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The Major And The Minor... Major Laughs with a Minor Twist!Academy Award winners Ginger Rogers and Ray... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

The Busby Berkeley Collection... Fans of modern movie musicals like "Chicago" (2002) and "Hairspray"... more info $59.98was $59.98 Buy Now

42nd Street DVD This timeless behind-the-scenes musical is a dazzling piece of entertainment.... more info $5.99was $19.98 Buy Now

Black Widow DVD This 1954 mystery-noir follows the story of an aspiring writer who will do... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Swing Time DVD "Swing Time" (1936), starring the unforgettable Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire,... more info $5.99was $19.98 Buy Now

Top Hat DVD Let Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dance away with your heart in what might be... more info $9.99was $19.98 Buy Now

Also Known As: Virginia Katherine Mcmath Died: April 25, 1995
Born: July 16, 1911 Cause of Death: natural causes
Birth Place: Independence, Missouri, USA Profession: dancer, actor, comedian, singer, fashion consultant for J.C. Penney in 1960s and 70s

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

As the saying went about Ginger Rogers, she could do everything that her famous dance partner, Fred Astaire, could do, but she did it backwards and in high heels. That declaration neatly summed up the career of the Oscar-winning actress, which was marked by her seemingly limitless talents, which included starring in 10 sparkling screen musicals with Astaire, as well as subtle comedies like Stage Door" (1937) and "The Major and the Minor" (1942), as well as heartfelt dramas like "Kitty Foyle" (1940). Rogers had achieved stardom on Broadway before she was 20, and began making feature films shortly thereafter, but it was her collaborations with Astaire that elevated her from movie star to screen icon. Their dance routines were the epitome of class and grace, as well as possessing a chaste sexiness that transcended the censorial limitations of the period. Astaire himself would credit her as one of his best screen partners, but their films together were just the start of her long and storied career. A decade's worth of solo features followed her musical heyday, culminating with her Oscar triumph as a headstrong girl determined to find happiness in "Kitty Foyle." Though her movie career declined in the...

