Ginger Rogers, Talent and Beauty


ginger rogers
Ginger Rogers


When Ginger Rogers first danced onscreen with Fred Astaire in 'Flying Down to Rio' in 1933, she was already an experienced movie performer, and even when their legendary partnership ended she continued to have her own extremely successful solo Hollywood career as a dramatic actress, including a Best Actress Academy Award for 'Kitty Foyle' in 1940.

Her partnership with Astaire was so extraordinarily good, so near to the ultimate in dancing perfection, that Ginger is in a sense condemned to have her own solo career forever overshadowed by her Astaire years.

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Ginger Rogers was a very talented individual in fields other than acting and dancing. She was a natural athlete and played high standard golf and tennis. She was also a highly skilled artist and showed a great aptitude for painting and sculpting.

Biography

Ginger Rogers was born as Virginia Katherine McMath in Independence, Missouri in July, 1911. She was called 'Ginja', a short form of Virginia, as a little girl, and the name stuck with her as 'Ginger'. The family moved to Texas when she was very small but her parents went through a bitter divorce soon after and Ginger saw her father only rarely thereafter. He died when she was eleven years old.

Her mother was a screenwriter and was always very ambitious for her daughter. She left Ginger in the care of her own parents in Kansas City whilst she moved to Hollywood which was rapidly becoming the new venue for movie making and Ginger joined her in 1917. Ginger had already appeared in some commercial movies in kansas City and she was already in love with the theater and show business. When she was nine her mother married John Logan Rogers and Ginger took his surname, although she was never legally adopted.

The family later moved to Fort Worth, Texas, where Ginger went to High School and where she first began appearing in plays and musical revues. she was a naturally talented dancerand at age 14 she won the Texas State Charleston Championship. It was her first big break and the following year she began working the professional vaudeville circuit, as the front person for an act called 'Ginger and the Redheads'. She gained important experience and knowledge and in 1928, after her marriage to Jack Culpepper, the act was renamed 'Ginger and Pepper'.

She was as much a singer as a dancer at this time and she began fronting the Paul Ashe Orchestra in New York. Within a short time she appeared in her first musical on Broadway, 'Top Speed'. She received good reviews and attracted the attention of Paramount Pictures who in 1930, put her in 'Young Man of Manhattan', playing a flapper whose line, "Cigarette me, big boy," became a classic phrase in the language. By now she had star status and her first starring role on Broadway was in 'Girl Crazy' with Ethel Merman. She had two hit songs in the show and both have since become standards: 'Embraceable You' and 'But Not For Me'.

She signed a contract with Paramount and for the next year she divided her time beween two successful careers - movie actress by day and Broadway theater star by night. When the Broadway run ended she continued to appear, invariably as the sassy, coquettish blonde, in a string of pictures such as 'The Sap from Syracuse', 'Follow the Leader', both in 1930, 'Honor Among Lovers' in 1931, 'The Tenderfoot', and 'Hat Check Girl' in 1932. She started to make her mark with '42nd Street' in 1933 playing the wise-mouth chorus girl, Anytime Annie. Also in 1933 she appeared in 'Gold Diggers of 1933', the movie which really made her name, and in which she sang 'We're in the Money' and 'Sitting Pretty'.

In all Ginger made 19 films for Paramount, before signing up for RKO studios. Her first film for them was 'Flying Down to Rio' in 1933, and it teamed her up with an established Broadway star named Fred Astaire.

Astaire was a driven perfectionist well known on Broadway for his fierce rehearsals, repeating moves over and over again. He was to say later in his career, that of all his partners, the only one who never once cried during rehearsals was Ginger. She was a very sure, fast and athletic dancer and she complemented the slim, artistic Astaire perfectly. They stole the movie from the star, Dolores del Rio, and the public clamoured for more. Ginger's life was now changed and her name would henceforth always be linked with that of Astaire. As a partnership they danced sublimely and they went on to make a total of nine movies together including such classics as 'Gay Divorcee' (1934), 'Top Hat' (1935), 'Follow the Fleet' (1936), 'Swing Time' (1936), and 'Shall We Dance' (1937).

