Although she was the Biggest of Stars and made dozens of films Ginger Rogers isn’t well remembered today because she never made any films which are considered classics.


Elegance meets feistiness in the Astaire-Rogers musicals

Those of you out there who are Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers fans who consider all their films together classics, we don’t mean any offense. But although their films are entertaining fare none are on anyone’s list of the best 100 films ever made.

Still, in the world of Hollywood’s Golden Era, no star shined brighter than Rogers. She could play comedy or drama. Could sing and dance and as the cliche says, could do it all backwards and in heels.

She was born in 1911 in Harry Truman country, won a Charleston contest at age 15, and made her Hollywood feature debut in 1930 as a “flapper” with Claudette Colbert in Young Man of Manhattan.

Fred was nowhere to be found, but that movie’s title could well have characterized Ginger’s cool, dapper dancing partner in some of classic Hollywood’s most popular popular films, assuring the duo a high ranking (personally) on the list of American screen legends.

It’s important to appreciate that Rogers — whose nearly 60 year career ended in the late 1980’s — had a vibrant screen life outside her legendary association with Astaire. She married five times, all to actors, in unions that generally lasted under a decade.  She didn’t drink, and she voted Republican.  Obviously a talented and complex woman.

So, how much do you know about the iconic Rogers?  Take our Monday Quiz and find out. As usual, questions today and answers tomorrow.  Here we go:

1) Question:  Which one of the following is Rogers’ real name?  a) Lucille LeSueur; b) Margarita Cansino; c) Virginia McMath; or d) Emilie Chauchoin.

2) Question: Exactly how many movies in total did Rogers costar as Fred Astaire’s dancing partner?  a) 15; b) 10; c) 12; or d) 20.

3) Question:  How many movies did Rogers appear in before her first screen outing with Astaire? a) 19; b) five; c) two; or d) 10.

4) Question: Rogers won a best actress Oscar for a movie that Astaire had absolutely nothing to do with. Can you identify the title?  a) 1938’s Vivacious Lady b) 1939’s Fifth Avenue Girl; c) 1942’s Roxie Hart; or d) 1940’s Kitty Foyle.

5) Question:  What was Rogers’ nickname in Hollywood?  a) Easy Ginger; b) Feathers; c) the Blond Bombshell; or d) Miss Sparky.

6) Question:  By the early Forties, Rogers was Hollywood’s highest paid female star.  a) True; or b) False.

7) Question: Rogers and Rita Hayworth were linked in multiple ways.  How so? a) Both were terrific dancers; b) Both danced with Fred Astaire; c) Both had complicated private lives: or d) Ginger’s aunt married Hayworth’s uncle.

8) Question: Although Rogers married and divorced five actor-husbands, she was notable for her romantic links with which one of these powerful Hollywood men?  a) Howard Hughes; b) Louis B. Mayer; c) Irving Thalberg; or d) Orson Welles.

9) Question: In one of her notable later movies, Rogers costarred with two other screen icons.  Can you identify them?  a) Cary Grant; b) Marilyn Monroe; c) Joan Crawford; or d) Clark Gable.

10) Question:  In perhaps not one of her best career moves, Rogers turned down the Donna Reed role in that enduring Christmas delight, Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life. a) True; or b) False.

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