Throughout the '40s, Astaire
made films with a top-notch variety of co-stars.
Fred and his wife Phyllis
had a home built in Beverly Hills. Phyllis had a son from a previous marriage,
Peter, and she and Fred had two children of their own, Fred, Jr., born in 1936,
and daughter Ava, born in 1942.
Two of his very
best dancing partners were Eleanor Powell (arguably the best female
dancer of that era), and the luscious Rita Hayworth.
In 1946, upon completing the
film Blue Skies, Fred announced to everyone's horror that he was retiring.
For almost 2 years he devoted his time to his family, to his racehorses, to the
Fred Astaire Dance Studios, to golf and hunting and fishing. However, in
1948, when Gene Kelly injured himself while rehearsing, Fred stepped in to star
opposite Judy Garland in Easter Parade, and that was the end of the retirement.
of his best films of the '50s was The Bandwagon, directed by Vincente
Minnelli and co-starring the dynamic Cyd Charisse.
was Daddy Long Legs, in 1955. It
was during the making of this film that Phyllis Astaire, after being ill
for some months, died of cancer. Fred was devastated, but due to
his professionalism, he completed the film.
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