Ginger Rogers, The Dancing Queen

Ginger Rogers, The Dancing Queen

Marc Bolan, of the band T-Rex, sang: “I danced myself right out the womb..” I believe this musical line applies to the legendary, Ginger Rogers. Ginger was a “Cosmic Dancer”, winning a “Charleston” dance competition at age, 14. Ginger’s fame was prefaced with a tumultuous, childhood. Ginger’s mother ran from Ginger’s biological father and he had kidnapped her, several times. Ginger stayed with her grandparents, in hiding and while her mother wrote scripts for, Hollywood! This put Hollywood life in the Rogers’ family. Ginger had wanted to become a schoolteacher, but being so close to the stage because of her mother’s profession, she was attracted to the limelight. Ginger’s career was born one night, while Eddie Foy’s traveling Vaudeville act came to Rogers’ town, in Fort Worth. Foy needed a quick stand-in and Ginger fit the bill! She had stars in her eyes when she entered the Charleston dance competition. When she won, the prize was a six-month dancing, tour. While Ginger traveled, at 17 she met Jack “Pepper”, they married and formed the “Ginger & Pepper” dance duo. She sooned realized the marriage was a mistake. Ginger ended it, within a month. She went back to following her mother, to NYC. Rogers got work on radio and made her stage debut. Ginger appeared in Gershwin’s musical, “Girl Crazy”, which made her a star. While her mother had long said goodbye to NYC.. Ginger stayed, landing a seven year contract, with Paramount Pictures, in 1930. Seven years is a long commitment for a 19 year, old. She had made 5 movies for the studio & got herself out of the contract. Ginger joined her mother in, Hollywood. She made movies with Warners, Fox, Universal, Pathe, RKO.. You get the idea. “Golddiggers of 1933″, the Busby Berkeley eye-pleasing, feature put Ginger Rogers’ name in the mouths of the American, movie audience. She wasn’t even top-billed, her natural attraction led the audience, to her and let her stand out. Her second film with RKO, began a long-term, on-screen, relationship with dancing legend, Fred Astaire. From 1933-1939, they made 9 films together. During this time, the phrase:” Ginger Rogers did everything Astaire did, backwards, in high heels”, was coined! (By the way, in 1934 Ginger married hunk, Lewis Ayers. They were together at a time when Rogers’s career was skyrocketing and Ayres’s career was faltering. The pair were amicably, divorced seven years later). Ginger wasn’t getting paid nearly as much as her co-star, Fred nor the stars billed below her! Rogers fought hard for her contract and salary rights and for better films and scripts. That’s why she is GINGER ROGERS. This is why she played in Top Hat, Stage Door, The Gay Divorcee, Vivacious Lady, Primrose Path, Once Upon a Honeymoon, and owned the role as “Kitty Foyle”. “..Foyle”, which garnered her an Academy Award, is one of her finest performances (and a very touching, movie!). Ginger was a fashionista, a true star, and a Hollywood legend. Although Ginger was married 5 times, for such a high-profile, celebrity she lived a pretty, scandal-free, life! She was a true, darling. “Harlow” (based on Jean Harlow) was Ginger’s last film role, in, 1965. Rogers lived to be, 83. In 1995, her ashes were interred alongside her beloved mama’s in, Oakwood Memorial Park, in California.

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