Tuesday, 15 September 2009


When life gets crazy or I want to hide from the world I turn to old films, I loose myself in them through their simplicity and their glamour. Most often then not it's a film with Ginger Rogers. It was this all singing, dancing and gorgeous actress who, when dancing alongside Fred Astaire really got me in to the oldies, her dancing and style was, and remains as mesmerising over 70 years since the steps were captured on film. She was as talented as she was beautiful.

Born Virginia Katherine McMath on July 16th 1911, it was through her mothers love of Hollywood which sparked Ginger's (a nickname gained after her younger cousins couldn't say her first name) interest in theatre spending her time dancing and singing to on-stage performances while waiting for her mother. Becoming the stand in for the travelling vaudeville act of Eddie Foy, Ginger later went on to win a six month touring contract. While her first marriage to Jack Pepper with whom she began her own vaudeville touring act failed, when Ginger and her mother arrived in New York she stayed, earning a radio contract and her Broadway d├ębut.

At the age of 19 she became the newest Hollywood star after being snapped up by George and Ira Gershwin to star in Broadway's Crazy Girl (1929) a production were Fred Astaire (her later dancing partner) was hired to choreograph the dancing. Yet it wasn't until her casting in her breakthrough film 42nd Street (1933) and later staring alongside Astaire in Flying Down to Rio (1933) that her name and status grew.

Fred became her greatest dancing partner, although their working relationship is said to have been rocky, they produced nine musical films across the six years to 1939 and the later reuniting for a final time to star in Barkley's of Broadway in 1949. By the 1940's however Ginger wanted to turn to more serious acting, and while winning the Academy Award of Best Actress in Kitty Foyle (1940) by the end of the decade her career was in steady decline. Her concluding work was often in minor supporting roles, featuring alongside Marilyn Monroe and Cary Grant in Monkey Business (1952).

Marrying five times, Ginger died in 1995 at the 83.

Images taken from Life magazine online

1 comment:

  1. I've always loved Ginger! She was such a great actress and dancer!