American Legends: The Life of Fred Astaire

ISBN: 9781492704225
*Includes pictures of Astaire and other important people and scenes.
*Includes Astaire's quotes about his own life and others' quotes about him.
*Includes a bibliography for further reading.
"No dancer can watch Fred Astaire and not know that we all should have been in another business." – Mikhail Baryshnikov
A lot of ink has been spilled covering the lives of history’s most influential figures, but how much of the forest is lost for the trees? In Charles River Editors’ American Legends series, readers can get caught up to speed on the lives of America’s most important men and women in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
Virtually all famous actors are regaled by the public, but even still, Fred Astaire occupies a privileged position in American pop culture. The specific films in which Astaire acted may not be especially famous in their own right - most people likely cannot recall the title of Top Hat (1935), his most decorated film - but Astaire’s dancing prowess invariably creates a lasting impact on viewers. Instead of tying his fame to a single film, Astaire’s genius lay in constructing his star persona around a specific set of iconographic imagery that has become embedded within American culture. Across his films, the recurring iconic images of the top hat, cane, and coat tails, as well as the image of Astaire dancing with Ginger Rogers, all constitute a timeless symbol for elegance that continues to captivate viewers who are unfamiliar with the plots of his films. There have been other film musical actors who were proficient dancers, Gene Kelly chief among them, but none were able to perform with the seamless elegance of Astaire, and none have been remembered nearly as well.
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