Ginger Rogers (July 16, 1911 â€“ April 25, 1995) was an Academy Award-winning American film and stage actress and singer. In a film career spanning fifty years she made a total of seventy-three films, and is now principally celebrated for her role as Fred Astaire's romantic interest and dancing partner in a series of ten Hollywood musical films that revolutionized the genre.
She was born in Independence, Missouri, the daughter of Eddins McMath, of Scottish ancestry and Lela Owens McMath, of Welsh ancestry. Her mother separated from Rogers' father soon after her birth, and mother and daughter went to live with the Walter Owens family in nearby Kansas City.
Her parents divorced and fought for custody, with her father even kidnapping her twice. After they divorced, Rogers stayed with her grandparents, Walter and Saphrona Owens, while her mother wrote scripts for two years in Hollywood. Several of Rogers' cousins had a hard time pronouncing her first name Virginia, shortening it to "Ginya".
Created by dipity on Feb 7, 2008
Last updated: 03/11/10 at 04:45 PM
Ginger Rogers died
The First Traveling Saleslady was a commercially unsuccessful 1956 movie starring Ginger Rogers, Carol Channing, James Arness, and a young Clint Eastwood (as Channing's beau, no less, whose height she equals when wearing heels) which was, Channing claimed, among the films that helped to close RKO Pictures....
The Barkleys of Broadway is a 1949 MGM musical film that reunited Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers after ten years apart. Directed by Charles Walters and produced by Arthur Freed, the film was scripted by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and Sidney Sheldon, the musical score was by Harry Warren, Ira Gershwin and George Gershwin, the choreography by Robert Alton and Hermes Pan. Also in the cast were Oscar Levant, Billie Burke, Gale Robbins, Jacques FranĂ§ois and George Zucco. Rogers came in as a last minute replacement for Judy Garland, whose frequent absences due to a dependency on prescription medication cost her the role. This was to be the last film that Astaire and Rogers made together and their only film which was photographed in color.
Many critics at the time remarked upon Rogers changed figure, noting that the elphine girl of the 30's had made way for a sturdy, athletic woman.
Musical selections include the George and Ira Gershwin number They Can't Take That Away from Me, My One and...,
I'll Be Seeing You is a 1944 drama film made by Selznick International Pictures, Dore Schary Productions and Vanguard Pictures and distributed by United Artists. It was directed by William Dieterle and produced by Dore Schary with David O. Selznick as executive producer. The screenplay was by Marion Parsonnet, based on a play by Charles Martin. The music score was by Daniele Amfitheatrof, the cinematography by Tony Gaudio and the costume design by Edith Head.The film stars Joseph Cotten, Ginger Rogers and Shirley Temple, with Spring Byington, Tom Tully and John Derek.Social outcasts Mary Marshall and Sgt. Zachary Morgan meet while seated across from each other on a train bound for Pine Hill. Zach, a victim of shell shock and therefore a prisoner of his own mind, has just been granted a ten-day leave from a military hospital to try to readjust to daily life, while Mary has just been given a special eight-day furlough from prison so that she can spend the Christmas holiday with her aunt...,
The Major and the Minor is a 1942 film. It is a romantic comedy that represented Billy Wilder's feature debut as film director in Hollywood.
It was remade by Martin and Lewis as You're Never Too Young in 1955.
