A Taste of Ginger

I’d love to share with you a quick peek into the remarkable life of my favorite actress, Ginger Rogers.

[About Fred Astaire] “Sure he was great, but don’t forget Ginger Rogers did everything he did backwards…and in high heels!”

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Virginia Katherine McMath was born on July 16, 1911 in Independence, Missouri.

“My mother told me I was dancing before I was born. She could feel my toes tapping wildly inside her for months.”

She was nicknamed, “Ginger,” because her younger cousin Helen pronounced “Virginia” as “Ginja.”

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18 month old Ginger with her father

At age 14 Ginger entered the Texas State Charleston Championship and won.  Her prize was a four week vaudeville contract.  She was a hit and continued to tour around the country.

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Ginger was extremely close to her mother Lela.

“I don’t care what the critics say. My fabulous mom will give me a good review if nobody else does.”

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After success in vaudeville and on Broadway, Hollywood came calling.

Lela guided Ginger in many of her career and financial decisions.

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Here they are in The Major and the Minor in which Lela plays Ginger’s onscreen mother.

Believe it or not, Ginger was in 19 films before making those 10 incredible features with Fred.

Ginger and Fred revolutionized the Hollywood musical with their blend of sophistication, elegance, and excellence.  Their pictures were scored by the greatest popular composers of the day- Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin- Wow!

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At the top of their game in Swing time, a sublime musical comedy.

“You bring out a lot of your own thoughts and attitudes when acting. I think a great deal of it has to do with the inner you. You know, there’s nothing damnable about being a strong woman. The world needs strong women.”  Amen!

“It was tough being a woman in the theatrical business in those days.”

Ginger had to fight extremely hard for equal pay and quality roles.  She was often paid significantly less than the male character actors in her films.

Finally, recognition: a Best Actress Academy Award for Kitty Foyle in 1940!

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Shortly after Ginger bought a 1000-acre ranch on the Rogue River in Southern Oregon.

She loved the outdoors!

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From Ginger’s milk cows.

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My Favorite Films

1.The Major and The Minor

2.Bachelor Mother

3.Stage Door

4.Swing Time

5. Storm Warning

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Ginger’s husbands

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Lew Ayres and Jack Briggs

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Jacques Bergerac and William Marshall

In her later years Ginger again found success on Broadway.

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Promoting her autobiography- Ginger: My Story  (A fun read)

On April 25,1995, 83 year old Ginger Rogers died of congestive heart failure.  Fans worldwide mourned the loss of this multi-talented wonder woman.

“The most important thing in anyone’s life is to be giving something. The quality I can give is fun, joy and happiness. This is my gift.”

Ginger, I’ll never take for granted the happiness you’ve brought me.

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Thanks for the memories!

Click here for a wonderful tribute to the films of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.

Click here for a great post about Ginger’s hilarious The Major and the Minor.

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