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Fred Astaire

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Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire in Royal Wedding (1951)
Born Frederick Austerlitz Jr.
May 10, 1899
Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
Died June 22, 1987 (aged 88)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Pneumonia
Resting place Oakwood Memorial Park Cemetery, Chatsworth, California, USA
Nationality American
Ethnicity White
Occupation Actor, dancer, singer
Years active 1933–1981
Religion Episcopalian
Spouse Phyllis Livingston Potter
(m. 1933-1954, her death)
Robyn Smith
(m. 1980-1987, his death)
Children Son and daughter
Parents Frederick Austerlitz
Joanna (née Gelius)
Relatives Adele Astaire
(sister, dead)
Fred and Adele Astaire in 1921

Fred Astaire, born Frederick Austerlitz (10 May 1899 – 22 June 1987), was an American dancer, singer and actor. He was the most famous stage, movie and television dancer of his day.

Astaire started dancing on the stage with his sister Adèle, and when she married he started a movie partnership with Ginger Rogers. After that, he danced with a succession of talented American dancers on movie and on television. He appeared in 32 movies. His movie partners included Eleanor Powell, Ann Miller, Vera-Ellen, Cyd Charisse: all high-class dancers, and on TV with Barrie Chase. Their An evening with Fred Astaire won nine Emmy Awards in 1958.

Many male dancers of the 20th century were influenced by him, and said so. He owed something to the choreography of Hermes Pan, but more to his own perfectionism and relentless practice.

Astaire was also an excellent actor, and a successful, though personally modest, singer. He introduced some of the most celebrated songs from the Great American Songbook. He married Phyllis Potter in 1933; they had two children. After her death, he remarried in 1980 to Robyn Smith, a female jockey 45 years his junior.


  • Astaire, Fred. Steps in Time, 1959, OCLC 422937
  • Billman, Larry. Fred Astaire — a bio-bibliography, Greenwood Press 1997, ISBN 0-313-29010-5
  • Freeland, Michael. Fred Astaire: an illustrated biography, Grosset & Dunlap, 1976. ISBN 0-448-14080-2
  • Thomas, Bob. Astaire, the man, the dancer. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1985. ISBN 0-297-78402-1

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