Tales of Manhattan is a 1942 black-and-white anthology film directed by Julien Duvivier. Thirteen writers, including Ben Hecht, Alan Campbell, Ferenc MolnĂˇr, Samuel Hoffenstein, and Donald Ogden Stewart worked on the six stories in this film.The stories follow a black formal tailcoat that appears to be cursed. The first story is a love triangle between Charles Boyer, Thomas Mitchell, and Rita Hayworth. Boyer plays an actor who gives his finest performance when he's shot while wearing the jacket.The second tale is a comic story featuring Ginger Rogers who finds a romantic love letter in her future husband's jacket (the cursed jacket). The jacket was sold to him at a discount. Her boyfriend (Cesar Romero) enlists his best man (Henry Fonda) to help bail him out. Things don't go as suspected when Rogers becomes attracted to Fonda.The third tale stars Charles Laughton. He plays a poor but brilliant musician whose one big chance at fame and recognition is in jeopardy because of his wearing...,
The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle is an American biographical musical comedy, released in 1939 and directed by H.C. Potter. The film stars Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edna May Oliver, and Walter Brennan.The movie is based on the stories My Husband and My Memories of Vernon Castle, by Irene Castle. The movie was adapted by Oscar Hammerstein II, Dorothy Yost and Richard Sherman.Irene Castle acted as advisor to this film, and constantly disagreed with the director as to details of costuming and liberties taken. When informed that white actor Walter Brennan was to play the part of faithful servant Walter, she was dumbfounded: the real Walter was Black.The film tells of novice dancer Irene Foote (Ginger Rogers) who convinces vaudeville comic Vernon Castle (Fred Astaire) to give up slapstick comedy in favor of sophisticated ballroom dancing.Their big break comes when they are stranded in Paris, along with their friend Walter Ashe (Walter Brennan), with no money. They catch the eye of...,
Bachelor Mother is a 1939 American comedy film directed by Garson Kanin, and starring Ginger Rogers (in a non-dancing, non-singing role), David Niven, and Charles Coburn. The screenplay was written by Norman Krasna based on a story by Felix Jackson (aka Felix Joachimson). With a plot full of mistaken identities, Bachelor Mother is a light-hearted treatment of the otherwise serious issues of child abandonment and poverty. Seen from an early-21st century point of view, it is also a reminder of the change in social mores which took place in the second-half of the 20th century.
During her lunch break, Polly Parrish (Rogers), an attractive and sympathetic salesgirl at Merlin's Department Store in New York who has just been told that she is going to be dismissed, witnesses a stranger leaving her newborn baby on the steps of an orphanage. Unable to follow her in the busy street crowded with Christmas shoppers, she rings the bell of the orphanage and wants to put the boy in their care. But...,
Carefree is a 1938 film starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. It is the shortest of the films that they made together, featuring only four musical numbers. The film is also a reunion for the pair, after a brief hiatus following Shall We Dance.
It was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Art Direction (Van Nest Polglase), Best Musical Scoring (Victor Baravalle) and Best Song "Change Partners", written by Irving Berlin.
Vivacious Lady is a 1938U.S.black-and-white romantic comedy film made by RKO Radio Pictures. It was produced and directed by George Stevens from a screenplay written by P.J. Wolfson and Ernest Pagano and taken from a short story by I. A. R. Wylie. The music score was by Roy Webb and the cinematography by Robert De Grasse.
The film stars James Stewart and Ginger Rogers with Frances Mercer, Beulah Bondi, Franklin Pangborn and Charles Coburn. Also featured is an uncredited appearance by Hattie McDaniel.
Peter Morgan, (James Stewart) is a young botany professor living in Old Sharon, New York and teaching at a college run by his conservative and overbearing father (Charles Coburn). When Peter is sent to Manhattan to retrieve his wayward cousin, Keith (James Ellison), he unwittingly falls in love with exuberant nightclub singer Francey (Ginger Rogers). After a one-day, whirlwind courtship, the two are married, but are unable to consummate the union on the train ride back to Old Sharon. (A...
Stage Door is a 1937 RKO film, adapted from the play by the same name, that tells the story of several would-be actresses who live together in a single boarding house. The film stars Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Adolphe Menjou, Lucille Ball, Huntley Gordon, Eve Arden, Ann Miller, Constance Collier, Gail Patrick and Andrea Leeds.The film was adapted by Morrie Ryskind and Anthony Veiller from the play by Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman, but the play's storyline and the characters' names were almost completely changed for the movie. The writers listened to the young actresses talking off set during rehearsals and incorporated their style of talking into the film. The film was directed by Gregory LaCava.Stage Door was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture and Leeds was nominated as Best Supporting Actress.Hepburn plays Terry Randall, a young debutante who wants to be an actress. She moves into The Footlights Club, a theatrical rooming house, while trying to make it and...,
Shall We Dance is the seventh in the sequence of ten Astaire-Rogers musical comedy films. The idea for this film originated in the studio's desire to exploit the successful formula created by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart with their 1936 Broadway hit On Your Toes, which featured an American dancer getting involved with a touring Russian ballet company, and which featured the famous "Slaughter On Tenth Avenue" satirical ballet created by the Russian emigre choreographer George Balanchine. In a major coup for RKO, Pan Berman managed to attract the Gershwins (George Gershwin wrote the score and Ira Gershwin the lyrics) to score this, their first Hollywood musical.Astaire was not enthused by the proposal to blend ballet with popular dance, and it shows. Neither, it appears, was George Gershwinâ€”who had become famous for blending jazz with classical formsâ€”as he makes no reference to this concept in any of the songs. While the filmâ€”the couple's most expensive to dateâ€”benefits from quality...,
Swing Time (RKO) is a 1936 Hollywood musical comedy film set mainly in New York and stars Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Helen Broderick, Victor Moore, Eric Blore and Georges Metaxa, with music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Dorothy Fields. The film was directed by George Stevens.
