Fred Astaire was an American dancer, singer, actor and choreographer. He is widely regarded as the most influential dancer in the history of film. Born as Frederick Austerlitz in Omaha, Nebraska, on May 10, 1899, to Johanna (Geilus) and Fritz, a brewer, he entered show business at age 5. He was successful in vaudeville and on Broadway as well as in London's West End together with his sister Adele, a partnership that lasted 27 years. After Adele retired to marry in 1932, Astaire headed to Hollywood. Signed to RKO, he was loaned to MGM to appear in Dancing Lady (1933) before starting work on RKO's Flying Down to Rio (1933). In the latter film, he was teamed with Ginger Rogers, with whom he worked in 9 RKO pictures. Astaire later appeared opposite a number of partners, including Cyd Charisse, Rita Hayworth, Vera-Ellen and Barrie Chase. Astaire remained active well into old age, starring in musicals through 1968, and also performed a number of straight dramatic roles in film and TV. Throughout his career, he was also active in recording and radio. He died of pneumonia on June 22, 1987 in Los Angeles.
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