As the saying went about Ginger Rogers, she could do everything that her famous dance partner, Fred Astaire, could do, but she did it backwards and in high heels. That declaration neatly summed up the career of the Oscar-winning actress, which was marked by her seemingly limitless talents, which included starring in 10 sparkling screen musicals with Astaire, as well as subtle comedies like Stage Door" (1937) and "The Major and the Minor" (1942), as well as heartfelt dramas like "Kitty Foyle" (1940). Rogers had achieved stardom on Broadway before she was 20, and began making feature films shortly thereafter, but it was her collaborations with Astaire that elevated her from movie star to screen icon. Their dance routines were the epitome of class and grace, as well as possessing a chaste sexiness that transcended the censorial limitations of the period. Astaire himself would credit her as one of his best screen partners, but their films together were just the start of her long and storied career. A decade's worth of solo features followed her musical heyday, culminating with her Oscar triumph as a headstrong girl determined to find happiness in "Kitty Foyle." Though her movie career declined in the early 1950s, Rogers remained a star on Broadway and nightclubs for another two decades, as well as a welcome figure on television, where she regaled audiences with stories of her past work. Rogers' star never truly dimmed, both in her lifetime and after it, and her screen presence, whether in the arms of Astaire or on her own, remained one of Hollywood's greatest treasures.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 That's Entertainment! III (1994) Song Performer
2.
 Harlow (1965) Mama Jean
3.
 Oh, Men! Oh, Women! (1957) Mildred Turner
4.
 Teenage Rebel (1956) Nancy Fallon
5.
 The First Traveling Saleslady (1956) Rose Gillray
6.
 Tight Spot (1955) Sherry Conley
7.
 Forever Female (1954) Beatrice Page
8.
 Black Widow (1954) Carlotta Marin
9.
 Twist of Fate (1954) [Joan] Johnny Victor
10.
 We're Not Married! (1952) Ramona Gladwyn
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Subject of a custody battle between parents when they separated; at one point the infant Rogers was kidnapped by her father
1917:
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
1925:
Briefly worked as substitute dancer for Eddie Foy in vaudeville
1926:
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
1928:
Worked as band singer with Paul Ash's orchestra in New York (date approximate)
1929:
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
1929:
Appeared in a number of short subjects including "A Night in a Dormitory" (1929) and "Office Blues" (1930)
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!"
1930:
Played female lead in her first feature musical film, "Queen High"
1930:
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
1931:
Moved out to Hollywood; first West Coast-produced feature, "The Tip Off"; made several films for RKO-Pathe
1932:
Composed song, "The Gal Who Used to Be You" which she sang in a short film, "Hollywood on Parade #1"
1932:
Named one of the WAMPAS "Baby Stars" of 1932
1932:
First top-billed role in "The Thirteenth Guest"
:
Left Paramount; made a number of films for Warner Brothers
1933:
Famous career moment: performing cheerful Depression-era anthem, "We're in the Money", in pig Latin in "Golddiggers of 1933"
1933:
Signed with RKO
1933:
Played early showcase part in RKO's "Professional Sweetheart"; one of her earliest films which was built up as a "vehicle" for her talents
1933:
First film with Fred Astaire, "Flying Down to Rio", in which they played supporting roles
1934:
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
1936:
Radio debut in "The Curtain Rises" with Warren William on "Lux Radio Theater"
1937:
Enjoyed notable success without Astaire in "Stage Door"
1938:
First of four appearances on the cover of "Life" magazine
1939:
Last RKO musical with Fred Astaire, "The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle"
1939:
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
1941:
Opted not to renew her exclusive contract with RKO and began free-lancing; signed nonexclusive pact with the studio
1944:
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
1945:
Highest-paid woman in the US, earning over $250,000; was also America's 8th highest paid person overall that year
1946:
Starred in rare historical drama, "Magnificent Doll", in which she played First Lady Dolley Madison
1946:
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
1948:
Displeased with the scripts RKO sent her, Rogers and studio ended her nonexclusive contract by mutual consent
1949:
Reunited with Fred Astaire when called on to replace an ailing Judy Garland in "The Barkleys of Broadway"
1950:
Presented Fred Astaire with a special Oscar at the Academy Awards ceremony for 1949 films
1951:
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
1951:
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
1954:
Made TV debut in "Tonight at 8:30", a version of three short plays by Noel Coward
1954:
Starred in first film not made in the United States, the British-produced "Beautiful Stranger" (U.S. Release title, "Twist of Fate")
1957:
Starred in last feature film for seven years, "Oh Men! Oh Women!"
1958:
Starred in TV variety special, "The Ginger Rogers Show"
1959:
Made Las Vegas performing debut at the Riviera Hotel
1959:
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
1959:
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"
1963:
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
1964:
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
1964:
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"
1965:
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
1967:
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"
1971:
Toured US in the musical, "Coco"; attracted media attention when she refused to utter one four-letter word in the script
1972:
Signed a seven-year deal to act as traveling fashion consultant for J.C. Penney Stores
1975:
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
1978:
Recorded an album of songs in England for EMI called "Miss Ginger Rogers"
1980:
Performed a capsule version of her touring show at Radio City Music Hall
1980:
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.)
1983:
Career feted on the syndicated documentary TV special, "Legends of the Screen"
1987:
Made directorial debut staging a revival of the musical comedy play, "Babes in Arms"
1987:
Appeared in the "Hail and Farewell" episode of the ABC series "Hotel"
1988:
Unsuccessfully sued the Italian producers of Fellini's film "Ginger and Fred" for invasion of privacy
1991:
Made television appearance as guest interviewee along with June Allyson, Jane Powell, and Esther Williams on "Burt Reynolds Conversations With..."
1995:
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)
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

"You bring out a lot of your own thoughts and ideals when acting ... You know, there's nothing damnable about being a strong woman. The world needs strong women. There are lots of strong women who are ... helping ... mothering strong men; they want to remain unseen. It's kind of nice to be able to play a strong woman who is seen." --Ginger Rogers

"She gives him sex, and he gives her class." --Katharine Hepburn's explanation of the onscreen chemistry between Rogers and Astaire, offered at a time when the team was at a popular and critical peak and Hepburn's popularity was ebbing

"When you have a dancing partner, there's always going to be a time that the girl is gonna cry. With almost every girl I danced with, I'd get, 'Waaahh ... I can't do it.' 'Oh, you can, shut up, get on, do it.' Ginger didn't do that." --Fred Astaire

"The hardest-working gal I ever knew." --Fred Astaire

"In more than 60 films, she was our picture of the American girl." --from the Kennedy Center Honors Salute of 1992 (it should be noted that Rogers made more than 70 films, not counting film shorts)

