Friday, February 5

Fred and Ginger

On Having Your Bubble Burst...


I read recently on Delancey Place (2-4-10) that Fred Astaire didn't like Ginger Rogers. Who knew??!! Those of us (ladies of a certain age) who remember their movies fondly can hardly believe that, I'm sure. Here's a quote:

"Neither much liked the notion of being subsumed as part of a team: Astaire had already done that with his sister [Adele]; Rogers thought of herself as much more than a mere dancer (she did, after all, go on to win an Oscar for her role in Kitty Foyle), and doubtless sensed that, good as the two of them were together, Fred Astaire somehow outshone her. Astaire even wrote to Leland Hayward, his agent, after the success of The Gay Divorcee, that he wished never again to be part of a fixed team in his movie career, and especially not with Ginger Rogers. ...

"Astaire even had a contract drawn up with a clause that Ginger Rogers could not appear in more than three of the five movies he had signed on to do for RKO. In fact, they eventually did ten movies together. ..."

The author goes on to say that it is a testament to their acting ability that they were able to make believable the movies they were in together. Live and learn!

This excerpt came from this book: Fred Astaire by Joseph Epstein, Yale, 2008, Pp. 94-97

23 comments:

Mamacita (Mamacita) said...

Oh, man. . . . Sometimes, I don't WANT to know all the extras. Sigh.

I liked Astaire, but when he was paired with young Leslie Caron in Daddy Long Legs, all I could think of was, PEDOPHILE. Kind of like Maurice Chevalier in Gigi.

Gilly said...

No, I would never have guessed! But I suppose that is what makes actors different from us mere mortals!

And if they can dance together like Astaire and Rogers as well.....

I loved their films!

Tabor said...

Your post was something new for me to learn but I was more fascinated by that 'answer tips' button on the side of your blog.

Pat said...

Another illusion shattered - or is it. Biographers don't always get it right. Fred was - to my mind - an archetypal gent.

amarkonmywall said...

This only confirms my belief that everyone who seems to be my friend really doesn't like. Not that I'm feeling paranoid...

Granny Annie said...

I don't know what surprises me more -- that Fred didn't like Ginger or that there was once a movie named THE GAY DIVORCEE.

LL Cool Joe said...

Maybe it was their dislike that made the magic work so well?

Ice skaters Torvill and Dean used to fight and argue all the time, but they created some pure magic on he ice together.

Arkansas Patti said...

Who knew they were that good at acting. They had me fooled.

Greta said...

This reminds me of one of my favorite slogans from the women's movement a few decades ago:

Ginger could do everything that Fred did, but she could do it backwards and in high heels.

Grannymar said...

I had heard that before and indeed there were several regular twosomes on film that hated each other off screen.

Nancy said...

Oh, The things I learn from you, Judy.

I always thought it was Ginger who made Fred look good.

Like Greta, I was also reminded of the remark made by Governor Ann Richards of Texas: "Ginger could do everything Fred did, but she could do it backwards and in high heels."

What a great quip!

Anil P said...

In which case not for nothing were they great actors, to paper over the differences.

Lynn said...

I still love to see them dance on those old films - especially The Gay Divorcee.

tiff said...

Huh! I wouldn't have thought it, but then again I wouldn't have thought that Clark Gable had stank breath either (and by many accounts he did).

Looking to the Stars said...

I loved them, they were magic but I too, had heard they did not care for each other. Also, on that same vein: Gone With The Wind, Clark Gable could not stand his leading lady and She could not stand him. He smoked cigars and always smelled of them, she hated close ups and kissing him because of this.

All is not glitter in show biz, its very hard work, so when I see a truly well done movie I am in awe of the acting.

Ginnie said...

Too much information. I will stay in my dream world and always remember them as a "romantic and loving couple" ... HA! After all, I remember living in a world that had little to do with reality when I was a teenager.

Kay Dennison said...

I read that long ago and I guess it shows why they are called actors. The "backward in high heels" quote is one of my favorites.

Fred said...

I don't see why it is a surprise that the two of them were such skilled actors. It is not that they did not like each other, it was more that they did not want to be limited by this partnership. C'mon
6 of their movies basically recycled the same two plots. Who wouldn't be bored?

Darlene said...

I had a friend who was a fan of Ginger Rogers and saw her on stage.

Ginger wore a long flowing white dress and my friend went backstage to see her in the Green Room after the performance. Imagine how disillusioned she was to see that the dress was actually filthy and that Ginger smelled of stale sweat. (I can imagine that perspiration would be expected with the strenuous dancing GR did.)

The illusions on stage are just that; illusions.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I have always heard that Astaire's FAVORITE Dancing partner was Rita Hayworth....And I can understand that because she was a "dancer" before she went into movies. Also...the people I know who knew Rita H. said she was the most wonderful terrific woman....! I'm sure he appreciated her on all levels.

Joy Des Jardins said...

Oh Poop! I guess we shouldn't be surprised by anything anymore. I loved those movies, and I love Fred Astaire to this day. I hate finding these things out...I guess I like to live in my fantasy world even when I'm not at the movies... Why can't we ALL get along....POOP!

Pagan Sphinx said...

I once read a description of Ginger Rogers that went something like this:

"Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, only she did backwards and in high heels."

Rhonda Mac said...

In an interview that Ginger Rogers did, she said that the publicity department at RKO made up a lot of the rumours that they didn't like each other to conjure up interest in the new dance couple but she said they were untrue. Fred said the same thing in his interview and his daughter Ava confirmed their mutual admiration for each other. Fred Astaire didn't want to be teamed up with another dance partner, but Pandro S. Berman was pushing hard to get those two together. It was not meant to be a slag against Ginger herself but an effort to retain individuality on the part of Fred Astaire.