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1. Steps in Time: An Autobiography
2. Fred Astaire (Icons of America)
3. Fred Astaire: His Friends Talk
4. The Fred Astaire & Ginger
5. Dancing on Astaire: 2000 Biographical
6. Fred Astaire (A Pyramid illustrated
7. Fred Astaire
8. Fred Astaire (Gondola)
9. Fred Astaire: A Wonderful Life
10. Footwork: The Story of Fred and
11. Fred Astaire: A Bio-Bibliography
12. The Man, The Dancer: The Life
13. Puttin' On the Ritz: Fred Astaire
14. Fred Astaire
15. Astaire Dancing The Musical Films
16. Fred Astaire Style (Memoire)
17. Fred Astaire
18. Astaire and Rogers
19. Starring Fred Astaire
20. The Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers

1. Steps in Time: An Autobiography
by Fred Astaire
Paperback: 384 Pages (2008-08-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$7.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061567566
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

One of the foremost entertainers of the twentieth century—singer, actor, choreographer, and, of course, the most dazzling "hoofer" in the history of motion pictures—Fred Astaire was the epitome of charm, grace, and suave sophistication, with a style all his own and a complete disregard for the laws of gravity. Steps in Time is Astaire's story in his own words, a memoir as beguiling, exuberant, and enthralling as the great artist himself, the man ballet legends George Balanchine and Rudolf Nureyev cited as, hands down, the century's greatest dancer.

From his debut in vaudeville at age six through his remarkable career as the star of many of the most popular Hollywood musicals ever captured on celluloid, Steps in Time celebrates the golden age of entertainment and its royalty, as seen through the eyes of the era's affable and adored prince. Illustrated with more than forty rare photographs from the author's personal collection, here is Astaire in all his debonair glory—his life, his times, his movies, and, above all, his magical screen appearances and enduring friendship with the most beloved of all his dancing partners, Ginger Rogers.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars If You Like Fred Astaire
I enjoyed reading this book immensely.I've been a huge fan of Fred Astaire since my childhood years.His movies were on TV lots back then in the late 1950s and early 1960s.He even had his own TV show for a time.In later years, as my daughter grew up, I shared Astaire's movies with her and she became a big fan as well.It cemented our relationship for many years as I collected videos of all his movies and she checked them off a comprehensive list I had created for her.As a matter of fact, she just gave me this book for my 62nd birthday.I had no idea that Fred had written an autobiography.

So, what is great about this book?It is written by Fred himself, without a ghost writer. As you are reading it, you can easily envision Fred talking about himself.I've seen interviews of him on TV, and the book vividly emulates how he spoke in those interviews.His warm personality, humility, desire to stay out of the limelight, and tendency to say the best he can about everyone he encounters shines through the book.If you are looking for a book where celebrities are slammed, this isn't it; not even close.I did read the other reviews and noted that some complained that he gave no insight into his feelings about others and skimmed over unpleasant details.I felt more like the book mirrored his philosophy of life; sure, sometimes things don't go as you would have liked them to, but there is much to be thankful for and much to appreciate.I view his autobiography as a celebration of his experiences and the good things he has lived to enjoy.

He deals head on with Phyllis' death, Adele's children lost in childhood, his close relationship with his mother, sister, wife, and many others in his life.Let's look at how he closes the book for a glimpse of how he writes and of the man:

"When you come to the evolution of the dance, its history and philosophy, I know as much about that as I do a about how a television tube produces a picture -- which is absolutely nothing.I don't know how it all started and I don't want to know.I have no desire to prove anything by it.I have never used it as an outlet or as a means of expressing myself.

I just dance."

If you are much younger than me or have had no awareness of Fred Astaire, this book would most likely be a total bore for you.I can fully understand that reality.The book is more precisely targeted for people of my generation and older.But if you like his movies and appreciate his many talents, then I heartily recommend the book to you without hesitation.It is frustrating that it was written in 1959 and, by necessity, has nothing of the last 28 years of his life.But, it does contain a forward written by Ginger Rogers in 1980.Finally, as a special bonus for me, he dedicates the book to his cousin and to Omaha, Nebraska, my home for 28 of my 62 years and his home for the first four and a half years of his life.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great read
Fred seems to have lived a charmed life until you read some of the things he went thru.He was such a talent and never seemed to have any set backs in his career so it was great to read his own thoughts about how it really was.I wish that he had done a second book before he died to bring it up to date.

4-0 out of 5 stars Some flaws show up with the passage of time
It was less than a year ago that STEPS IN TIME was re-published after a long period of being out-of-print.Nobody should be deterred from reading this autobiography of Fred Astaire, if for no other reason that we get the goods from the star himself, written in good plain prose.

Having said that, there are some drawbacks to this book.(1) It was published in 1960 and has never been revised; this was just after Astaire had completed the second of two TV specials for NBC, with dancer Barrie Chase.That leaves almost three decades of Astaire's life undocumented, including his playing in movies and on TV in non-musical roles, his continual coming out of retirement, and his surprising marriage in late life to a horse-jockey-turned-pilot (Robin Astaire).

(2) In terms of his basic motivations or what made Fred tick, the reader will come away from this book almost completely baffled.One reason for this is that autobiographies from older stars (and recall that Fred was a vaudeville star of the Twenties) were not written in a confessional mode as they so often are today. As a result, the Fred Astaire who wrote this volume about his life comes very close to the "nice guy" Astaire of his musicals and other entertainments.

(3) For those expecting suspense or drama, a further reason that STEPS IN TIME comes off as bland and uninsightful is that Astaire's life really does seem to be remarkably free of trauma, except for the loss of his sister (and former dance partner) Adele during childbirth and the death of his wife Phyllis to cancer in 1954.Astaire admits to being anguished about his wife's painful and relatively sudden death, but as usual in STEPS IN TIME he puts himself rather quickly into rehearsals for DADDY LONG LEGS(Fox, 1955). However, a quick look at Peter J. Levinson's recent bio PUTTIN' ON THE RITZ reveals co-star Leslie Caron's memory of his crying into a towel during DADDY's production.

It appears that Astaire has committed a kind of sin of omission with regard to his emotions. And of course he perpetuated his generation's credo of "never complain, never explain" or what Astaire, ever the Anglophile, might have called a "stiff upper lip."Astaire does admit that he could be grumpy during rehearsals and that, to use today's language, he was a workaholic's workaholic.In STEPS IN TIME he writes frankly about his perfectionism, but (a nice guy to the end) deals with the long, long rehearsal time he insisted on for each role without sounding arrogant or condescending.

A useful alternative or companion volume to STEPS IN TIME is Peter J. Levinson's comprehensive PUTTIN' ON THE RITZ, recently published (Spring 2009).Not only do we get the full sweep of Fred Astaire's life, we get honest inquiry into Fred's emotional makeup, or about as much as Fred would allow.Or get the proof straight from the movies:the nine-DVD boxed set with all the Astaire-Rogers RKO musicals of the Thirties is a good place to start. For less money, Astaire's genius is also much on display in EASTER PARADE(1948) or THE BAND WAGON(1953), both out of MGM.These are only a beginning.

5-0 out of 5 stars Required Reading on Fred Astaire
Fred's way with words, his breezy light soaring style, reminds one of his dancing. This book is Fred-direct: the importance of his personal life, even over career, is paramount. As a read, it's a must for all interested a private man's life in filmed dance. It's completely enjoyable...if not particularly revealing about his art.

