Birthdate: Sunday, July 16th, 1911
Location: Independence, Missouri, USA
Died: Tuesday, April 25th, 1995
Location: Rancho Mirage, California, USA
Cause of death: Heart attack
Best known for: Singer and dancer most remembered for her timeless partnership in 10 musical films with Fred Astaire, but who also enjoyed a successful career apart from Astaire in many solo outings. She won a Best Actress Oscar in 1941 for her part in Kitty Foyle (1940), and was nominated for a Golden Globe in 1953 for Monkey Business (1952 - she lost to Susan Hayward).
Inevitably with somebody known predominantly for dancing and glamour, as the years ticked by it became harder for Ginger to find the roles that suited her. As the 1950s wore on, when she was in her forties, the hits became scarcer, although she was still proving a successful name in films such as Storm Warning (1950), Monkey Business (1952), Black Widow (1954) and Tight Spot (1955).
As was the case for so many stars of her calibre and era, the meteoric rise of television in the late 1950s proved an attractive alternative, and Ginger made appearances on series such as Producers' Showcase: Tonight at 8.30 (1954), The Milton Berle Show (1959) and The Steve Allen Plymouth Show (1960).
|Ginger in Harlow (1965), aged 54|
But the film roles were few and far between an ever-proliferating list of TV appearances - Vacation Playhouse (1963), The Red Skelton Hour (three times 1963-64), a TV special of Cinderella, and a guest spot on Lucille Ball's Here's Lucy (1971). The 1970s were sparse for Ginger, but she continued to do well on the live stage - in 1969 she visited the UK to play in the West End production of Mame, and became the highest paid West End performer in history up to that time. She even gave a Royal Command Performance for the Queen.
|Ginger performed a song and dance|
routine in 1979's The Love Boat,
|Ginger aged 76 in Hotel|
Ginger's last public appearance was on Saturday, March 18th, 1995 when she received the Women's International Center Living Legacy Award. Ironically, within five weeks, she'd be dead. Her latter years were plagued with immobility as she suffered two strokes, the first in 1990, which confined her to a wheelchair and left her partially paralysed. However, as a lifelong Christian Scientist she did not allow doctors to treat her, believing that healing would come through the power of prayer - not once did she visit a hospital for after-care following the strokes. Her prayers might have prolonged her life, but she finally succumbed on April 25th, 1995, when she suffered a heart attack at the age of 83. She was cremated and her ashes interred at the Oakwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Chatsworth, California, alongside her beloved mother's remains.