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Ginger Rogers & Fred Astaire, Hollywood, 1975. Postcard.

Ginger Rogers & Fred Astaire, Hollywood, 1975. Postcard.

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Ginger Rogers (1911 – 1995) was an American actress, dancer, and singer who appeared in film, and on stage, radio, and television throughout much of the 20th century.

During her long career, she made a total of 73 films, and is noted for her role as Fred Astaire's romantic interest and dancing partner, in a series of ten Hollywood musical films that revolutionized the genre. She also achieved great success in a variety of film roles, and won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Kitty Foyle (1940).

Rogers was most famous for her partnership with Fred Astaire. Together, from 1933 to 1939, they made nine musical films. They revolutionized the Hollywood musical, introducing dance routines of unprecedented elegance and virtuosity, set to songs specially composed for them by the greatest popular song composers of the day. A musical about the life of Rogers, entitled Backwards in High Heels, premiered in Florida in early 2007.

Fred Astaire (1899 – 1987), was an American film and Broadway stage dancer, choreographer, singer and actor. His stage and subsequent film career spanned a total of 76 years, during which he made 31 musical films. He was named the fifth Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute. He is particularly associated with Ginger Rogers, with whom he made ten films.

Gene Kelly, another major innovator in filmed dance, said that "the history of dance on film begins with Astaire". Beyond film and television, many classical dancers and choreographers, Rudolf Nureyev, Sammy Davis Jr., Michael Jackson, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Jerome Robbins among them, also acknowledged his importance and influence.

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