At the end of the book, Fred mildly mocks the idea of over intellectualizing dance. Other than "maintaining the basic principles of balance and grace", he even questions a commitment to a particular style. He ends his story simply: "I just dance.".

That's Fred...but all the intensity, work, and preparation, and in his case, worry, that went into the creation of some of the greatest dance of the century...is sublimated in this wonderful book. Fred hardly even notes all the sweat that went into his art. That's Fred too.

In the revealing introduction by the lovable, ever feisty, Ginger Rogers, he acknowledges her special, and highly reciprocal role in his career...and he in hers. And, in fact, as in her autobiography, neither of them were ever highly articulate about their art. Who cares?

Today we know them from their films...and their artistry will be available to all the generations ahead. In this, their eternal realm, they were, and are, highly articulate...to say the least. "Steps in Time" and "Ginger: My Story", just whet the appetite to see the films...and in their chosen milieu...which for both of them...and especially for the solo-Fred...in spite of their considerable acting talents, meant one word...PERFORMANCE.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fred Astair Bio Review
Good book by Fred Astair on his life and time. Nice insight to his view of the movie world of the 1930's. Good read with a book called "Ginger" by Ginger Rodger, giving her view of the same times. ... Read more

2. Fred Astaire (Icons of America)
by Joseph Epstein
Paperback: 224 Pages (2009-10-06)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$7.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0300158440
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Joseph Epstein’s Fred Astaire investigates the great dancer’s magical talent, taking up the story of his life, his personality, his work habits, his modest pretensions, and above all his accomplishments. Written with the wit and grace the subject deserves, Fred Astaire provides a remarkable portrait of this extraordinary artist and how he came to embody for Americans a fantasy of easy elegance and, paradoxically, of democratic aristocracy.


Tracing Astaire’s life from his birth in Omaha to his death in his late eighties in Hollywood, the book discusses his early days with his talented and outspoken sister Adele, his gifts as a singer (Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Jerome Kern all delighted in composing for Astaire), and his many movie dance partners, among them Cyd Charisse, Rita Hayworth, Eleanor Powell, and Betty Hutton. A key chapter of the book is devoted to Astaire’s somewhat unwilling partnership with Ginger Rogers, the woman with whom he danced most dazzlingly. What emerges from these pages is a fascinating view of an American era, seen through the accomplishments of Fred Astaire, an unassuming but uncompromising performer who transformed entertainment into art and gave America a new yet enduring standard for style.


(20081101) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars A brief, but charming book for anyone who has either dreamed of dancing like or with Fred Astaire.
Not a biography, but an exploration of what made Fred Astaire the American icon he is. Through an exploration of his sartorial style, his dance and singing technique, and the way in which he partnered each of his of his different female partners, Epstein makes an assessment of Astaire, the master of American dance. One chapter compares him to that other American master, Gene Kelly. A brief, but charming book for anyone who has either dreamed of dancing like or with Fred Astaire.

4-0 out of 5 stars Astaire was Indeed a Genius
I haven't read this book, but I've read many of the others on Fred Astaire, including his auto-bio, Tim Satchell's excellent bio "Astaire," Peter Levinson's "Puttin' on the Ritz" and John Mueller's final word on "Astaire Dancing." I have also seen most all of his films. Astaire is probably the greatest dancer ever. That seems to be the consensus from those who should know, including Balanchine, Robbins, Coward, et al. His elegance and creativity, in the words of Baryshnikov, are unmatched. The latter, in his ultimate AFI awards tribute, referred to FA as "doing something else, while the rest of us are dancing." In a class by himself.

Let me also comment about his singing--I know that better, perhaps, because I sing, too. He was a composer's singer, who in my view expressed a lyric as well as anyone who has sung the American standard--many of which were written for him. And that includes Sinatra in his prime, another great interpreter of the lyric. His timing and phrasing were flawless.

And about his acting: underrated by Hollywood standards, since most of his performances, including the early ones on stage, were in musicals and comedic. He was a master of light comedy, but showed later in "On the Beach" and other movies that he could also do serious roles well.Indeed, Gielgud once observed that he thought FA should play Hamlet.

Astaire was indeed a genius, and undoubtedly the greatest musical entertainer of the 20th century. Ah, the geniuses--they make it look so easy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed by gift recipient
I bought this book for my husband's birthday.He is a fan of Fred Astaire.He loved the book very much.

I am pleased that it was loved so much.Gifts are not always that easy to pick.This was great.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book! Entertained this Astaire fan...
This is a well-written, well-researched book. I have loved Mr. Astaire for 40 years (since the age of 8), and have a collection of 18 books on him (including this one). Knowing all that I know about this true superstar makes it a challenge for an author to keep me enthralled from start to finish. Mr. Epstein did just that... I couldn't wait till I could read the next few chapters (at bedtime). Mr. Epstein also taught me new things about my lifelong hero. In essence, this book is very much like Pete Hamill's superb "Why Sinatra Matters". My only criticism is that the chapter entitled Peculiar Looking is completely unnecessary. We all know that Mr. Astaire was not as "handsome" as Gary Cooper/Clark Gable/Cary Grant. We also know that none of those gentlemen could sing and dance like Fred. When Astaire takes flight he is peerless. Not only that, none other than Audrey Hepburn said she thought Fred was sexy because, "...nothing could be sexier than charm." Otherwise, this well worth reading and adding to your Astaire library.

1-0 out of 5 stars Where is it??
I STILL have not received this order and do not know why.

rick/ ... Read more

3. Fred Astaire: His Friends Talk
by Sarah Giles
 Hardcover: Pages (1990-07-24)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$109.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 051705521X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Everything you never knew you wanted to know about Fred!
This book is a little treasure trove of anecdotes from people who worked with or were friends of Fred Astaire.While those anecdotes are interesting and often insightful, for my money it's the photos that make this book a real keeper.The effortless grace and style that Astaire showed in moving pictures is captured in still photos.Fred Astaire was a man who, though he was not conventionally handsome, was appealing to millions and used what he had to make magic.He was effortless charm personified:a gentleman, a wit, and a remarkably snappy dresser too!And as we all know, he could dance like nobody's business.Gravity seemed to have little effect on Fred ... no special effects required!

Though he was brilliant at what he did, Astaire was self-effacing and modest almost to a fault, so a book like this is a nice way of learning more about him.Once you've read the book, you'll want to watch the movies (if you haven't already had that delicious experience).Start with Top Hat or Shall We Dance -- classic Fred and Ginger!Fred was also well paired with Rita Hayworth (in "You'll Never Get Rich"), and -- surprisingly -- simply marvelous with a much younger Audrey Hepburn (Funny Face), which has the added attraction of being set (mostly) in Paris.

Those old films are time capsules from an era when graciousness and gentle humor meant something -- and as the epitome of those things, as well as perhaps the most talented hoofer America has ever produced -- Fred Astaire has earned his place as a large and living footnote in American popular culture.This book is part of a well earned homage, and deserves a place on every Astaire fan's bookshelf!

5-0 out of 5 stars A towering figure in 20th century culture
Fred Astaire's richly deserved reputation as one of the world's greatest dancer is enhanced with this book, which does a superb job of moving beyond the dance and into his personal life, his professional relationships, his Anglophile tendencies and more.Did you know that the Gershwins and Irving Berlin composed more songs for Fred Astaire than for any other single person?These men latched onto the carefree, wholly American ease projected by Astaire and made him the vehicle for some of their most memorable classics.

