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Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire

by Sarah Giles

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Friends of the late Astaire talk but have little insightful to say in this handsome photo album assembled by Giles, editor-at-large at Vanity Fair . Perhaps the Duke of Devonshire got it right: ``He had great charm, but, to be slightly unkind, he wasn't frightfully interesting. But, then, why should he have been?'' Born Frederick Austerlitz in Omaha in 1899, the self-effacing Astaire established an unequaled standard of dancingyet few voices here discuss his work with perspicacity. Compared to the generally unenlightening comments from family (daughter Ava: ``Daddy always drank Heineken''), the words of Astaire's doctor and housekeeper stand out as the most detailed and intelligent. Conspicuous by their absence are reminiscences by the dancer's sonwho was not approached by Gilesand his second wife, who chose not to cooperate. Despite the disappointing text, the photographs do full justice to a man whose incandescent face rivaled the impeccable optimism of his feet. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Expanding a Vanity Fair article, Giles presents snippets taken from some 75 interviews with Astaire's friends, relatives, colleagues, and admirers, with the intent of providing the reader with a broadened sense of this man who was perfection on screen. The collection of quotes addresses aspects of the public and private man. Those interviewed include some expected namesHermes Pan, Ginger Rogers, Ava Astaire (his daughter), Irving Berlinand some unexpected namesTwiggy, Jerry Hall. Barrie Chase, a favorite partner, and Robyn Smith, Astaire's second wife, are noticeably absent. The quotes are light, chatty, and sometimes informative. They will appeal to gossip column fans. Joan Stahl, Enoch Pratt Free Lib., Baltimore

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The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
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1st ed

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