Swing Time is considered by Croce,Mueller and Hyam to be Astaire and Rogers' best dance musical, featuring four dance routines that are each regarded as masterpieces of their kind. "Never Gonna Dance" is often singled out as the partnership's and collaborator Hermes Pan's most profound achievement in filmed dance, while "The Way You Look Tonight" won the Academy Award for Best Song and went on to become Astaire's most successful hit record, scoring first place in the U.S. charts in 1936. Kern's score, the second of three he composed specially for Astaire, contains three of his most memorable songs.But while it is considered to be one of Astaire and Rogers' greatest films, the film's plot has been criticized as...,
Follow the Fleet (RKO) is a 1936 Hollywood musical comedy film with a nautical theme and stars Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Randolph Scott, Harriet Nelson (credited under her real last name: Hilliard), and Betty Grable, with music and lyrics by Irving Berlin. Lucille Ball also appears, in a bit part. The film was directed by Mark Sandrich with script by Allan Scott and Dwight Taylor based on the 1922 play Shore Leave by Hubert Osborne.
Dance commentators Arlene Croce and John Mueller point out that, aside from the obvious weakness : a discursive and overlong plot lacking quality specialist comedians to bring its whimsical elements to life - a flaw which also characterised Roberta - this film contains some of the Astaire-Rogers partnership's most prized duets, not least the iconic "Let's Face the Music and Dance." According to Croce: "One reason the numbers in Follow the Fleet are as great as they are is that Rogers had improved remarkably as a dancer. Under Astaire's coaching she...
Top Hat is a 1935 screwball musical comedy in which Fred Astaire plays an American dancer named Jerry Travers, who comes to London to star in a show produced by Horace Hardwick (Edward Everett Horton). He meets and attempts to impress Dale Tremont (Ginger Rogers) to win her affection. The film also features Eric Blore as Hardwick's valet Bates, Erik Rhodes as Alberto Beddini, a fashion designer and rival for Dale's affections, and Helen Broderick as Hardwick's long-suffering wife Madge.
The film was written by Allan Scott, and Dwight Taylor. It was directed by Mark Sandrich. The songs were written by Irving Berlin. "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails" and "Cheek to Cheek" have become American song classics.
It has been nostalgically referenced — particularly its "Cheek to Cheek" segment — in many films, including The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) and The Green Mile (1999).
Top Hat was the most successful picture of Astaire and Rogers' partnership (and Astaire's second most...,
Roberta was a 1933 Broadway musical, with music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Otto Harbach, which starred Tamara Drasin (billed as Tamara), Bob Hope, George Murphy, Lyda Roberti, Fred MacMurray, Fay Templeton, Ray Middleton (billed as Raymond E. Middleton), and Sydney Greenstreet. Hope, Murphy, MacMurray and Greenstreet were not yet the Hollywood stars they would soon be, and Middleton was not the Broadway leading man he would become after Annie Get Your Gun. The musical was based on the novel Gowns by Roberta by Alice Duer Miller. The play notably features the famed songs "Yesterdays", "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", "You're Devastating", and "The Touch of Your Hand".The play was made into a film in 1935 by RKO starring Irene Dunne, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, and Randolph Scott. The film omitted "The Touch of Your Hand" (sung by a minor character), and "You're Devastating" (originally Middleton's big song in the show), but added the Kern songs "I Won't Dance" and "Lovely to Look At",...,
Romance in Manhattan is a 1935 American comedy/romance film directed by Stephen Roberts, starring Francis Lederer and Ginger Rogers.Karel Novak (Lederer), an incredibly naĂŻve Czech immigrant, arrives in New York with $58; but now he must have $200 or be sent back. Novak escapes from the ship and is rescued by dock workers; but he lost his money. He wanders the streets in awe and eats food left by chorus girls. Sylvia Dennis (Rogers) questions him. He refuses money but wants a job. Two women suggest an institution for Sylvia's brother Frank (Jimmy Butler), because he missed two days of school. Sylvia says no. Sylvia gives Karel blankets to sleep on the roof, and she explains about the Depression. Frank shares his job selling newspapers with Karel and takes over after school. Karel does not admit he was fished out of the river and so does not get his $58 back. He asks the police officer Murphy (J. Farrell MacDonald) if someone could get in trouble for helping someone if they didn't know...