The quotations Giles gleans from Astaire friends, colleagues and family do the trick of supplementing the very little we know of this very private man.Ginger Rogers tartly observes, "Well, I think when you work with somebody all day long, for ten movies, you become good friends, though he was as delighted not to see me at night over dinner as I was."Then here's Liza Minnelli asking Halston to dress her like "Fred Astaire in the daytime and a movie star at night."Cary Grant apparently felt that Astaire was the pinnacle of style--after watching "Broadway Melody of 1940," Grant desparately searched everywhere for a white tuxedo identical to the one worn by Astaire in this film.Even his podiatrist is quoted herein, noting wryly that Fred sometimes had trouble with his toes because he wore his shoes a half size too small so as to convey a neater impression.

The photographs, many of which were published here for the first time, include studio glossies of Astaire with his many famous co-stars, Astaire at home with his family and dogs, and a hilarious shot of Astaire skateboarding in the late 1970s.This examination of a one-of-a-kind talent is summed up most perfectly when Rudolf Nureyev says, "We were all dancing.Fred was doing something else entirely.""Fred Astaire: His Friends Talk" is a must for any movie lover or dance lover's library.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fred Astaire - His Friends Talk
This book is a wonderful addition to any true lover of Fred Astaire. The photographs of him, his family, his friends and his dancing are rare and a must for any real collector.Agree that the book does not give much on his life as far as a biography, but it is a great collectors item.I cherish my copy.

1-0 out of 5 stars A Disjointed Work
Sarah Giles has unfortunately done nothing to forward a deeper understanding of Fred Astaire - her text consists of individual names and quotes of a few sentences regarding the topic at hand.Very little was devoted to Fred Astaire's dancing, and I do not think it would be possible for one more person to mention his "perfectionism".The sole redeeming quality of this book is the exemplary collection of photographs taken of Astaire throughout his life and career.I think a interested reader would be better off pursuing a traditional Astaire biography than reading this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Having warn out my local library copy I'm buying my own!
Gilies has gone into huge depth with some very close friends and family of Astaire.I found the infomation from his previous dancing partners just supburb.. In case you can't tell I have to be up there with his no. onefan.. Michael Jackson! ... Read more

4. The Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers Book
by Arlene Croce
Paperback: 191 Pages (1987-09-01)
list price: US$12.95
Isbn: 0525483713
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (7)


5-0 out of 5 stars The Fred and Ginger Book
What a beautiful book! I truly enjoyed the insights of the author and it made watching the movies a much more in-depth experience. The partnership of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers was extraordinary and won't be seen again, and any fan wanting to know more should explore this book and Hannah Hyam's FABULOUS book, "Fred and Ginger." Their complete works together are also available on DVD.

Highly recommended, and a special thanks to the retailer for shipping so quickly.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must have book on the peerless Astaire and Rogers!
This retro-review is for,sadly,the now out of print 1987 paperback edition of "The Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers Book".This is a re-released edition by Obelisk Books in 1987 and pretty much looks like the original hardcover edition printed in 1972 throughout.
I was really shocked to see that this book had gone out of print,for it isTHE essential volume for any Fred Astaire fan,and especially those interested in his period with Ginger Rogers.
Like the original hardcover edition this one carries on with the "flip" pictures in the top right and left corners of the book.That is there are a series of incremental pictures that if one flips through at a causal speed,they can see Astaire and Rogers dancing in two different numbers.A nice little touch.
The best thing about this book though is how the author approaches her subject matter.She starts off the book giving us a short but well rounded look at both subjects and careers pre-teaming.Like the rest of the book you know here is a person who knows her subject matter inside and out and never writes DOWN to the reader.She writes more like a friend imparting details and essential background material on a subject you both love.
After the intro(about 18 pages) we come to the heart of the book,the film by film look at the ten benchmark motion pictures made starring Astaire and Rogers.
Each chapter is divided into four areas.First are the detailed production and acting credits.Second comes "The Film",thirdly "The Numbers" and lastly "Production".This is repeated for each chapter/film throughout the book and the details and knowledge she imparts are invaluable to any serious student of this dancing duo.Her prose are definitely not dry by any stretch and she keeps you riveted to the page throughout.
Here is an example from her chapter on "Roberta",where she is talking about one of the big numbers from the film,"Hard to Handle":
"The context for the number is an informal session on the dance floor of the Cafe' Russe,the audience for it consists of bartenders and cleaning women,and the beauty of it is that it really seems to be happening for the first time-it's like a moment of cinema verite' bursting through the surface of a polished commercial film.
We've all seen numbers in musicals that start in this supercasual way- and the "impromptu" walked-right-into number became a staple of the Astaire-Rogers repertory-but how many times,no matter how good the routine or how sophisticated our response,it happens that we feel a little stab in our childish hearts-"Oh,they've rehearsed".Sanity tells us that Astaire and Rogers have rehearsed;publicity statistics tell us how many back-breaking hours.But the difference between them and other performers is that,watching them,we aren't in possession of our sanity,we're happy children again,the story the numbers tell us is true.And the illusion of spontanteity makes the plot implication of the number credible;it cements the relationship of the screen characters they portray."
This is a typical sampling of Croces' prose and delivery but as you can see she talks with a deep and sure understanding of her subjects and imparts it to us in that wonderfully direct but non-condescending manner.Her understanding and feelings match very much our own which she translates beautifully to the page.No other book I have read on Astaire(and I have read ALOT!) matches Croce's style and understanding,attention to detail and all put in context to the times and the behind-the-scenes production details so essential in giving its' readers the fullest understanding possible of what went into creating the finished products.
This edition is about 191 pages long in total and has a plethora of pics to enhance your reading pleasure.The last approximately 10 pages are devoted to miscellaneous pics from the films and a full spread of director Mark Sandrichs' production notes from "Follow the Fleet".
For those interested in Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in an either casual fashion or from a more learned point of view,there isn't a volume before or since that will educate but entertain you at the same time,like "The Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers Book".
An essential must-have volume on this peerless pair!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Insights into the Dances
Croce's book focuses upon the dances within each film. Her understanding of the wide range of the Astaire-Rogers filmed dance legacy, and her knowledge of what it took to achieve such excellence in performance...makes this book one of the main literary sources on the great dance pair. Astaire-Pan-Rogers, and Borne were the team that created a choreographic wellspring, in 10 films, of highly elegant, vital, energetic, and graceful dancing....just laden with meaning and emotion. The likes of this pair, made in heaven, is not likely to be seen soon again. They were the best, the top of the top...and they knew it. Arlene Croce succeeds in this insightful and informational book in explaining why, through dance, and personality, and professionalism, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers continue to appeal to such a universal audience.

The only area where I would have some question are a few of her comments regarding the integration of the comedic Woodhosian scripts and the emotional weight and seriousness of the dancing. But, in fact, just the raising of the question gets one thinking more deeply about the highly challenging construction of the dance musical itself:

For example, I didn't agree with her sharp criticism of George Stevens...for not "having enough material" for Helen Broderick's laughter at the end of "Swing Time". In fact, Stevens spends the first twenty minutes of the film creating that material.....and the rest of the film has more turns in it than the Almalfi Drive, as Ginger changes her mind back and forth about Fred. The Broderick character, as Penny's best friend, sees this mercurial behavior in her young friend, at least SEVEN TIMES! And this is not enough material for Broderick NOT to believe that she'll change her mind again? No. Croce is not even being logical here...and she's weighing the absolutelybrilliant singing and dancing so highly, that she misses the well considered comedic plot...that really works on screen!

