Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Rough Start for Fred Astaire

In 1933, Fred Astaire did a screentest for RKO Radio Pictures and upon review he was cited as being a bad singer, bad actor, balding, and no dance skills what so ever. David O. Selznick had actually reviewed this screen test and was reported to have wrote, " am uncertain about the man, but I feel, in spite of his enormous ears and bad chin line, that his charm is so tremendous that it comes through even on this wretched test."

This however didn't stop RKO Radio Pictures from doing some type of film work with Fred. He was loaned out to Metro-Goldywn-Mayer Studios for a few days to star in the musical Dancing Lady (1933) making his screen debut and first on-screen dance with Joan Crawford. When he got back to RKO Radio Pictures he was assinged to do another musical entitled Flying Down to Rio co-starring Ginger Rogers who would later become his most popular and well-known dancing partner.

Fred Astaire cemented his musical fame after that and in the 1930s he and Ginger became the most popular and beloved dance team in American films. Fred Astaire danced with other actresses later on in his career; Paulette Goddard, Joan Fontaine, Cyd Charisse, and Rita Hayworth. Although the start of his Hollywood career was rather rough he triumphed over criticism and began a reputable actor. In 1981 he recieved an AFI Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the art of dance.

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