The Gay Divorcee is a 1934 film that was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. It was based on the musical play Gay Divorce written by Dwight Taylor, Kenneth S. Webb, Samuel Hoffenstein, with screenplay by George Marion Jr., Dorothy Yost and Edward Kaufman, from an unproduced play by J. Hartley Manners. The Hays Office insisted on the name change, believing that while a divorcee could be gay or lighthearted, it would be unseemly to allow a divorce to appear so. The movie was directed by Mark Sandrich.
The movie is a romantic musical with a slim plot. It included the popular dance team of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and also starred Alice Brady, Edward Everett Horton, Eric Blore and Erik Rhodes.
The stage version included many songs by Cole Porter, most of which were excised from the film, "Night and Day" being a notable exception.
The plot sees Mimi Glossop (Rogers) arrive in England to seek a divorce from her geologist husband, whom she hasn't seen for several...,
Gold Diggers of 1933 is an American musical film directed by Mervyn LeRoy with choreography by Busby Berkeley. It stars Ruby Keeler, Ginger Rogers, Joan Blondell, Aline MacMahon and Dick Powell. The story is based on the very successful Technicolor musical comedy Gold Diggers of Broadway, which had been the biggest box office hit of 1929.
The central characters are four aspiring actresses: Polly the ingenue (Keeler), Carol the torch singer (Blondell), Trixie the comedienne (MacMahon) and Fay the glamourpuss (Rogers). The film was made in 1933 at the nadir of the Great Depression and contains numerous direct references to it.
The film begins with a rehearsal for a stage show featuring the song "We're in the Money" (sung by Rogers), which is subsequently broken up by the producer's creditors who close down the theatre due to unpaid bills.
At the unglamorous apartment shared by three of the four starlets (Polly, Carol, and Trixie), the producer, Barney Hopkins (Ned Sparks), is in...,
42nd Street is a 1933 musical film, set on the famous Manhattan street of that name, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. The script was written by Rian James and James Seymour, from the novel by Bradford Ropes. The film was directed by Lloyd Bacon with choreography by Busby Berkeley. The songs were written by Harry Warren with lyrics by Al Dubin.The film is a fast-paced, backstage movie musical, one that changed the film musical forever and was so financially successful that it saved Warner Bros. Studios from bankruptcy. Many decades later, in 1980, it was made into a hit stage musical of the same name.The film has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.In 2006 this film ranked #13 on the American Film Institute's list of best musicals.The film is a musical with a large cast, including Warner Baxter, Bebe Daniels, George Brent, Ruby Keeler, Guy Kibbee, Una Merkel, Ginger Rogers, Ned Sparks and Dick Powell, among others....,
Flying Down to Rio is a musical film made by RKO and released on December 29, in 1933. The film was directed by Thornton Freeland and produced by Merian C. Cooper and Lou Brock. The screenplay was by Erwin S. Gelsey, H.W. Hanemann and Cyril Hume, based on a story by Lou Brock and a play by Anne Caldwell. The music was by Max Steiner. It starred Dolores del Rio and Gene Raymond, but is remembered today primarily for the teaming of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, in relatively minor roles, who would go on to star in nine more films together. Their first dance together on film, "The Carioca", appears in this film. The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Song (Vincent Youmans, Edward Eliscu, Gus Kahn) for "La Carioca". Astaire plays Fred Ayres, an accordion player and deputy leader of an orchestra led by successful songwriter Roger Bond (Raymond). Rogers plays Honey Hale, the singer with the orchestra. Whilst playing in a nightclub in Florida, the orchestra is fired when...,
Queen High is the title of an early musical-comedy produced by Paramount Pictures in 1930.
Based upon a stage musical by Buddy DeSylva, Lewis Gensler, and Laurence Schwab, the storyline loosely concerns a rivalry between two businessmen that results in a game of poker. Whoever loses the game becomes the winner's servant for a year.
The film stars Charlie Ruggles, Frank Morgan, and Ginger Rogers in an early film appearance.
Making her very first film appearance in an uncredited bit part is famed tap dancer Eleanor Powell, whose career in musicals wouldn't take off for another five years. Powell was appearing on Broadway in a show entitled Follow Thru at the time, and a segment of the show was filmed for the movie.
Ginger Rogers was born