As in an ancient Greek drama, Stevens has created an effective ending(s)...a comedic catharsis. And what's better, and more effective, than the power of laughter to finally overcome the darkness in this great film, in arriving at its inevitable and bright conclusion?

And by the way, IMHO, she's also dead wrong about Steven's "Vivacious Lady", which hilariously and logically reaches its happy ending through tears!

Nonetheless, in no way, does my little criticism affect my regard for this book, and for Arlene Croce, indeed, for her intense and deeply grasped critique, is a real classic, and a first class piece of writing...with consistent, highly insightful, and sharp investigation of the great dances. It will always be a touchstone in the understanding of the truly wonderful Astaire/Rogers magic and timeless mythos. It was most helpful to me, and I recommend it highly.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best book published on this team
Actually published in the 1970's,
Arlene gives great insight into the
dances, the casting, script, and other details.
A wealth of useful information for both
dancers and Astaire-Rogers fans.
Far and away the best book on this great team. ... Read more

5. Dancing on Astaire: 2000 Biographical Quotations about the World's Greatest Dancer: Fred Astaire
by Colin M Jarman
Paperback: 216 Pages (2010-03-09)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$12.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 190733808X
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Editorial Review

Product Description
2000 Biographical Quotations by and about the world's greatest dancer.

Ask George Balanchine. Ask Mikhail Baryshnikov. Ask James Cagney. Ask Bob Fosse. Ask Rita Hayworth. Ask Michael Jackson. Ask Gene Kelly. Ask Rudolf Nureyev. Ask any man or woman in the street. Most, if not all, would agree that Fred Astaire (born 1899 in Omaha. Nebraska) was the greatest dancer the world has ever seen.

"He is a male butterfly without the wings - the same kind of grace of a very young horse, so angular."
Mikhail Baryshnikov

Name another dancer, from any era, whose dance career - on stage, film and TV - could sustain such a book as this. The astonishing fact is not that there are 2000 specially chosen quotations by and about Fred, but that so many of these quotributes come from peers and those performers that were inspired by him. That is the true test of the epithet greatest.

"Fred Astaire is the Carioca, the Continental, the very Piccolino of romance."
Frederick L. Collins in Liberty magazine (1936)

As well as tributes from the dance world as a whole, Fred has received glowing references from U.S. presidents, Prime Ministers, Knights of the Realm, Nobel prize winners, Pulitzer prize winners, Oscar winners, Tony winners, Grammy winners ... even Heisman trophy winners. Such is the breadth and depth of the highest regard that Fred Astaire is forever held.

"Fred was, in every sense of the word, a superstar. He was the ultimate dancer - the dancer who made it all look so easy."
Ronald Reagan (1987)

As the title suggests, the focus is on the dancing aspect of Fred Astaire. The emphasis of the 2000 quotations is on Fred's dancing rather than his singing or acting abilities or on his private life.

"You see, as far as the man's personality goes, there's no one who can touch Fred Astaire. He's unique."
Donald O'Connor

Dancing On Astaire follows Fred's early stage career - as a teenager - with sister Adele; runs through all his movie musicals with partners such as Ginger Rogers, Cyd Charisse and Ann Miller; finishing with his award-winning performances on TV (in his late 60s).

"I don't remember anybody ever pointing me out as a dancing prodigy, but I played a not bad second base."
Fred Astaire (c 1936)

"Youth is believing that someday you'll dance like Fred Astaire."
Jacqueline Friedrich ... Read more

6. Fred Astaire (A Pyramid illustrated history of the movies)
by Stephen Harvey
Paperback: 160 Pages (1978-05)
-- used & new: US$228.92
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0515038709
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7. Fred Astaire
by Bill Adler
 Hardcover: Pages (1987-11)
list price: US$11.95 -- used & new: US$19.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 5550384302
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8. Fred Astaire (Gondola)
by Benny Green
 Paperback: 176 Pages (1984-06-29)

Isbn: 0600347079
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9. Fred Astaire: A Wonderful Life
by Bill Adler
 Hardcover: 191 Pages (1987-10)
list price: US$2.98 -- used & new: US$27.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0881843768
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Biography
I found this book to be a very in depth look at the life of Fred Astaire. It's a must for any fan. However, after reading his autobiography, this book doesn't have the same amount of humour and charm. For a biography, it's great. ... Read more

10. Footwork: The Story of Fred and Adele Astaire
by Roxane Orgill
Hardcover: 48 Pages (2007-09-25)
list price: US$17.99 -- used & new: US$10.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0763621218
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Follow the footsteps of two persevering siblings who danced their way into a cherished place in the spotlight.

In 1905, four-and-a-half-year-old Fred Astaire put on his first pair of dancing shoes — and from that moment, his life was filled with singing, dancing, and fancy footwork. Fred’s older sister, Adele, was the real dancer, but Fred worked hard to get all the steps just right, and it wasn’t long before he was the one capturing headlines and stealing the show. In this fascinating story of child stars who hoof their way to knockout success on Broadway and beyond, Roxane Orgill and Stéphane Jorisch team up for a bravura performance, capturing the sophistication, fluidity, and grace of two of the biggest names in dance history. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity
Yes, this book tells the story of Fred and Adele Astaire in a way that kids understand, but it doesn't give a child any reason to care about them. It reads like a resumé -- "first they did this, then they did that, then they did the other thing."
The illustrations are nice out of context, but a ghastly choice for this particular subject. Perhaps the rubbery style was supposed to suggest the fluidity of dance, but it simply makes the dancers look formless and off balance, everything that the Astaires were not.

5-0 out of 5 stars The illustrations are upbeat without making light of the hard times of the Great Depression
Footwork: The Story of Fred and Adele Astaire is a children's picturebook biography of the early years of celebrated singer, dancer, and movie star Fred Astaire and his older sister Adele Astaire. When both siblings were young, they had to work hard learning to dance and perform for vaudeville theater; the money they brought in helped support their family, and in hard times dinner might be no more than a single egg split between the two of them. In their youth, Adele was recognized as the better performer when both were children; Fred labored to match her natural talent, and honed his creativity inventing new acts to perform. They grew up together, and when Adele chose to get married and retire from dancing, Fred faced a whole new challenge - he'd almost always performed with her before; now he had to face the stage by himself. He dared to venture to Hollywood, and so began his legendary film career. The illustrations are upbeat without making light of the hard times of the Great Depression, and the text of Footwork is just involved enough to be suitable for young readers who are almost ready to move on to chapter books. Highly recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars DANCING WITH A TRUE STAR

Both Balanchine and Nueyev called Fred Astaire the best dancer of the 20th century.Even today, some two decades after his death, he is well remembered when one of his 30 movie musicals is shown on television,and he is still considered to be one of the world's most debonair gentlemen, an icon of male fashion.We think of Fred and Ginger, as together with Ginger Rogers he made ten memorable films.But, how many remember that his first dancing partner was his sister, Adele?

She was the one considered to be a born dancer.So, in 1905 Adele (age 7), Fred (age 5) and their mother boarded a train for New York City so Adele could attend dancing school.Father remained in Omaha where he worked for a brewery.

Fred joined his sister in taking lessons and before long their instructor put them in a show, as a bride and groom who "tap-danced on top of a pair of wooden wedding cakes."At that time vaudeville was all the rage, and the talented youngsters soon won a spot on the vaudeville circuit. Mother, daughter and son began traveling from town, eventually returning to Omaha where they were enthusiastically received.At that time, Adele was the star of the act.

