Fred Astaire personified grace and elegance for several generations. He and his sister Adele began their careers on the vaudeville stage as children. (My mother, who grew up to dance professionally with Martha Graham, dreamed of taking Adele’s place, when she was a child.)
Here’s a picture book biography that tells the story of their beginning: Footwork: the story of Fred and Adele Astaire, by Roxane Orgill and Stéphane Jorisch.
Mental Floss shares “14 Toe-Tapping Facts about Fred Astaire,” which add depth to other biographies of this mega-star.
This slideshow features still photos of Fred and Adele from their days in vaudeville. And here’s one of my favorite dance routines from the brilliant Mr. Astaire, dancing with a coat rack in the movie Royal Wedding!