieblingsfilmen zählte, weiter in das sechste Jahrzehnt seiner Laufbahn. Nach dem Erfolg von "Seidenstrümpfe", einem Musical-Remake des Lubitsch-Klassikers "Ninotschka", zog er sich Ende der 50er Jahre allmählich zurück. Inzwischen über 60, ließ sich besagter Knochenjob auch für ihn nicht mehr so einfach bewältigen. Als weiser Provinzdoktor kehrte er 1977 in der melancholischen Komödie "Das malvenfarbene Taxi" für eine wundervolle Altersrolle auf die Leinwand zurück. In seinem Fall hatte die Academy bereits früh das Wirken gewürdigt und Astaire, der seine atemberaubenden Tanzszenen auch selbst choreografierte, bereits 1950 den Ehren-Oscar für das Lebenswerk verliehen. Fred Astaire starb am 22. Juni 1987 in Los Angeles. Zu tanzen wie er gilt bis heute als Inbegriff leichtfüßiger Perfektion. [WDR, Juli 2012]

FILMS

Dancing Lady (Ich tanze nur für Dich, 1933-USA * Robert Z. Leonard ... er selbst) (Roman von James Warner Bellah) (06-10; 3311)

Flying Down to Rio (1933-USA; d: Thornton Freeland, B: Cyril Hume, H.W. Hanemann, Erwin Gelsey, K: J. Roy Hunt, ML: Max Steiner, D: Dolores Del Rio, Gene Raymond / FA-Fred Ayres) 89m-Musical (08-11; 3312)

The Gay Divorcee (Tanz mit mir, 1934-USA; R: Mark Sandrich, B: George Marion, Jr, Dorothy Yost, Edward Kaufman, K: David Abel, ML: Max Steiner, D: FA-Guy Holden, Ginger Rogers) 107m-Musical (06-08/+09; 3410)

Roberta (1934/35-USA; d: William A. Seiter, B: Jane Murfin, Sam Mintz, Allan Scott; Glenn Tryon, K: Edward Cronjager, ML: Max Steiner, D: Irene Dunne, FA-Huck/leberry Haines, Ginger Rogers) 106m-Musical (Musical von Otto Harbach & Jerome Kern + Roman von Alice Duer Miller) (11-01; 3503)

Top Hat (Ich tanz' mich in dein Herz hinein, 1935-USA * Mark Sandrich ... Jerry Travers) (04-06; 3508)

Follow the Fleet (Marine gegen Liebeskummer, 1935/36-USA; R: Mark Sandrich, B: Dwight Taylor, Allan Scott, K: David Abel, ML: Max Steiner, D: FA-Bake Baker, Ginger Rogers) 110m-Musical (Bühnenstück von Hubert Osborne) (10-01; 3602)

Swing Time (Swing Time, 1936-USA; R: George Stevens, B: Howard Lindsay, Allan Scott, K: David Abel, ML: Nathaniel Shilkret, D: FA-John "Lucky" Garnett, Ginger Rogers) 103m-Musical (05-07; 3609)

Shall We Dance (Tanz mit mir, 1936/37-USA * Mark Sandrich ... Petrov [Peter P. Peters]) (12-03; 3705)

A Damsel in Distress (Ein Fräulein in Nöten, 1937-USA; R: George Stevens, B: P.G. Wodehouse, Ernest Pagano, S.K. Lauren, K: Joseph H. August, D: FA-Jerry Halliday, George Burns, Gracie Allen) 101m-Musical (Roman von P.G. Wodehouse) (07-10; 3711)

Carefree (Sorgenfrei durch Dr. Flagg - Carefree, 1938-USA; R: Mark Sandrich, B: Ernest Pagano, Allan Scott; Dudley Nichols, Hagar Wilde, K: Robert de Grasse, ML: Victor Baravalle, D: FA-Tony Flagg, Ginger Rogers) 80/3m-Musikkomödie (04/05-07; 3809)

The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1938/39-USA; d: H.C. Potter, B: Richard Sherman; Oscar Hammerstein II, Dorothy Yost, K: Robert de Grasse, ML: Victor Baravalle, D: FA-Vernon Castle, Ginger Rogers) 93m-Musikbiopic (Buch /1919/ + short story /1918/19/ von Irene Castle) (11-01; 3903)

Broadway Melody of 1940 (Broadway Melodie 1940, 1939-USA * Norman Taurog ... Johnny Brett) (09-11; 4002)