However, the time came when they were no longer children, not "adorable little kids," so they were reduced to playing on a small-time circuit.Times were tough as they shared the stage with trained seals.But they worked hard, perfected new acts and finally won the hearts of theater goers.They were offered a part in a Broadway show in 1917.Success followed success until in 1932 Adele announced her intention to marry and retire - they had danced together for almost 30 years.

Shortly thereafter Fred flew to Hollywood and the rest is cinema history.

Footwork is a charming biography of a persevering family, his talented sister, and the man many consider to have had the most influence on movie musicals.Who else danced on a wall?

- Gail Cooke
... Read more

11. Fred Astaire: A Bio-Bibliography (Bio-Bibliographies in the Performing Arts)
by Larry Billman
Hardcover: 424 Pages (1997-08-30)
list price: US$108.95 -- used & new: US$112.78
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0313290105
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
One of the most dynamic figures of the entertainment industry, Fred Astaire's career spanned most of the twentieth century. For some, he brings to mind the world of Broadway. For others, he represents the golden age of the movie musical. But virtually all of his fans will long remember his effortlessly graceful dance routines. International dance giants have credited his work with inspiring their careers and with giving them a model of excellence. This reference book is a complete guide to Astaire's legendary career. The volume includes a short biography, followed by chapters devoted to his work in stage, film, radio, and television. each of these chapters contains entries for specific performances, with entries providing plot synopses, cast and credits, critical commentary, and excerpts from reviews. An annotated bibliography concludes the volume. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars Regarding Photos
The format is easy to follow and it does contain some pieces of information that I haven't been able to find elsewhere.It appears that none of the people who gave reviews mentioned anything about the photos in this book.In all fairness to the buying public I think it should be mentioned that the photos are dark and some are so dark you can't make out facial features to know who is in the photo. If you are a strong Fred Astaire fan you will want this book but do not count on any of the photos when making your decision to purchase this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for the true Fred fanatic
This book is a treasure house of information, packed with tidbits and anecdotes that will have you reading for hours when you only meant to look up just that one bit of info. The author pulls it off with style in a readable format that makes fascinating going out of what could have been just a laundry list of dates. His passion for the subject, and joy in sharing it, shines through on every page. I was intially put off by the high price myself until I had a chance to look at a copy, and I realized that it was worth every penny, not to mention every minute of painstaking research that went into it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for the true Fred fanatic
This book is a treasure house of information, packed with tidbits and anecdotes that will have you reading for hours when you only meant to look up just that one bit of info. The author pulls it off with style in a readable format that makes fascinating going out of what could have been just a laundry list of dates. His passion for the subject, and joy in sharing it, shines through on every page. I was intially put off by the high price myself until I had a chance to look at a copy, and I realized that it was worth every penny, not to mention every minute of painstaking research that went into it.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best of All the Astaire Books
This book was recommended to me by Fred Astaire's daughter, who described it as "wonderful."I found it to be all of that and more.The author knew Mr. Astaire personally and made extensive use of the Astaires' papers (both Fred's and and his sister's) that are preserved at Boston University.The book covers the full gamut of Astaire's life and career, including vaudeville, stage, films, radio,recordings, and television.Insightful and meticulously researched, this is a "must have" for any admirer of the man who has been described as "the greatest musical perfomer in the history of motion pictures" and "the premier American dancer of the Twentieth Century."

5-0 out of 5 stars A must for Astaire fans!
Let me start off by saying that this book is for serious Astaire fans only. If you have seen only one movie of Fred's, enjoyed it and wish to know more about the man, I suggest "Steps In Time". However, if you've seen most of his movies, listened to his music, watched his tv shows, and still want to know more than this book is invaluable. Billman covers all aspects of Fred's work. Each chapter is devoted to a different facet of Fred's career: filmography, radio, television, discography, etc. While giving the facts, Billman also mentions interesting anecdotes about Astaire that give you a glimpse at his character. Its definitely not "clinical" by just saying "Fred did this movie this year with this costar and this director". He does give that information but also mentions any difficulties with dances, how certain things were done, any problems with costars. He also includes a short biography of Fred, short because chances are if you're reading the book in the first place you're already familiar with Fred's life. I've found myself using it several times to check dates, supporting actors, and as a sort of checklist for my Fred collection. I highly recommend it even if it is rather expensive. ... Read more

12. The Man, The Dancer: The Life of Fred Astaire
by Bob Thomas, Fred Astaire
 Hardcover: 340 Pages (1987-06)
list price: US$3.98 -- used & new: US$16.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312057830
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
In January, 1933, a young Broadway star named Fred Astaire entered the RKO studios for a screen test."Can't act. Slightly bald.Also dances," was the reaction of one official.Thus began the amazing film career of one of the world's most celebrated dancers.

Astaire: The Man, The Dancer captures the elegance and mystique of the most recognized and loved figures ever to dance across the silver screen.During nearly eighty years in every major entertainment medium, he has persevered and excelled.He never quit, never passed up an opportunity to push himself and to dance to new levels of achievement.The first complete, up-to-date biography - is a fitting tribute to the man and his art.

Foreward by Peter Bart, Editor-in-Chief, Variety. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book about a wonderful man
For any Fred fan out there, this book is a must. It begins with his career in Vaudeville with his sister Adele. It then chronicles his transition into Broadway and then movies (when his sister retires). There are interesting anecdotes about making the movies (including the one about the troubles with Ginger's feather-y dress in Top Hat). It then tells about Fred's "retirement", his love of horse racing, the death of his wife Phyllis, and meeting his second wife Robyn. This is a good book because throughout the book are Fred's thoughts on certain topics. However, since this is the large-print version, the wonderful pictures from the original version are not present. But, true fans will love reading about this classy gentleman.

4-0 out of 5 stars Astaire-The Man and the Dancer by Bob Thomas
The work contains details on Fred Astaire- his celebrated dancing
and many unique routines. He was suave, smooth and dapper. The
Astaire house overlooked the Beverly Hills hotel. Both Fred and
his wife Adele Astaire gave whirlwind dancing exhibits which contained toe dancing and other famous styles. Fred Astaire and
Ginger Rogers performed in films which were considered to be
RKO's most valued property. The volume is well worth the price
for enthusiasts of Fred Astaire and his famous dancing performances. ... Read more

