"When you talk about Fred Astaire, you talk about heaven. What more can I say?" - Johnny Green, Hollywood Speaks! An Oral History, 1974
"He was not just the best ballroom dancer, or tap dancer, he was simply the greatest, most imaginative, dancer of our time." - Rudolph Nureyev, 1987
Fred Astaire was simply one of the most influential performers in film history. Not only did he revolutionise the way dance was performed and captured on film, he also had a profound influence on music and hollywood in general. In a time when the world needed something joyous, they got Fred Astaire; a talented, charismatic performer whose charming smile was exactly what movie-goers wanted. Notorious for being a perfectionist and crippled with self-consciousness he floated across the screen with effortless grace that continues to amaze today. Though he was never convinced of it, there can be no doubt that he achieved perfection.
And at age seventy-eight, he broke his left wrist while riding his grandson’s skateboard.
You know, you so-and-so, you’ve a little of the hoodlum in you. - James Cagney on Fred Astaire in Top Hat, White Tie and Tails, from Top Hat (1935)