Fred Astaire

Without question the most accomplished dancer of our time smoothly moves to the Rhythm of Michael Jackson’s Criminal. Excellent! Rare! A Must Watch and Share!

Astaire was born in Omaha, Nebraska, the son of Johanna “Ann” (née Geilus) and Frederic “Fritz” Austerlitz (born September 8, 1868, as Friedrich Emanuel Austerlitz). Astaire’s mother was born in the United States, to Lutheran German immigrants from East Prussia and Alsace. Astaire’s father was born in Linz, Austria, to Jewish parents who had converted to Catholicism.

After arriving in New York City at age 24 on October 26, 1892, and being inspected at Ellis Island, Astaire’s father, hoping to find work in his brewing trade, moved to Omaha, Nebraska, and landed a job with the Storz Brewing Company. Astaire’s mother dreamed of escaping Omaha by virtue of her children’s talents, after Astaire’s sister, Adele Astaire, early on revealed herself to be an instinctive dancer and singer. She planned a “brother and sister act,” which was common in vaudeville at the time. Although Fred refused dance lessons at first, he easily mimicked his older sister’s steps and took up piano, accordion, and clarinet.

When their father suddenly lost his job, the family moved to New York  in 1905 to launch the show business career of the children, who began training at the Alviene Master School of the Theatre and Academy of Cultural Arts.

Fred and Adele’s mother suggested they change their name to “Astaire.” Family legend attributes the name to an uncle surnamed “L’Astaire.” They were taught dance, speaking, and singing in preparation for developing an act. Their first act was called Juvenile Artists Presenting an Electric Musical Toe-Dancing Novelty. Fred wore a top hat and tails in the first half and a lobster outfit in the second. In an interview, Astaire’s daughter, Ava Astaire McKenzie, observed that they often put Fred in a top hat to make him look taller. The act debuted in Keyport, New Jersey, in a “tryout theater.” The local paper wrote, “the Astaires are the greatest child act in vaudeville.”

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Fred Astaire – So Smooth It’s Criminal!