Adele Austerlitz

Fred Astaire

QUESTION:  Who was Fred Astaire's first dance partner?
A). Ginger Rogers
B). Adele Austerlitz
C). Rita Hayworth
D). Louise Brooks

The American Treasure Tour has walls covered in the photographs of celebrities, including athletes, performers, and even a few politicians. One of the men in our Music Room is Fred Astaire, widely considered one of the most influential dancers ever to appear on film, an inspiration for such prominent stars as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Gene Kelly, and Michael Jackson. Astaire was born in 1899.  Soon after, his father lost his job, ands and decided to put the six year old Fred and his sister into vaudeville. They did quite well, until something awkward happened - Fred's sister grew three inches taller than her younger brother. Because of that and a fear of child labor laws, the Astaire kids temporarily retired.

By 1915, the Astaires were back. A chance meeting with George Gershwin brought positive attention to everyone, and the Astaires became Broadway stars dancing to Gershwin's music. Then Jerome Kern and other luminaries of early-twentieth century music. Fred became regarded as the best tap dancer on the stage, while his sister started to fall into his shadow. She retired in 1932, the year she married Lord Charles Cavendish, the 9th Duke of Devonshire. The family business may have ended, but the Fred Astaire story was about to begin a new chapter, as he moved into motion pictures.

ANSWER:  B). Adele Austerlitz.  She was Fred's older sister.