Second Chorus (1940-USA; d: H.C. Potter, B: Elaine Ryan, Ian McLellan Hunter; Johnny Mercer, K: Theodor Sparkuhl, M: Artie Shaw, D: FA-Danny O'Neill, Paulette Goddard) 84m-Musikfilm (4101)

You'll Never Get Rich (Reich wirst du nie, 1941-USA; R: Sidney Lanfield, B: Michael Fessier, Ernest Pagano K: Philip Tannura, ML: Morris Stoloff, D: FA-Robert Curtis, Rita Hayworth) 88m-Musikkomödie (05-07; 4109)

Holiday Inn (Musik, Musik, 1941/42-USA; R: Mark Sandrich, B: Claude Binyon; Elmer Rice, K: David Abel, ML: Robert Emmett Dolan, D: Bing Crosby, FA-Ted Hanover) 101m-Musical (11-01; 4208)

You Were Never Lovelier (Du warst nie berückender, 1942-USA; R: William A. Seiter, B: Michael Fessier, Ernest Pagano, Delmer Daves, K: Ted Tetzlaff, ML: Leigh Harline, D: FA-Robert Davis, Rita Hayworth) 98m-Musical (06-08; 4211)

The Sky's the Limit (1943-USA; d: Edward H. Griffith, B: Frank Fenton, Lynn Root, K: Russell Metty, ML: Leigh Harline, D: FA-Fred Atwell, Joan Leslie) 90m-Musikkomödie (01-03; 4309)

Ziegfeld Follies (Broadway Melodie 1950, 1944-USA; R: Vincente Minnelli, B: various, K: George J. Folsey, Charles Rosher, ML: Lennie Hayton, D: William Powell, FA-Fred Astaire/Raffles/Tai Long, Lucille Ball, Lucille Bremer, Fanny Brice, Judy Garland, Kathryn Grayson, Lena Horne, Gene Kelly, James Melton, Victor Moore, Red Skelton, Esther Williams) 110m-Revue (04-08/+12+01-02.45; 4603)

Yolanda and the Thief (Yolanda und der Dieb, 1945-USA; R: Vincente Minnelli, B: Irving Brecher, K: Charles Rosher, ML: Lennie Hayton, D: FA-Johnny Parkson Riggs, Lucille Bremer) 109m-Musical (01-05; 4511)

Blue Skies (Blau ist der Himmel - Blue Skies, 1945-USA; R: Stuart Heisler, B: Arthur Sheekman; Allan Scott, K: Charles Lang, William Snyder, ML: Robert Emmett Dolan, D: Bing Crosby, FA-Jed Potter, Joan Caulfield) 104m-Musical (07-09; 4610)

Easter Parade (Osterspaziergang, 1947/48-USA; R: Charles Walters, B: Sidney Sheldon, Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, K: Harry Stradling, ML: Johnny Green, D: FA-Don Hewes, Judy Garland) 103m-Musikkomödie (11-02/+03; 4806)

The Barkleys of Broadway (Tänzer vom Broadway, 1948-USA * Charles Walters ... Josh Barkley) (08-10; 4905)

Let's Dance (Tanzen ist unser Leben - Let's Dance, 1949-USA; R: Norman Z. McLeod, B: Allan Scott; Dane Lussier, K: George Barnes, ML: Robert Emmett Dolan, D: Betty Hutton, FA-Don/ald Elwood) 112m-Musikkomödie (short story von Maurice Zolotow) (07-09/+11; 5011)

Three Little Words (Drei kleine Worte, 1949/50-USA * Richard Thorpe ... Bert Kalmar) (12-02; 5007)

Royal Wedding (Königliche Hochzeit, 1950-USA; R: Stanley Donen, B: Alan Jay Lerner, K: Robert Planck, ML: Johnny Green, D: FA-Tom Bowen, Jane Powell) 93m-Musikkomödie (07-08/+10; 5103)

The Belle of New York (Die Schönste von New York, 1951-USA; R: Charles Walters, B: Robert O'Brien, Irving Elinson; Chester Erskine, K: Robert Planck, ML: Adolph Deutsch, D: FA-Charlie Hill, Vera-Ellen, Marjorie Main) 82m-Musical (5202)

The Band Wagon (Vorhang auf!, 1952/53-USA * Vincente Minnelli ... Tony Hunter) (5307)