13. Puttin' On the Ritz: Fred Astaire and the Fine Art of Panache, A Biography
by Peter Levinson
Hardcover: 496 Pages (2009-03-17)
list price: US$32.50 -- used & new: US$13.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312353669
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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Fred Astaire defined elegance on the dance floor. With white tie, tails and a succession of elegant partners - Ginger Rogers, Cyd Charisse, Rita Hayworth, Eleanor Powell, Judy Garland and others - he created an indelible image of the Anglo bon vivant. His origins, though, were far more humble:  Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Fred Astaire came from Midwestern stock that partially had its origin in the late nineteenth century Jewish communities of Austria.  At first, he played second fiddle in vaudeville to his sister, Adele; however, once he learned how to tap and bought his first Brooks Brothers suit, the game changed. How did he transform himself from a small town Nebraska boy into the most sophisticated man ever to dance across a dance floor?  In this comprehensive new book about the life and artistry of Fred Astaire, Peter Levinson looks carefully at the entirety of Astaire's career from vaudeville to Broadway to Hollywood to television.  He explores Astaire’s relationships with his vivacious dance partners, his friendship with songwriters like George Gershwin and Irving Berlin and his relationship with choreographers like Hermes Pan to discover how Astaire, in effect, created his elegant persona.  Astaire put his mark on the Hollywood musical, starting his career at RKO and then moving to MGM.  From his long list of films, certain classics like "Swing Time", "Top Hat", “Royal Wedding” and "The Bandwagon" revolutionized the presentation of dance on film; but, he also revolutionized the television variety special with the Emmy-Award-Winning “An Evening With Fred Astaire”.  For ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz”, veteran Hollywood insider, Peter Levinson interviewed over two hundred people who worked closely with Astaire such as Debbie Reynolds, Dick Van Dyke, Artie Shaw, Bobby Short, Oscar Peterson, Mel Ferrer, Betty Garrett, Joel Grey, Arlene Dahl, Michael Kidd, Betty Comden, Onna White, Margaret Whiting, Andy Williams, and others like Quincy Jones, John Travolta, and John Williams, to provide an intimate window on to his professional as well as his personal life. His new biography of Astaire is a celebration of the great era of sophistication on Broadway and in Hollywood as seen through the life of a man who learned how to put on the Ritz and become America’s premiere song-and-dance-man: Fred Astaire.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Overview ofLevinson's book and comments
An in depth study of Astaire's life and era. This book uses many of Astaire's
words from his autobio "Steps in Time"......and then fills in a lengthy objective review of his life and career. Mr. Levinson fills in many facts and comments by Astaire's peers and associates not included in Astaire's book. I was especially enlightened by Mr. Levinson's comments on Fred Astaire's jewish roots. For whatever reason Mr. Astaire had for not including that biographical fact in his bio remains a mystery to me. Everyone of us has had some "warts" in our life. Mr. Levinson, while not trying to "damage" Astaire's career, faithfully includes these facts in his book.
I, as a professional pianist, having worked with some of the best choreographers
and dancers in the business, have had much input from many of the people mentioned
in Levinson's book. I have also worked with Ginger Rogers and played many times
under Hal Borne of whom I heard countless stories of the Fred and Ginger years.
Truthfully, I adore Astaire and his fabulous career. What a talent! We'll never
see another one.
Ron Simone

2-0 out of 5 stars Could have been better
Generally, I liked this book. However there were a few factual errors in it (the book needed more fact checking or checking for typos).One was calling George Stevens the Director of Top Hat in one part of the book (the director was Mark Sandrich). Also, the correct name of the horse ridden by Astaire's second wife Robyn Smith was Exciting Devorcee (not Exciting Divorce). I was also disappointed in the rather limited space given to Fred Astaire's first wife Phyllis (less than a page was given to her illness and untimely death). I also hoped more background would have been given to Barrie Chase, his dance partner in the fifties and sixties.

The book explores all the films of Fred Astaire from Dancing Lady to latter works including Ghost Story. Described are plots from most of the movies and dancing styles of Fred Astaire and his various partners including sister Adele Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Rita Hayworth, Joan Leslie, Barrie Chase, Leslie Caron among others.

For serious Astaire fans, read Steps in Time his autobiography, The Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers Book, and Ginger Roger's own autobiography.

2-0 out of 5 stars Puttin' On...
If I wanted to read negative remarks and simple reprints of information existing in other publications, I couldn't miss with this book. I have read nearly every book about Fred Astaire and was hoping for a new slant or at least some interesting interview comments formerly unpublished. This book rehashes data and has a very strong tendency toward negative comments about Astaire, an undertone that suggests that Hermes Pan was as masterful as the master, and that Rogers was on a dancing par with him. If you want this information and reframe of an icon, you might as well read Rogers' autobiography.

5-0 out of 5 stars Puttin on the Ritz Fred Astaire
Very good book, just what I was looking for, lots of interesting stuff on Fred and family along with a birth to death look at his life, recommend it.Also bought from a vendor in Mass, service was first class, 5 star.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fred Lives On
I am an avid Astaire fan and, besides owning a library of movies and books on this revered man, I have read his autobiography "Steps in Time."I felt Fred downplayed many important aspects of his life and his great talent because of his sincere humility."Puttin' on the Ritz" is a much more detail-oriented and straight forward story of his life.While at times the chapters start to drag given the wordy and insignificant details of certain aspects of events, Fred Astaire's early life and rise to stardom along with his famous sister, Adele, is written with the intention of grabbing the interest of every reader who has ever had even the slightest desire to learn of the golden age of Hollywood musicals.This book will give every Fred fan a very deep satisfaction and understanding of this amazing dance icon and his 70+ years in vaudeville, movies, radio and television. ... Read more

14. Fred Astaire
by Michael Freedland
 Paperback: 192 Pages (1987-11-19)
-- used & new: US$50.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0863790410
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15. Astaire Dancing The Musical Films by John Mueller
by John Mueller
Hardcover: 440 Pages (1985-10-12)
list price: US$45.00 -- used & new: US$131.59
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0394516540
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Book for Astaire's Dancing Artistry
Mueller's book is uniquely about Fred Astaire's dancing movies.
All of them. One for each chapter. He covers almost every dance, and analyzes them in such detail as only a dancer, perhaps, can appreciate. I read this book a chapter a day, and watched almost all the movies. The book can be tedious in its detail, but his comments on the dances you've seen and the stories behind the scenes add to your understanding of the films and how they were made. He sees things you don't see in a first viewing of a film. Mueller's commentary can also be heard in several of the film DVDs as a special feature. He says less about Astaire's singing: he was a great interpreter of so many standards that were written for him. There was none better in expression of the lyric. Perhaps someone should write a book on his singing, which was a part of his great artistry.

5-0 out of 5 stars Astaire Dancing
Astaire Dancing is a wonderful tribute to the great Fred Astaire.The book profiles the grace and beauty that Astaire brought to film through his iconic choreography and various dance partners.A wonderful book with loads of pictures!

5-0 out of 5 stars THE source for astaire
i have many students that are researching astaire's film career.when i tell them to get this book, they stare blankly at me.i tell them it is THE seminal book about astaire.still, i get blank stares.

when i realized i have always borrowed it from the library, though, i felt like a bit of a hypocrite.and now that it is out of print, i feel like the stupid, cheapskate hypocrite for not having ever invested in it.

i can right that wrong now, thanks to amazon.com.

for someone who has never so much as done a time step or a pull back, mueller adroitly and adoringly supplies detailed movement anlaysis on astaire's great, hidden and even not too important numbers in each of his film musicals.he provides impartial perspectives on every partner astaire ever had from ginger rogers and cyd charisse to betty hutton and joan fontaine.

once again, it is one of maybe five books any dance enthusiast should own.

