The name Fred Astaire will always go hand-in-hand with dancing, and not just any kind of moves. Indeed, his rhythmic, unique performances dazzled the world throughout his nearly 50-year career in Hollywood. But, by the time Fred had reached his 70s, he found a new hobby, and it caused him a tough injury in his old age.
Frederick Emanuel Austerlitz came into the world in May 1899, in Omaha, Nebraska. But life out west did not suit his mother, Johanna. Instead, she dreamed of Frederick – nicknamed Fred – and his sister, Adele, becoming a brother-and-sister vaudeville act. At the time, though, Fred had no interest in dancing lessons.
Fred did have an interest in music, though, and began playing a trio of instruments – piano, accordion and clarinet. By the time he was six, though, show business would become his and his sister’s focus. The family moved from Omaha to New York City after his father, Fritz, lost his job. And, once there, Fred and Adele enrolled at the Alviene Master School of the Theater and Academy of Cultural Arts.