Happy Birthday Virginia Katherine McMath aka Ginger Rogers!
(July 16, 1911 –
April 25, 1995)
“Ginger owes much of her professional longevity to her singular versatility. There are few who can act comedy and drama, as well as sing and dance. Ginger continues to conceive fresh activity and new fields. She is still stagestruck and screenstruck. Further, she retains the nerve of a newcomer, and the courage of a champion. What is a movie star, anyway? Is it magnetism? Well then, what’s magnetism? Or personality, for that matter. The mysterious quality is more than talent. The indefinable has been defined as ‘human warmth’, ‘mass appeal’ and ‘identification’, among other things. Whatever it is, Ginger Rogers had it and has it.” - Garson Kanin
“She was the dance queen of Hollywood … and George Balanchine once remarked that he only came to America because it was a land of girls like Ginger Rogers. Some of the others may have been better dancers; Ginger Rogers was a better star. Only with her did dance in the movie musical become a medium of serious emotion, only with her did Fred Astaire do his very best work, only with her did sophistication suddenly become accessible to all.” – Sheridan Morley
"I don’t think there’s ever been anyone like Ginger, never. She was heaven." - Stanley Donen
Happy Birthday, Ginger Rogers - July 16th, 1911 - April 25th, 1995
"The most important thing in anyone’s life is to be giving something. The quality I can give is fun, joy and happiness. This is my gift."
The talented beautiful Ginger Rogers. c. 1930’s
R.I.P. Carla Laemmle (October 20th, 1909 - June 12th, 2014)
Among the guests at her 100th birthday party in 2009 were Ray Bradbury, Bela Lugosi Jr., Sara Karloff, and Ron Chaney.
Carla Laemmle c. 1920’s - (October 20th, 1909 - June 12th, 2014) R.I.P.
The beautiful niece of producer Carl Laemmle, who made her (uncredited) film debut in The Phantom Of The Opera (1925) as a ballet dancer. Her book entitled “Growing Up With Monsters” details her times at Universal studios from 1921 to 1937, has a foreword by Ray Bradbury, and is full of wonderful anecdotes, illustrations and photographs which document the era. Hers is the first voice heard in “Dracula” 1931), in an uncredited role as a bespectaled passenger in the coach which is carrying Renfield to Dracula’s castle. May she rest in peace, and I hope someone writes a book about this lovely lady, who lived to the age of 104, and truly was there at the beginning of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
josephine baker paris 1920’s
Helene Denizon by Progress Studio, 1930s
Maria Gambarelli by Carlo Leonetti, c. 1920
In 1968, Fred Astaire announced that he was giving up dancing. It coincided with the release of his last musical, Finian’s Rainbow, and his last TV special. Despite that, he was asked to dance on some occasions. Two of these, both in 1970, were the 42nd Academy Awards and an interview on the Dick Cavett show.. At the Academy Awards, Astaire stated, “There are some things that just don’t last forever.” However, he next launched into a brief dance routine that brought the house down with applause. The impression was conveyed that it was improvised, but it was all meticulously choreographed by Astaire beforehand, like all his dances. A few months later, he was challenged by Dick Cavett. “I bet you don’t dance.” He stated. Astaire got up from his seat and virtually recreated step-by-step the same routine he had danced at the Awards. By that point, he was 70 years old, and he had several back and knee problems. The dances caused him a lot of pain, but he did them anyway, thus showing his true performer’s spirit.
Marilyn Miller in Sally (1929)
Gene Kelly in Anchors Aweigh, 1945
Ruth St. Denis by Moffett, c. 1910