3-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
for astaire fans who already own a number of books on him, it becomes apparent that some writers are so pro- ginger rogers that no other astaire partner can compare. that does not help the astaire fan who loves ALL of fred's work-- over 30 musicals total.

mueller is one of these writers. he trashes every celebrated post-rogers partnership...rita hayworth, eleanor powell, cyd charisse. he thoroughly trashes both leslie caron's and audrey hepburn's dancing abilities. he likes joan leslie and jane powell because they are "similar" to ginger... he feels astaire's work with vera-ellen in "the belle of new york" is his "most creative" and very best work (astaire himself considered it a failure), but then he trashes fred & cyd's legendary'girl hunt ballet' from "the bandwagon".

in short, whatever most film historians/critics have lauded as important, pivotal partnerships & films in astaire's later career have been totally discounted by this writer... seemingly on purpose. and that's a shame because there are astaire fans out here that feel that while his work with ginger was great, his post-rogers musicals were just as incredible, entertaining, and important, and that astaire throughout his career was a master.

this ia a huge book that is well researched, but filled with the author's opinions throughout. i walked away from this book feeling mueller has no right to sit in judgement of fred's illustrious career and tell the reader what fred did right and what fred did wrong, i mean, who IS this guy anyway??

one must remember this book's opinions are not held by most critics, and take them with a grain of salt...unfortunately, the facts and mueller's opinion are all mixed in together... you will have to pick your way through them.

you should be able to read a book, savor the information, and make your own conclusions.

a far more entertaining, objective, and journalistic type of book would be "Starring Fred Astaire" by stanley green. this is the best astaire book i've ever read.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Astaire Book
Probably the best book on Fred Astaire's career, this has everything, including frame-by-frame analyses of each of his dances. Mueller is obviously a fan, and sometimes finds things to praise in films that areactually pretty dull ("The Sky's the Limit," "Belle of NewYork"). But unlike most movie books, this one is fully thought-out,beautifully written, and just about exhaustive. Even the footnotes andappendices make entertaining reading. ... Read more

16. Fred Astaire Style (Memoire)
by G. Bruce Boyer
Hardcover: 79 Pages (2005-04-15)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$16.11
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 2843236770
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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No other man has influenced American style more profoundly than Fred Astaire.

Replacing the stiff-suited, aristocratic uniform of the day with his looser, more democratic look of tweed sport jackets and easy cut flannels, Astaire became a new model for the Century. Nonchalance, natural charm and effortlessness would now replace the pomp and circumstance of men s style that preceded it.

Fred Astaire Style analyzes the dancer s legendary contribution to 20th century style. From such vivid accessories as the silk pocket square, white buck shoes and woven tie, to his light dance moves and improvisational style, this Memoir evokes this charismatic figure in a truly contemporary way. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars "He became a hero whose weapon was style"
This is a slender but essential volume on the mystique of Fred Astaire.This is a well-researched volume that taps into an important 19th and 20th century cultural current.As the author correctly points out, there had been an important change in thinking about men and their clothing.Astaire not only was crucial in popularizing in America many of the fashion changes brought about by the Duke of Windsor (attached collars, "Windsor" knots and long neckties, the new cut in men's jackets and pants), but pulled the look off better than just about anyone.If there were a "Best Dressed" for all 20th Century Men, Astaire would be near the very top.

Astaire's fashion sense was important not only in popularizing clothes, but in defining his image.As one chapter heading puts it, "He became a hero whose weapon was style."Other movie stars might outfight others, but he would win the woman by outdressing them.I very much liked the way the book linked Astaire's look with that of the 19th Century "Dandy" (I strongly recommend the book mentioned in the book's Bibliography by Ellen Moers, THE DANDY: BRUMMELL TO BEERBOHM, a book that casts a lot of insight into some essential novelists, like Huysmans and Marcel Proust).

This is not a long book, but for any serious fan of Fred Astaire trying to collect the essential books on his life and career, this is a must own.Sadly it is out of print, but luckily copies can be found used.I would rank this among the 8 or 9 best books on Astaire.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fred Astaire's Fashion Book
This book has a very limited scope. It's main essay aside from photos in only 17 pages long. It focuses upon Fred from the point of view of men's fashion. If you read the book with this in mind, you can gain an additional dimension upon this legendary star. It's a dimension that was important to Astaire, and says a lot about this man, who so influenced our modern sense of style, taste, and aesthetics.

Fred is highly associated with the upper crust of style...and clearly with top hat, white tie, and tails outfit....he fits the bill. But, if this is all you take away from Fred, you will leave a limited understanding, and won't understand the man at all. Fred's real life and cinema style was as revolutionary as it was original...and as influential on men's fashion, as his career was upon dance and film.

Fred was an eclectic...and mixed formal elements of dress with the emerging informal style of American culture.....American cool if you will. Early on, Fred was in contrast to the formal dress (and personas) of the European male ideal....in life and in film. First, Fred was not at all classically handsome, and second, he purposefully, and sometimes pointedly, chose to express the more democratic American ideal of the "classless aristocrat". This is the central thesis of this little book.

This is a very short book, and high on photography, but don't be fooled, it possesses a strong sense of Astaire's cultural contribution, from the limited point of view of fashion. Don't read it to expect a full narration of his career, his personal life, his dancing partners, or his contribution to cinema and dance. This is not the reading you would choose for these subjects.

But, even under this limited and focused scrutiny, it, in a way, adds even more about this man's contribution to American culture. This little book is an excellent essay that further enriches the understanding of a most extraordinary human being.

4-0 out of 5 stars Much more than top hat, white tie, and tails
Last night I had the chance to see the magnificent Andrea Marcovicci in her "Andrea Sings Astaire" show (she complimented my "haberdashery" *sigh*). It was a great reminder, if such were necessary, of the profound influence Fred Astaire had on American popular music. Similarly, "Fred Astaire Style" is an excellent reminder of the man's influence on the evolution of a distinctly American approach to male dress. In an age when it's a tough decision which is worse -- contemporary music or contemporary haberdashery -- G. Bruce Boyer has given us a handy guide to what it means for a man to be well put-together.

"Fred Astaire Style" begins with a brief essay tracing the subject's biography and career, with an emphasis, as you'd expect, on his distinctive approach to style. Boyer also places Astaire's dress sense within a larger historical context of America's rejection of European style cues, the influence of the Depression, and the rise of a casual approach to men's style ("the small-shouldered, soft-chested, international sartorial look that's worn today"). After this comes many pages of great photos of Astaire young and old, in a wide assortment of dress, sporting, and casual clothes. I would have preferred that the captions accompanied each photo, instead of being banished to a few pages at the back of the book, but that's not a major complaint.

More than that, I wished this book was longer. While Boyer has done an excellent job assembling photos and providing a general overview, I'd point the reader to, for example, several books by Alan Flusser that break down Fred Astaire's style in more detail. Nevertheless, this book is both a respectful look back and a useful guide today. Fred Astaire still has a lot to offer as a modern icon. Here's to more people paying attention.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very good fashion
Fred Astaire has a stlye of his own and the book covered his style very well.Enjoy the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Once again - superb
Mr. Boyer is a classic gentleman and in this one he writes about another.

If you have never read Mr. Boyer's works then you've missed out.Mr. Boyer's understanding of and love for classic menswear is evident and well researched.The prose is elegant and flows elegantly and as usual it is the stuff you'd expect from the man generally accepted as 'the man' in the realm of sartorial grace.

Mr Boyer has a unique way of sharing his love for the sartorial arts that makes you feel it - a rare literary ability.

I look forward to completing my collection of his work by getting this one signed along with his others.Whether you are a recent entrant to the business world or a gentleman who has appreciated the finer points of classic menswear and style for years this and all of Boyer's work is an absolute must read.

In every field there exists "The Authority".In the realm of classic men's style G. Bruce Boyer is that man.If you don't pick this up then may you spend eternity in polyester.

Well done Bruce, Thanks for shining a light on this timeless icon of style & grace as only you could! ... Read more

17. Fred Astaire
by Roy Pickard
Hardcover: 192 Pages (1985-09-11)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$30.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0517458047
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Astaire Book
Author Roy Picard has produced a compact (under 200 pages), extremely well written, and beautifully illustrated book on the life and legendary career of Mr. Astaire. Picard, a film journalist,is a fine author, and he writes a tight, fact-filled biography that covers Fred from his early years on stage with sister Adele, right through to his AFI tribute in 1981.

