Best known for his dancing in top hat and tails, Frederic Austrlitz Jr. was born on May 10, 1899 in Omaha, Nebraska. He entered show business when he was only five and was successful in vaudeville and on Broadway. Fred Astaire headed to Hollywood in 1932 and acted in Dancing Lady in 1933. He worked in Flying Down to Rio also in 19333. He began a partnership with Ginger Rogers in Flying Down to Rio and they danced together in nine films.
Astaire was active in recording and radio shows. He appeared opposite quite a number of dance partners through various film studios. He took a brief retreat in 1945 to 1947 and established Fred Astaire Dance Studios. He returned to perform in musicals for the next ten years. Later he performed dramatic roles in film and Television.
Gene Kelly and Astaire danced together on screen in the movie Ziegfeld Follies in 1945. He has been voted the 19th greatest movie star of all time by Entertainment Weekly. Hollywood insured his legs for one million dollars. He always wore a necktie around his waist. This was a fashion statement he picked up from Douglas Fairbanks.
Astaire starred in the film Funny Face in 1957 and in the original 1927 Broadway version. He danced with Leslie Caron in Daddy Long Legs in 1955. Astaire was inducted into the Tap Dance hall of Fame in 2002 and was founder of Ava Records. He joined ASCAP in 1942 and his song compositions included I'm Building Up to an Awful Let-Down, Blue without You, If Swing Goes, I Go Too, and Just like Taking Candy from a Baby.
Astaire was married to Phyllis Livingston Potter in 1933 until 1954 upon her death. They have two children. He married Robyn Smith in 1980 and they stayed married until his death on June 22, 1987.