Ginger Rogers Biography (1911-1995)

Born Virginia Katherine McMath, July 16, 1911, in Independence, MO; died of natural causes, April 25, 1995, in Rancho Mirage, CA. Dancer and actress. Legendary dance partner of Fred Astaire, Rogers was also an Academy Award-winningactress. Rogers began her dancing career at age fourteen after winning a Texas Charleston dance competition, then went on to perform in vaudeville as Ginger and Her Redheads, a group which was managed by her mother, Lela. In 1930she landed a starring role in George Gershwin's 1930 Broadway musical Girl Crazy, and the following year appeared in Paramount's Young Man of Manhattan. By 1933, the year she made her debut with Astaire, Rogers was already a veteran of twenty films. The enormously successful team of Rogers and Astaire appeared in nine films during the 1930s: Flying Down to Rio, The Gay Divorcee, Roberta, Top Hat, Swing Time, Follow the Fleet, Shall We Dance, Carefree, and The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle. In 1949, after a ten-year separation, they appeared in their final film together in The Barkleys of Broadway. The films became Rogers's "enduring memorial," according to Peter B. Flint in a New York Times obituary, "epitomizing grace, energy and sophistication ... The couple, in their smooth, seemingly effortless style, spun gossamer fantasies from the infectious scores of Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, ColePorter and Vincent Youmans." Aside from films she made with Astaire, Rogers'sfilm career thrived in comedy, romance, drama, and musicals--some seventy-three movies in four decades. In 1940 Rogers played the lead role in the dramatic Kitty Foyle which won her an Academy Award for best actress that year. Inthe 1950s Rogers acted in numerous films, including Storm Warning, Monkey Business, and Black Widow. During the 1960s she toured on stage in Annie Get Your Gun and Hello Dolly. In 1965 she won acclaim as Jean Harlow's mother in Harlow, a biography of the film superstar. Later, in the 1970s, Rogers toured with a nightclub act Ginger Rogers & Co., and served as a fashion consultant with J. C. Penny stores. She was also the author of a 1991 autobiography, Ginger: My Story. Rogers was awarded a tribute for lifetime achievement at theKennedy Center Honors convocation in December of 1992.

Birth Details
July 16, 1911
Independence, Missouri, United States
Death Details
April 25, 1995
Rancho Mirage, California, United States

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