Along with the wonderfully written text, this (9x12 inch) book also holds the distinction of having the most beautiful photogaphs of any Astaire book i've seen - '120 black and white and 60 color illustrations' the book boasts - and indeed, from the front cover photo of a colorful Fred and Rita Hayworth to the wonderful 'Band Wagon' Fred and Cyd Charisse poster on the back cover, this book is chock-full of the best quality photos, richly reproduced, on just about every page. this is a perfect 'coffee table' book.

I highly prize and recommend this book.It ranks easily among my top 5 favorite Astaire books, along with 'Starring Fred Astaire' by Stanley Green & Burt Goldblatt; 'Fred Astaire' by Benny Green; 'Putting On The Ritz' by Peter Levinson; 'A Tribute To Fred Astaire' by Peter Carrick; and of course Astaire's own 'Steps In Time'. ... Read more

18. Astaire and Rogers
by Edward Gallafent
Hardcover: 256 Pages (2002-03-15)
list price: US$83.50 -- used & new: US$19.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0231126263
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers endure in the American imagination. The charm and grace of their dancing in the ten films they made together, including Top Hat and Swing Time, elicit nostalgia today. Most books about the Astaire-Rogers films focus exclusively on the music and dance scenes, but this book shows that the films are much more than the sum of those scenes, which after all only account for approximately one-third of their films´ running times. Gallafent argues that, contrary to received opinion, the musical numbers are not discrete, generic moments dropped in to enliven the films. Instead, the music and dance routines advance the movies´ themes.
Gallafent shows how dialogue, plotting, and the audience´s perception of this striking professional couple affect the context, and thus meaning, for the song and dance routines. The book examines how the Astaire-Rogers musicals, which were produced and originally viewed as a series, relate to one another and to other musicals of their day. Gallafent also provides an illuminating account of the films Astaire and Rogers made separately during the 1940s before their final reunion in The Barkleys of Broadway. Astaire and Rogers concludes by
tracing the development of their star personas both together and apart, and shows how the films were designed around those personas. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

1-0 out of 5 stars UNBELIEVABLY BAD...
I agree with Meriam -- this book is SO DRY, SO UNBELIEVABLY ANALYTICAL it's ridiculous.In fact, I would suggest that if anyone who has never seen an Astaire/Rogers film managed to get through this book, they would never WANT to see one.How anyone could write about Astaire and Rogers without expressing the sheer joy, fun, and overall entertainment value of their work is beyond me, but Gallafent has managed to do it big time.And verbose?The author uses 100 words to describe what could be said in 10.What a complete waste of print, paper, and time.

1-0 out of 5 stars Dead Astaire and Ginger
I adore Fred Astaire and his artful genius. Nobody does it better. Ginger is his best dance-partner, for certain. But this book is the dryest, most boring recitation of dead data that I have ever read. It is almost worthless, even for the most avid Astaire devotee. These two vibrant stars deserve better than this dismal book. And they get it; if you can find, "Astaire Dancing" by John Mueller, the ultimate Astaire/Rogers book, (pricey but spectacular) buy it. It is everything the Astaire/Rogers fan could possibly want.

2-0 out of 5 stars What a waste
As a huge Astaire/Rogers fan I found this book to be nothing more than a collection of over analyzed run-off with a few interesting tidbits thrown in. There's very little entertainment in the reading. One get's the impression this book was authored by Sigmund Freud. Different maybe, but yuck.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Look at Two Careers and Images
This book is more about the careers and images of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers from 1934-49 than it is a study of their movies together and their dancing.If you are a dance enthusiast and want to read a detailed account of their dances, this is NOT the book for you.

However, I am not a dance person, but I like classic Hollywood films, and I found this book interesting.It shows how the Fred&Ginger films share some concerns with screwball comedy, how World War II affected the images of both stars, and how stars age in the public eye.Gallafent isn't the most graceful of writers, and I got confused in his discussion of "Once Upon a Honeymoon," but I thought he did a good job connecting the Fred&Giner phenomenon to other developments and careers in classic Hollywood.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Unusual Premise
Gallafent reviews the films of Astaire and Rogers, both those they made separately and those they made together, from their first pairing through the late forties. Gallafent makes a plausible case for continuity and development from one musical to another. Even as you find his arguments logical and believable, you know Hollywood doesn't work that way. Few people expect or want anything more from an A & R movie than the unalloyed pleasure of the singing and dancing. Gallafent even manages to connect the films Rogers did without Astaire (of which there were many more than I had realized). In spite of his quirky premise, Gallafent is interesting and entertaining throughout, and the book is chock full of stills from the films. ... Read more

19. Starring Fred Astaire
by Stanley Green, Burt Goldblatt
 Hardcover: 501 Pages (1973)
-- used & new: US$39.75
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Asin: 0396068774
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

for any hardcore astaire fan this is THE BOOK TO HAVE. a huge picture book, filled with tons of great photos. astaire's career is laid out from the beginning, including his early stage work. there is a chapter devoted to each film, about a dozen pages each, giving the credits and running time, synopsis of film (with the appropriate photos),the backstory of the filming process, ancedotes on and quotes from his co-workers in each film,the critics' reviews of the time, and how successful each film was. the book is well researched and very well written. while stanley green obviously admires astaire, his writing is very objective and journalistic,with very little of his personal opinion mixed in. this is a perfect historical record of astaire's career...a great astaire book. ... Read more

20. The Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers Murder Case
by George Baxt
Hardcover: 200 Pages (1997-02)
list price: US$20.95 -- used & new: US$16.95
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Asin: 0312151292
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In 1953 Hollywood, dancing legends Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers prepare to dance with Russia's Baronovitch Ballet, but the two have trouble concentrating on the show while investigating a murder. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars Dance Until You Drop
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were a wonderful on-screen pair and everyone loved their simple charm.I think Baxt captures that charm in this little book.Like all of his celebrity mysteries, this is a satire, and I think it portrays the McCarthy hearings quite well.Life in Hollywood in 1953 was difficult and everyone looked at everyone else to try to figure our whether or not they were "commies".In this book we see Fred and Ginger smack in the middle of a Russian espionage scam.Ginger's therapist dies and Villon and Mallory know that he was poisoned.What's his background and history?They find out and its a world of double agents, family rivalries and Communist underworld.Of course Villon figures it out, but even he is surprised to find out who the "kingpin" is.

3-0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable, if Implausible, Read
I picked up this book because I have always loved Astaire and Rodgers.However, when I started reading, I was dissapointed.The plot seems a little farfetched.I think there were too many characters, and I kept wondering why everybody knew each other.Russia is a large country, but reading this book makes it seem like a small town.However, this book did manage to keep me interested in what happened at the end.I would read it for distraction because it is by no means great literature.

5-0 out of 5 stars odd, yet...
Like many of Baxt's novels, this one goes a little off-track with all the characters and spies, et cetera.However, that, in this humble reader's opinion, is part of the charm.These mysteries were obviously not writtenfor deep, critical analysis, but for simple enjoyment.All the characters,and there are many, are fleshed out, and if the plot lacks bits that areshoved in a bit too hurriedly at the end, well that's just part of thecharm.Another three cheers for George Baxt. And for Fred and Ginger. ... Read more

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