Daddy Long Legs (Daddy Langbein, 1954/55-USA; R: Jean Negulesco, B: Phoebe Ephron, Henry Ephron, K: Leon Shamroy, MS: Alfred Newman, D: FA-Jervis Pendleton III, Leslie Caron) 126m-Musical (Roman von Jean Webster) (10-02; 5505)

Funny Face (Ein süßer Fratz, 1956-USA * Stanley Donen ... Dick Avery) (04-07; 5704)

Silk Stockings (Seidenstrümpfe, 1956/57-USA * Rouben Mamoulian ... Steve Canfield) (11-01; 5707)

On the Beach (Das letzte Ufer, 1959-USA * Stanley Kramer ... Julian Osborn) (Roman von Nevil Shute) (5912)

The Pleasure of His Company (In angenehmer Gesellschaft, 1960-USA; R: George Seaton, B: Samuel A. Taylor, K: Robert Burks, M: Alfred Newman, D: FA-Biddeford "Pogo" Poole, Debbie Reynolds, Lilli Palmer, Tab Hunter) 115m-Komödie (Bühnenstück von Samuel A. Taylor, Cornelia Otis Skinner) (6106)

The Notorious Landlady (Noch Zimmer frei, 1961-USA; R: Richard Quine, B: Larry Gelbart, Blake Edwards, K: Arthur E. Arling, M: George Duning, D: Kim Novak, Jack Lemmon, FA-Franklyn Ambruster) 123m-Krimikomödie (Short Story von Margery Sharp) (6207)

Finian's Rainbow (Der goldene Regenbogen, 1967-USA; R: Francis Ford Coppola, B: E.Y. Harburg, Fred Saidy, K: Philip H. Lathrop, MS: Ray Heindorf, D: FA-Finian McLonergan, Petula Clark) 145m-Musical (6810)

Midas Run (Gestatten, das sind meine Kohlen!, 1968-USA; R: Alf Kjellin, B: James David Buchanan, Ronald Austin, Berne Giler, K: Ken Higgins, M: Elmer Bernstein, D: Richard Crenna, Anne Heywood, FA-John Pedley) 106m-Krimi (6905)

The Towering Inferno (Flammendes Inferno, 1974-USA * John Guillermin ... Harlee Claiborne) (7412)

The Amazing Dobermans (Mit Dobermännern spaßt man nicht, 1976-USA; R: Byron Chudnow, B: Michael Kraike, William Goldstein, Richard Chapman, K: Gregory Sandor, M: Alan Silvestri, D: FA-Daniel Hughes, James Franciscus, Barbara Eden) 94m-Komödie (7611)

Un taxi mauve (Das malvenfarbene Taxi, 1976/77-F/I * Yves Boisset ... Dr. Scully) (Roman von Michel Déon) (7705)

Ghost Story (Zurück bleibt die Angst, 1981-USA * John Irvin ... Ricky Hawthorne) (Roman von Peter Straub) (8112)

AWARDS

Ehren-Oscar (1950)

Golden Globe (bester Darsteller - Kategorie Musical/Komödie) für Three Little Words (1951)

Cecil B. DeMille Award [Golden Globes 1961]

Spezial-David /di Donatello/ (1975)

Golden Globe (bester Nebendarsteller) für The Towering Inferno (1975)

BAFTA Award (bester Nebendarsteller) für The Towering Inferno (1976)

Life Achievement Award [American Film Institute 1981]

BOOKS

Fred Astaire: Steps in Time. New York: itbooks, 2008 > xiii, 338 p., [24] p. of plates : ill.

Bill Adler: Fred Astaire: a Wonderful Life. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1987 > 191 S. : Ill. * includes lists of Fred Astaire's stage musicals, movies and TV appearances, bibliography

Stephan Harvey: Fred Astaire: Seine Filme - sein Leben. München: Heyne, 1991 > 207 S. : zahlr. Ill. * Filmogr. und Bibliogr. S. 199-206

Edward Gallafent: Astaire & Rogers. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002 > 256 S. : 156 Fotos * bibliography, filmography, index

Kathleen Riley: The Astaires: Fred & Adele. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012 > XXIII, 241 S. : Ill. * bibliography, index


1997Larry Billman: Fred Astaire: A Bio-bibliography. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1997 > XVIII, 402 S. : Ill.

