Delores E. Topliff
Born Frederick Austerlitz, in Omaha, Nebraska (1899). Fred Astaire started dancing when he was four. By age six, he formed an act with his sister, Adele, which became a popular in vaudeville. When she retired, Astaire made a screen test. The movie executive wrote, "Can't act, can't sing. Balding. Can dance a little." But Astaire appeared in Dancing Lady (1933), starring Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, and the Three Stooges. He's famous for movies he made with dancing partner Ginger Rogers: classics like The Gay Divorcée (1934), Top Hat (1935), and Swing Time (1936).
He said: "The higher up you go, the more mistakes you are allowed. Right at the top, if you make enough of them, it's considered to be your style." He worked hard and became famous. Sticktoitivity, otherwise known as hard work, is essential to fame.
Next let’s look at the Three Stooges. When I was 17, I was asked to make arrangements for our high school's graduation banquet. I went to Vancouver, Washington's best hotel and pushed the elevator button. When the elevator opened, I encountered the Three Stooges, who were appearing there nightly that week. At around 4 p.m., they were coming up from the basement cocktail lounge, and got off on the second floor, while I rode to the business office on the third. In our brief time together, I did not think to request their autograph. Instead I noticed that they looked old, sad, tired--not funny. When we reached their floor, the elevator door opened, closed again, and they were gone. That was one of my earliest encounters with fame. I’m not sure it changed me, except to make me wish that if I ever accomplished fame, it would be the kind I could be proud of.
What about you? Share an interesting or funny encounter you've had with the famous or infamous. Or offer your definition of fame. Tell us what you most wish to be famous for.
Final assignment? Have a great week!