Fred Astaire (born Frederick Austerlitz; May 10, 1899 – June 22, 1987) was an American dancer, choreographer, singer, musician and actor. His stage and subsequent film and television careers spanned a total of 76 years, during which he made 31 musical films, several award winning television specials, and issued numerous recordings. He was named the fifth Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute. He is best known as the dancing partner and on-screen romantic interest of Ginger Rogers, with whom he co-starred in a series of ten Hollywood musicals which transformed the genre.
Gene Kelly, another major innovator in filmed dance, said that "the history of dance on film begins with Astaire". Beyond film and television, many noted dancers and choreographers, including Rudolf Nureyev, Sammy Davis, Jr., Michael Jackson, Gregory Hines, Mikhail Baryshnikov, George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and Madhuri Dixit among them, also acknowledged his importance and influence.