One of the most dynamic figures of the entertainment industry, Fred Astaire's career spanned most of the twentieth century. For some, he brings to mind the world of Broadway. For others, he represents the golden age of the movie musical, particularly because of his eleven-film collaboration with Ginger Rogers. Virtually all of his fans will long remember his effortlessly graceful dance routines. International dance giants have credited his work with inspiring their careers and giving them a model of excellence. His innovations as a choreographer, dance director, and creator of musical sequences forever changed the presentation of dance on film. Though he was always in the public spotlight, he treasured his family and cherished his privacy. For a star of such stature, he was remarkably free from scandal. This reference book is a complete guide to his life and career. The volume begins with a biography that traces his life from his birth in Omaha in 1899, to his professional debut in 1905, to his Broadway and Hollywood careers, to his death in 1987. A chronology then highlights the chief events of his life. The chapters that follow provide detailed information for his work on stage, film, radio, and television. Each chapter includes entries for individual performances, with entries providing cast and credit information, plot synopses, critical commentary, and excerpts from reviews. The volume also lists his recordings, unfulfilled projects, and other information. An extensive annotated bibliography concludes the work. * filmography: p. [79]-173. + discography: p. [235]-274. + bibliographical references (p. [299]-361) and index


joseph epsteinJoseph Epstein: Fred Astaire. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008 > XV, 198 S. : Ill.

Joseph Epstein’s Fred Astaire investigates the great dancer’s magical talent, taking up the story of his life, his personality, his work habits, his modest pretensions, and above all his accomplishments. Written with the wit and grace the subject deserves, Fred Astaire provides a remarkable portrait of this extraordinary artist and how he came to embody for Americans a fantasy of easy elegance and, paradoxically, of democratic aristocracy. Tracing Astaire’s life from his birth in Omaha to his death in his late eighties in Hollywood, the book discusses his early days with his talented and outspoken sister Adele, his gifts as a singer (Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Jerome Kern all delighted in composing for Astaire), and his many movie dance partners, among them Cyd Charisse, Rita Hayworth, Eleanor Powell, and Betty Hutton. A key chapter of the book is devoted to Astaire’s somewhat unwilling partnership with Ginger Rogers, the woman with whom he danced most dazzlingly. What emerges from these pages is a fascinating view of an American era, seen through the accomplishments of Fred Astaire, an unassuming but uncompromising performer who transformed entertainment into art and gave America a new yet enduring standard for style. * includes bibliographical references (p. 189-191) and index.


2009Peter J. Levinson: Puttin' on the Ritz: Fred Astaire and the Fine Art of Panache. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2009 > XIV, 477 S. : Ill.

Fred Astaire defined elegance on the dance floor. With white tie, tails and a succession of elegant partners - Ginger Rogers, Cyd Charisse, Rita Hayworth, Eleanor Powell, Judy Garland and others - he created an indelible image of the Anglo bon vivant. His origins, though, were far more humble: Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Fred Astaire came from Midwestern stock that partially had its origin in the late nineteenth century Jewish communities of Austria. At first, he played second fiddle in vaudeville to his sister, Adele; however, once he learned how to tap and bought his first Brooks Brothers suit, the game changed. How did he transform himself from a small town Nebraska boy into the most sophisticated man ever to dance across a dance floor? In this comprehensive new book about the life and artistry of Fred Astaire, Peter Levinson looks carefully at the entirety of Astaire's career from vaudeville to Broadway to Hollywood to television. He explores Astaire’s relationships with his vivacious dance partners, his friendship with songwriters like George Gershwin and Irving Berlin and his relationship with choreographers like Hermes Pan to discover how Astaire, in effect, created his elegant persona. Astaire put his mark on the Hollywood musical, starting his career at RKO and then moving to MGM. From his long list of films, certain classics like "Swing Time", "Top Hat", “Royal Wedding” and "The Bandwagon" revolutionized the presentation of dance on film; but, he also revolutionized the television variety special with the Emmy-Award-Winning “An Evening With Fred Astaire”. For ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz”, veteran Hollywood insider, Peter Levinson interviewed over two hundred people who worked closely with Astaire such as Debbie Reynolds, Dick Van Dyke, Artie Shaw, Bobby Short, Oscar Peterson, Mel Ferrer, Betty Garrett, Joel Grey, Arlene Dahl, Michael Kidd, Betty Comden, Onna White, Margaret Whiting, Andy Williams, and others like Quincy Jones, John Travolta, and John Williams, to provide an intimate window on to his professional as well as his personal life. His new biography of Astaire is a celebration of the great era of sophistication on Broadway and in Hollywood as seen through the life of a man who learned how to put on the Ritz and become America’s premiere song-and-dance-man: Fred Astaire.

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