TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (36)
|Also Known As:||Died:||April 25, 1995|
|Born:||July 16, 1911||Cause of Death:||natural causes|
|Birth Place:||Independence, Missouri, USA||Profession:||Cast ...|
RATE AND COMMENT
Subject of a custody battle between parents when they separated; at one point the infant Rogers was kidnapped by her father
Offered a part in a Fox film while mother was working as a scriptwriter; mother refused to let her work after the first day
Moved with family to Forth Worth, Texas while in high school; took part in school dramatics and took dancing lessons
Briefly worked as substitute dancer for Eddie Foy in vaudeville
Began working regularly on the vaudeville circuit: billed as "Ginger and Her Redheads", toured Oklahoma and Texas with two other dancers, after winning a statewide Charleston contest in Texas; the two "redheads" who performed with her had finished second and third in the contest and were engaged by Rogers' mother; later did a solo act
Vaudeville act expanded to include other dances such as the Spanish-flavored Valencia; also did comedy patter routines involving baby talk and comic wordplay
Worked as band singer with Paul Ash's orchestra in New York (date approximate)
Success on Broadway in supporting role in musical "Top Speed" (singing "Hot and Bothered") led to screen test at Parmount's Astoria, Long Island Studio; signed by Paramount
Appeared in a number of short subjects including "A Night in a Dormitory" (1929) and "Office Blues" (1930)
Made feature film debut at Paramount's studios in Astoria, Queens, as a Jazz Age flapper in "Young Man of Manhattan", in which she uttered a line which enjoyed a nationwide popularity, "Cigarette me, big boy!"
Played female lead in her first feature musical film, "Queen High"
Returned to Broadway as female lead (at age 19) of George and Ira Gershwin's successful "Girl Crazy", earning $1,000 per week; introduced the song standards "Embraceable You" and "But Not for Me"; first met Fred Astaire (whom she dated briefly), who helped stage one of her dance numbers
Moved out to Hollywood; first West Coast-produced feature, "The Tip Off"; made several films for RKO-Pathe
Composed song, "The Gal Who Used to Be You" which she sang in a short film, "Hollywood on Parade #1"
Named one of the WAMPAS "Baby Stars" of 1932
First top-billed role in "The Thirteenth Guest"
Left Paramount; made a number of films for Warner Brothers
Famous career moment: performing cheerful Depression-era anthem, "We're in the Money", in pig Latin in "Golddiggers of 1933"
Signed with RKO
Played early showcase part in RKO's "Professional Sweetheart"; one of her earliest films which was built up as a "vehicle" for her talents
First film with Fred Astaire, "Flying Down to Rio", in which they played supporting roles
First co-starring vehicle with Astaire, "The Gay Divorcee"
Enjoyed earliest solo starring successes in such films as "Romance in Manhattan" and "In Person"
Rogers and Astaire appeared together on motion picture exhibitors annual poll of top ten box office stars three years in a row, placing 4th, 3rd and 7th
Radio debut in "The Curtain Rises" with Warren William on "Lux Radio Theater"
Enjoyed notable success without Astaire in "Stage Door"
First of four appearances on the cover of "Life" magazine
Last RKO musical with Fred Astaire, "The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle"
Invited to place her hand and footprints and her signature in cement at Grauman's Chinese Theater
Was in unique position of being RKO's only top boxoffice star under long-term contract; first major solo hit after the series co-starring Astaire, "Bachelor Mother", RKO's biggest hit of 1939
Opted not to renew her exclusive contract with RKO and began free-lancing; signed nonexclusive pact with the studio
Starred in first film in color, Paramount's "Lady in the Dark"; film also featured the famous mink and sequins gown which cost over $30,000 at the time and was later donated to and kept on display at the Smithsonian Institute; Rogers' entire wardrobe for the film cost $150,000-200,000
Highest-paid woman in the US, earning over $250,000; was also America's 8th highest paid person overall that year
Starred in rare historical drama, "Magnificent Doll", in which she played First Lady Dolley Madison
First film made through nonexclusive RKO deal in three years, "Heartbeat", was also her last for the studio for a decade
Mother Lela Rogers testified as a "friendly witness" before the infamous HUAC "witch hunt" anti-leftist trials which resulted in the Hollywood blacklists of the late 1940s and early 50s
Displeased with the scripts RKO sent her, Rogers and studio ended her nonexclusive contract by mutual consent
Reunited with Fred Astaire when called on to replace an ailing Judy Garland in "The Barkleys of Broadway"
Presented Fred Astaire with a special Oscar at the Academy Awards ceremony for 1949 films
Returned to Broadway to star in a dual role Louis Verneuil's unsuccessful comedy, "Live and Let Love"; for one part she was billed as "Ginger Rogers" and for the other she was credited under her birth name "Virginia McMath"; show closed after 51 performances, though Rogers received good reviews
Made last of four appearances on the cover of "Life" magazine, in connection with her return to Broadway after 20 years
Travelled abroad extensively for the first time
Made TV debut in "Tonight at 8:30", a version of three short plays by Noel Coward
Starred in first film not made in the United States, the British-produced "Beautiful Stranger" (U.S. Release title, "Twist of Fate")
Starred in last feature film for seven years, "Oh Men! Oh Women!"
