Fred-Astaire

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Debbie Reynolds tells the story about how Fred Astaire encouraged her to keep working hard on the dance routines for Singin’ in the Rain. (x)

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“The musicals had a good, happy feeling, saying that the world is a better place. They say it’s not reality, but who cares? There’s too much reality these days.” -Shirley Jones

25 THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT FRED ASTAIRE

1. His favorite meal was chicken noodle soup, but the noodles had to be flat, not round.

2. He was obsessed with crime and criminals. He had friends in the police department who would call him up if there was a murder or a robbery and they’d let him ride along in the police car to the scene of the crime, and he’d hang around and observe as they did their work. 

3. He hated to wear top hat, white tie and tails. This image was born when he was a child performer in vaudeville with his sister Adele, who was older and taller than him, and because he was supposed to be the man, they decided to put a top hat on him to make him look taller.

4. He picked up skateboarding in his late seventies and was awarded a life membership in the National Skateboard Society. At 78 he broke his wrist while skateboarding in his driveway and was so embarrassed about it that he didn’t want anyone to take a picture of him for as long as he was bandaged up.

5. If he wouldn’t have become a dancer, he would have liked to be a professional golfer.

6. He was an amazing drummer and kept a drum set in his bathroom.

7. He was home-schooled by his mother and only visited public school for two years while living in New Jersey. After his first week there, he could skip a grade.

8. He was good friends with David Niven, Clark Gable, Randolph Scott and James Cagney.

9. He was really self-conscious about his disproportionately large hands and would always curl them while dancing.

10. When he saw himself on the screen for the first time, he said: “Gosh, I look like a knife!” 

11. Second Chorus (1940) was his least favorite of his movies.

12. Kim Novak, his co-star on The Notorious Landlady (1962) gave him a Siamese cat as a gift and he named it Caryle, after her character’s name.

13. Though generally mild-mannered he liked to destroy furniture and throw handy things when he lost his temper.

14. He loved to watch soap operas, his favorites being Guiding Light and As the World Turns and he would call his housekeeper if he couldn’t see the show to find out what had happened.

15. He hated mushy love scenes and rarely kissed on-screen. 

16. He really suffered the fact that he didn’t have a good head of hair.

17. His legs were insured for 75.000 dollars each, a huge amount of money at the time.

18. He had a reputation for being the worst celebrity to interview because he was extremely shy and reserved and refused to talk about himself or share anything about his personal life. In his earliest interviews, he stuttered.

19. He loathed social dancing. 

20. When starring on Broadway as a young man, he used to rollerskate up and down Park Avenue at night, trying to avoid the press who might have spotted him during the day.

21. His wife Phyllis died of cancer shortly before he was supposed to begin filming Daddy Long Legs in 1954, and he was so distressed that he offered to cover any financial losses out of his own pocket if they would shut down production. Eventually he was persuaded to do the movie, but in between takes he would often retrieve to a corner and weep, which is why in some of the scenes his eyes appear swollen and red.

22. He had restless legs syndrome, and even wiggled his toes when he slept.

23. He didn’t exercise.

24. Michael Jackson dedicated his autobiography Moonwalk to Fred.

25. Fred Astaire died of pneumonia on June 22, 1987, on the anniversary of his Easter Parade co-star Judy Garland’s death (June 22, 1969).