Ginger Rogers in Roberta (1935).
 
Ginger Rogers on Wikipedia
Ginger Rogers on the Internet Movie Database
www.gingerrogers.com
 
 
Ginger Rogers
Forecourt Ceremony held on Tuesday, September 5, 1939
 
Born: Virginia Katherine McMath, July 16, 1911, in Independence, Missouri
Age at the time of the ceremony: 28
Died: April 25, 1995, in Rancho Mirage, California, age 83
 
Ginger Rogers was a very great film star of the 1930s and 1940s. By turns spunky, elegant, and dramatic, Rogers had an appealing presence, a wonderful singing voice, and a sure theatrical sense. She made films with just about every leading man in Hollywood.

At the age of four, her feuding parents caused young Virginia to be raised by her grandparents in Kansas City. Her mother Lela, meanwhile, went to Hollywood, becoming a scriptwriter for Fox Film. When Lela remarried in 1920 to John Logan Rogers, she and Virginia relocated to Fort Worth, Texas, where a cousin, dubbed her "Ginga." And so, she became known as Ginga Rogers.

Mother Lela became a theatre critic in Fort Worth, and became increasingly involved with putting on shows. Daughter Ginga would participate in these shows, becoming a last-minute substitute for a no-show when Eddie Foy's show came to town. In 1925, Ginger won a Charleston dance contest — the prize: 18 months on the vaudeville circuit, dancing the Charleston.

At the age of 17, Ginger married a fellow vaudevillian named Jack Culpepper. They toured as "Ginger and Pepper." Divorcing Culpepper, Ginger and Lela moved to New York, where Ginger worked her way up the ladder, making her Broadway debut —fifth billed — in Top Speed in 1929.

George and Ira Gershwin chose Ginger to star along with Ethel Merman in their Broadway smash Girl Crazy in 1930. Signing a deal with Paramount, Rogers made films in Astoria, but eventually wriggled out of her contract so she and mother Lela could make the move to Hollywood. Ginger came into the orbit of Joe E. Brown, star of the film version of Top Speed, and made several films with him at Warner Bros.

A supporting role in 42nd Street (1933), led to an ever larger role in Gold Diggers of 1933 (which had its World Premiere at the Chinese), where she stole the show by singing "We're in the Money" in Pig-Latin.

When R-K-O was looking for a partner for Broadway star Fred Astaire's debut picture Flying Down to Rio (1933), they chose Ginger Rogers, a combination which took the movie-going world by storm. The duo made nine films together: Flying Down to Rio (1933), The Gay Divorcee (1943), Roberta (1935), Top Hat (1935), Follow the Fleet (1936), Swing Time (1936), Shall We Dance (1937), Carefree (1938), The Story of Vewrnon and Irene Castle (1939) and later, The Barkleys of Broadway (1949).

Rogers took roles in non-musicals as well: Stage Door (1937), Vivacious Lady (1938), Fifth Avenue Girl (1939), and Batchelor Mother (1939). She won the Oscar for Best Actress for Kitty Foyle in 1940. She followed this up with Primrose Path (1940), Tom, Dick and Harry (1941), The Major and the Minor (1942), Roxie Hart (1942), Tender Comrade (1943), Lady in the Dark (1944), and Week-End at the Waldorf (1945).

After World War II, roles became harder to get, but she carried on regardless: Storm Warning (1950), Monkey Business (1952), We're Not Married (which played the Chinese in 1952), and Tight Spot (1955).

Rogers returned to the stage in 1965, taking over the title role in Hello Dolly! from Carol Channing, but she scored an even greater success with the musical Mame, starring in the original London West End production in 1969. Rogers appeared in guest roles in a few television programs: The Love Boat and so on.

Ginger Rogers died of a heart attack in Rancho Mirage, California in 1995, at the age of 83.
 
 
Caption TK
Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, California. Ginger Rogers Forecourt ceremony, Tuesday, September 5, 1939. Ginger Rogers looks up after signing her name in the cement.
 
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