Dancing on Astaire
THE QUOTABLE FRED ASTAIRE
2000 Biographical Quotations
by and about the world's greatest dancer
Ask George Balanchine. Ask Mikhail Baryshnikov. Ask James Cagney. Ask Bob Fosse. Ask Rita Hayworth. Ask Michael Jackson. Ask Gene Kelly. Ask Rudolf Nureyev. Ask Donald O'Connor. Ask any man or woman in the street. Most, if not all, would agree that Fred Astaire (born 1899 in Omaha. Nebraska) was the greatest dancer the world has ever seen.
"He is a male butterfly without the wings - the same kind of grace of a very young horse, so angular. "
Name another dancer, from any era, whose dance career - on stage, film and TV - could sustain such a book as this. The astonishing fact is not that there are 2000 specially chosen quotations by and about Fred, but that so many of these quotributes come from peers and those performers that were inspired by him. That is the true test of the epithet greatest.
"Fred Astaire is the Carioca, the Continental, the very Piccolino of romance."
Frederick L. Collins
in Liberty magazine (1936)
As well as tributes from the dance world as a whole, Fred has received glowing references from U.S. presidents, Prime Ministers, Knights of the Realm, Nobel prize winners, Pulitzer prize winners, Oscar winners, Tony winners, Grammy winners ... even Heisman trophy winners. Such is the breadth and depth of the highest regard that Fred Astaire is forever held.
"Fred was, in every sense of the word, a superstar. He was the ultimate dancer - the dancer who made it all look so easy."
Ronald Reagan (1987)
As the Dancing On Astaire title suggests, the focus is on the dancing aspect of Fred Astaire. The emphasis of the 2000 quotations is on Fred's dancing rather than his singing or acting abilities or on his private life.
"You see, as far as the man's personality goes, there's no one who can touch Fred Astaire. He's unique."
THE QUOTABLE FRED ASTAIRE follows Fred's early stage career - as a teenager - with sister Adele; runs through all his movie musicals with partners such as Ginger Rogers, Cyd Charisse and Ann Miller; finishing with his award-winning performances on TV (in his late 60s).
"I don't remember anybody ever pointing me out as a dancing prodigy, but I played a not bad second base."
Fred Astaire (c 1936)
"Youth is believing that someday you'll dance like Fred Astaire."
"Give Mr. Astaire a hunk of rhythm, a straw boater and a girl, and he's your man."
in The New York Times (1950)
"Astaire bursts into a dance which in its speed and unselfconsciousness seems equally to break the laws of nature."
in The Spectator (1936)
"He was the Duke of Windsor of music: glorious, subtle, aloof, elegant."
"Fred Astaire is the saint of 1930s sophistication, the butterfly in motion."
Biographical Dictionary of Film (2002)
"The thirties musicals of Astaire worked as spontaneous eruptions of energy, as Astaire's body almost seemed to liquefy as walk became dance and speech became the lilting cadence of song."
in Contemporary Comic Book Superhero (2009)
THE PASSING SHOW OF 1918 
"Fred Astaire is an agile youth, and apparently boneless, like that nice brand of sardines."
in The New York Journal (1918)
SWING TIME (1936)
"The duet 'Pick Yourself Up' may be Astaire and Roger's finest moment. Proof positive that dancing can be better than sex."
in Entertainment Weekly (1993)
THE BAND WAGON (1953)
"It is with Cyd Charisse during the 'Dancing in the Dark' sequence that Astaire attained romantic apotheosis."
in Time magazine (1987)