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Fred Astaire Books

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I'd like to recommend two books regarding Fred Astaire. ASTAIRE DANCING by John Muller which is an exhaustive look at all of Mr. Astaire's musical film numbers, and THE FRED ASTAIRE AND GINGER ROGERS BOOK by Arlene Croce, which is a study of the Astaire/Rogers partnership. Both are excellent and can add to an appreciation of the films.

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Fred Astaire's autobiography is great. It is called Steps In Time. He talks about his early life when he was in small acts with his sister Adele. Then it goes on about filming. Very good read. I highly suggest it.

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Just finished a great book on Fred Astaire's early life and his pre-movie career as a dance partner with his older sister, Adele Astaire. It was written by Kathleen Riley under the title, "The Astaires: Fred and Adele" and was published by Oxford University Press in 2012. While they started out as a small-time child act, they came into their own in the late teens through the twenties and were world famous. Fred's first collaborations with the Gershwins and Cole Porter occurred in this era and were written for this pairing. They had several long running shows on Broadway and the London stage. After years of being enthralled by Fred and Ginger, I came across recordings of the London shows, "Lady, Be Good!" (1926) and "Funny Face" (1928). With these, I first learned about Adele and their pairing. Throughout most of their years together, she was considered the standout talent of the pair, while Fred was viewed as a supporting player. He was always considered to be in her shadow but harbored no resentment towards her. They remained close until her death in 1981. When she retired from the stage in 1932, the pundits all felt that Fred would fade away in obscurity. None of them sensed the greatness that he would achieve on film.  The book was a great read and provided a fascinating portrait of this influential pair of siblings (and the important role their parents played in guiding their career). Fred and Adele were as famous in the history of Broadway as Fred and Ginger are in the history of Hollywood.

Riley, Kathleen. The Astaires: Fred and Adele (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012). 

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3 hours ago, Whipsnade said:

Just finished a great book on Fred Astaire's early life and his pre-movie career as a dance partner with his older sister, Adele Astaire. It was written by Kathleen Riley under the title, "The Astaires: Fred and Adele" and was published by Oxford University Press in 2012. While they started out as a small-time child act, they came into their own in the late teens through the twenties and were world famous. Fred's first collaborations with the Gershwins and

*Cole Porter occurred in this era and were written for this pairing. *

They had several long running shows on Broadway and the London stage. After years of being enthralled by Fred and Ginger, I came across recordings of the London shows, "Lady, Be Good!" (1926) and "Funny Face" (1928). With these, I first learned about Adele and their pairing. Throughout most of their years together, she was considered the standout talent of the pair, while Fred was viewed as a supporting player. He was always considered to be in her shadow but harbored no resentment towards her. They remained close until her death in 1981. When she retired from the stage in 1932, the pundits all felt that Fred would fade away in obscurity. None of them sensed the greatness that he would achieve on film.  The book was a great read and provided a fascinating portrait of this influential pair of siblings (and the important role their parents played in guiding their career). Fred and Adele were as famous in the history of Broadway as Fred and Ginger are in the history of Hollywood.

Riley, Kathleen. The Astaires: Fred and Adele (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012). 

Very true about Fred Astaire always being in the shadow of his sister, Adele.

In the mid-1930s when Fred Astaire had become the most famous dancer in the movies, the press asked Adele what she thought about that. She told them something to the effect of: "I must have been holding him back."

Fred and Adele Astaire retired their act with the Broadway show The Band Wagon written by Dietz & Schwartz.

Cole Porter never wrote for the duo.

His first association with Fred Astaire was after Adele had retired and Fred was a solo artist.

Cole Porter wrote the music and lyrics for Fred Astaire's first solo Broadway show, "Gay Divorce".

Cole Porter set Fred Astaire up into solo stardom by giving him the number "Night and Day", which became the number one song of the day and propelled him into a Hollywood contract.

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17 hours ago, Princess of Tap said:

 

Cole Porter never wrote for the duo.

His first association with Fred Astaire was after Adele had retired and Fred was a solo artist.

Cole Porter wrote the music and lyrics for Fred Astaire's first solo Broadway show, "Gay Divorce".

Cole Porter set Fred Astaire up into solo stardom by giving him the number "Night and Day", which became the number one song of the day and propelled him into a Hollywood contract.

Thanks for the correction. My reference to Porter was a mistake in my draft that I intended to correct but didn't. I was looking for a second recognizable name for stylistic reasons and meant to change it to Jerome Kern, who did the score for the 1922 flop, "The Bunch and Judy Show." 

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