Starred in TV variety special, "The Ginger Rogers Show"
Made Las Vegas performing debut at the Riviera Hotel
Starred in a live British TV adaptation of the musical, "Carissima"; oddly enough, the role as staged gave her the opportunities to neither sing nor dance
Starred in tour of a bound-for-Broadway musical comedy, "The Pink Jungle", opposite Agnes Moorehead; play performed in several cities, but show had various problems with script, cast and production and the show never made it to Broadway
Appeared in touring stage shows, regional and summer stock performances of such musicals as "Annie, Get Your Gun", "Tovarich" and "The Unsinkable Molly Brown"
Made a pilot for a TV comedy series, "The Ginger Rogers Show", in which she played twin sisters Elisabeth and Margaret Harcourt; option on possible series not picked up
Played the Queen on a TV version of Rodgers's and Hammerstein's musical version of "Cinderella", with Leslie Ann Warren in the title role
Rogers and husband G. William Marshall set up production deal to make their own films, shooting in Jamaica; encountered production, budgeting and bureaucratic problems on the one film they made, "The Confession", starring Rogers; resulting film turned out poorly and was only distributed in 1971 in select areas under titles include "Quick, Let's Get Married" and "Seven Different Ways"
Final dramatic film role, played Jean Harlow's mother in the biopic, "Harlow"
Replaced Carol Channing (who opened the musical) in "Hello, Dolly!" on Broadway; was critically acclaimed in the role and enjoyed great boxoffice success; performed in the show for a year and a half until February 1967, then toured nationally with the show for another year and a half; performed the role 1,116 times
Reunited with Fred Astaire on Academy Awards broadcast, when they presented the writing awards; did a 30-second impromptu dance bit together while en route to the podium which received a huge audience response and caused considerable media hubbub
Made London stage debut; was the highest-paid performer ever to appear on London stage up until that time (earning 5000 pounds--at the time the rough equivalent of $12,000--per week for a 56-week run), in the musical "Mame"
Toured US in the musical, "Coco"; attracted media attention when she refused to utter one four-letter word in the script
Signed a seven-year deal to act as traveling fashion consultant for J.C. Penney Stores
Starred onstage in the spring in Chicago in romantic comedy, "Forty Carats", then toured with show during the summer
Appeared in successful international touring nightclub and stage retrospective of her career, "The Ginger Rogers Show" (taped for Italian TV; also did a song and dance number to "The Carioca" on American TV program, "The People's Command Performance"); later did versions of her nightclub act internationally into the 1980s
Recorded an album of songs in England for EMI called "Miss Ginger Rogers"
Performed a capsule version of her touring show at Radio City Music Hall
Starred in a summer production of "Anything Goes" opposite Sid Caesar
Guest starred occasionally on TV on shows such as "The Love Boat" (in an episode reuniting her with former co-star Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.)
Career feted on the syndicated documentary TV special, "Legends of the Screen"
Made directorial debut staging a revival of the musical comedy play, "Babes in Arms"
Appeared in the "Hail and Farewell" episode of the ABC series "Hotel"
Unsuccessfully sued the Italian producers of Fellini's film "Ginger and Fred" for invasion of privacy
Made television appearance as guest interviewee along with June Allyson, Jane Powell, and Esther Williams on "Burt Reynolds Conversations With..."
Last public appearances included those at a photo session for a <i>Vanity Fair</i> magazine issue dedicated to Hollywood and at a Screen Actors Guild tribute (Rogers was one of the original 100 members of the actors union when it was founded in the early 1930s)
Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.Click here to contribute