Ginger made sure that her solo career continued during this period and for the next ten years she worked extremely hard making films in addition to those she made with Astaire. Many were quality light comedies such as 'Stage Door' in 1937 with Lucille Ball and Katharine Hepburn, and 'Vivacious Lady' in 1938. The following year she was in 'Bachelor Mother' and 'Fifth Avenue Girl' and in 1940 she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of a confused working-class girl in love with a wealthy man, in 'Kitty Foyle'. She followed this success the following year with 'Tom, Dick and Harry'. She was enjoying a purple patch and she continued with 'Roxie Hart', 'The Major and the Minor', and 'Once Upon a Honeymoon' in 1942, 'Tender Comrade' in 1943, and 'Lady in the Dark' and 'I'll Be Seeing You' in 1944. In 1942 she was the highest paid star in Hollywood. Ginger was on a roll.

After WWII her popularity faded and her movies lacked the vigour and distiction associated with Ginger. 'Weekend at the Waldorf' in 1945, 'Magnificent Doll' in 1946, and 'It Had to Be You' the following year were all disappointing and even her reunion with Astaire in 1949's 'The Barkleys of Broadway' lacked their pre-war magic. The decline continued with a series of unsuitably dramatic movies in the 1950's, such as 'Perfect Strangers', and 'Storm Warning' in 1950, 'Dreamboat' in 1952, 'Forever Female' in 1953, and 'Black Widow' in 1954. Her Hollywood career ended with 1957's farcical 'Oh, Men! Oh, Women!', and her movie output slowed to a halt. In 1965 she made 'Quick, Lets Get Married' and , her final movie, 'Harlow' and in the same year she appeared on Broadway in a successful run of 'Hello! Dolly'.

Ginger was married five times:

1929-31 Jack Edward Culpepper
1934-41 Lew Ayres
1943-49 Jack Briggs
1953-57 Jacques Bergerac
1961-71 William Marshall.

Ginger Rogers died from heart failure in 1995 in California, at the age of 83. Her ashes are interred at Oakwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Chatsworth, California.


Ginger Rogers Academy Awards

One Win:
Best Actress ... Kitty Foyle (1940)
No Unsuccessful Nominations:


Ginger Rogers Filmography

1925
1926
1927
1928
1929
A Day of a Man of Affairs
1930
A Night in a Dormitory
Campus Sweethearts
Young Man of Manhattan
The Sap from Syracuse
Queen High
Office Blues
Follow the Leader
1931
Honor Among Lovers
Looking for Trouble
Suicide Fleet
1932
Carnival Boat
The Tenderfoot
Lady Beware
Embassy Girl
You Said a Mouthful
1933
Her Reputation
42nd Street
Gold Diggers of 1933
Professional Sweetheart
Don't Bet on Love
A Shriek in the Night
Rafter Romance
Chance at Heaven
Sitting Pretty
Flying Down to Rio
1934
Twenty Million Sweethearts
Upperworld
Finishing School
Change of Heart
The Gay Divorce
1935
Romance in Manhattan
Roberta
Star of Midnight
Top Hat
In Person
1936
Follow the Fleet
Swing Time
1937
Shall We Dance
Stage Door
1938
Vivacious Lady
Having Wonderful Time
Carefree
1939
The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle
Bachelor Mother
5th Ave Girl
1940
Primrose Path
Lucky Partners
Kitty Foyle
1941
Tom Dick and Harry
1942
Roxie Hart
Tales of Manhattan
The Major and the Minor
Once Upon a Honeymoon
1943
Tender Comrade
1944
Lady in the Dark
I'll Be Seeing You
1945
Week-End at the Waldorf
1946
Heartbeat
Magnificent Doll
1947
It Had to Be You
1948
1949
The Barkleys of Broadway
1950
Perfect Strangers
1951
Storm Warning
The Groom Wore Spurs
1952
We're Not Married!
Dreamboat
Monkey Business
1953
1954
Forever Female
Beautiful Stranger
Black Widow
1955
Tight Spot
1956
The First Traveling Saleslady
Teenage Rebel
1957
Oh, Men! Oh, Women!
1958
1959
1960
1961
1962
1963
1964
The Confession
1965
Harlow
1966
1967
1968
1969