She also received a honorary doctorate of fine arts from Austin College in Sherman, Texas in 1972.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Edward Jackson Culpepper. Vaudevillian. Married in 1928; separated in 1929; divorced in 1931; performed with wife in duo act, "Ginger and Pepper".
companion:
Fred Astaire. Dancer. Met in 1930 when he did uncredited dance direction on "Girl Crazy"; dated briefly.
husband:
Lew Ayres. Actor. Second husband; married 1934-41; couple acted together in "Don't Bet on Love" (1933); separated in the late 1930s; Ayres also starred in such films as "All Quiet on the Western Front" (1930), "Holiday" (1938), "Johnny Belinda" (1948) and a series of Dr. Kildare films for MGM; career harmed during WWII when he declared himself a conscientious objector; still served in a non-combative role; later an author on the subject of comparative theology; died on December 30, 1996.
companion:
Howard Hughes. Industrialist, aviator, film producer. Involved with Rogers during late 1930s; she reportedly broke off their engagement when she discovered he was being unfaithful.
companion:
George Stevens. Director. Involved with Rogers in an on again/off again affair when she was separated from Lew Ayres in the late 1930s; directed Rogers in "Swing Time" (1936) and "Vivacious Lady" (1938).
husband:
Jack Briggs. Married in 1943, divorced 1949; he was a 22-year-old Marine whom she met while touring with the USO during WWII; had previously played small roles in several Hollywood films; purchased a ranch together in Oregon.
companion:
Cary Grant. Actor. Co-starred with Rogers in "Once Upon a Honeymoon" (1942) and "Monkey Business" (1952); had a romantic relationship in the 1940s, briefly reprised in the 50s.
companion:
Greg Bautzer. Lawyer. Prominent Hollywood attorney; close friend to many top film stars; dated and was involved with Rogers for a time c. late 1940s/early 50s.
husband:
Jacques Bergerac. Actor, former attorney. Fourth husband; married 1953, divorced 1958; he was 25, she was 42 at time of marriage; co-starred in British-made "Twist of Fate/Beautiful Stranger" (1954).
husband:
William Marshall. Actor, director, producer. Fifth husband; married in 1961; divorced in 1971; appeared together in stage tour of "Bell, Book and Candle" (1958); started a film production company together in Jamaica in 1963, which resulted in the film "The Confession/Quick, Let's Get Married" (1964).
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
William Eddins McMath. Electrical engineer. Separated from Lela McMath when Rogers was a small child.
mother:
Lela Rogers. Screenwriter, drama critic, agent. Acted as Ginger's manager; married second husband John Rogers while working as a newspaper reporter in Kansas City (divorced 1929); worked for a time at RKO teaching and promoting new talent; wrote a series of fiction books centered around daughter's character for Whitman publishers in the 1940s; "friendly witness" during the HUAC trials of the 1940s and 50s; made brief appearance as mother of Rogers's character in "The Major and the Minor" (1942); died in 1977.
step-father:
John Rogers. Insurance salesman. Adopted Ginger Rogers after her father's death; divorced from Lela McMath in 1929.
cousin:
Rita Hayworth. Actor, dancer. Popular film star of the 1940s and 50s; one of WWII's most famous pin-ups; began career in dancing act with her father; films include "Blood and Sand" (1941), "Gilda" (1946), "Miss Sadie Thompson" (1953) and "Pal Joey" (1957); starred in a segment of the anthology film "Tales of Manhattan" (1942), but a different one than the one which highlighted Rogers; not all sources confirm that Rogers and Hayworth were cousins.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Ginger Rogers" Pyramid Books
"The Films of Ginger Rogers" Citadel Press
"The Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers Book"
"Astaire Dancing"
"Ginger: My Story" HarperCollins
"Ginger Rogers: A Bio-Bibliography" Greenwood Press
"Shall We Dance: The Life of Ginger Rogers"
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

Contributions

Rachael Griffin ( 2006-02-28 )

Source: www.perfectpeople.net first two paragraphs of the biography.

Virginia Katherine McMath was born on July 16, 1911 in Independence, Missouri. Her nickname, "Ginger," originated from her younger cousin Helen who pronounced "Virginia" as "Ginja." Family and friends continued to call her this, and later theatre men who understood the name to be "Ginger" billed her as such on their marquees. Those who knew her as a little girl often said that Ginger could dance before she could walk. At the age of 10, she was appearing at local charity shows, celebrations and lodge meetings with her stepfather, "Daddy John," whose last name, Rogers, she eventually borrowed.

Swimgirl_28 ( 2008-08-13 )

Source: not available

Another of Ginger Rogers' notable companians was George Gerwshwin.

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