I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles~Audrey Hepburn

Monday, November 9, 2009

Matinee Monday: Ginger Rogers


Ginger Rogers was born Virginia Katherine Mc Math on July 16, 1911 in Independence Missouri. Her parents separated soon after her birth, and she and her mother Lela went to live with her grandparents. Ginger's father and mother fought for custody during which her Father kidnapped Ginger twice before her parents divorce was finalized. Ginger then stayed with her grandparents for two years while her Mom went to write scripts for Hollywood.When Ginger was nine years old, her mother Lela married John Logan Rogers. The two were very close. They lived in Fort Worth Texas and at the age of 14 Ginger entered into The Charleston Dance Contest and won it. Her prize was to be in Vaudeville plays. Between 1929-1930 she starred in two plays called "Top Speed" and "Girl Crazy". Ginger then moved on to do a few film shorts and began landing film roles at Paramount's East Coast Studios in Astoria.

In 1929 at the age of 17, Ginger married Jackson Culpepper. But having separated soon after the wedding due to Jackson's drinking problems, the two were divorced in 1931. Ginger then moved to Hollywood and starred in her first movie role "Young Man of Manhattan" in which one of her lines, "Cigarette me, big boy!", became a popular catchphrase nationwide.
After making a few movies, the beautiful blue eyed blonde starred in Depression Musicals for Warner Brothers called "42 ND Street" and "Gold Diggers of 1933". In Gold Diggers, She sang the popular song "Were in the Money".In 1933 Ginger starred in a supporting role alongside Fred Astaire in "Flying down to Rio". Even though the main characters were Dolores Del Rio and Gene Raymond, Fred and Ginger stole the spotlight. In 1934 she married her second husband Lew Ayres. Although Ginger thought Lew was a very charming man, in 1936 she left him because of his drinking problems like her first husband. Ginger was very sad and loved Lew a lot. It was very hard for her to divorce him.Fred and Ginger would share the spotlight on 9 more films including "Swing Time", "Shall we Dance", "Carefree" and "Top Hat" . They were a gorgeous couple on screen and their dancing was simply amazing. It was hard not to imagine they were a couple in real life because of the on screen chemistry yet they were just very good friends.
In the late 1930's Ginger was growing a bit tired of musicals and wanted to try out more dramatic roles. In 1940 Ginger dyed her hair brown and didn't tell anyone. When the movie "Primrose Path" came out audience's were shocked at her new look, but Ginger got a lot of positive recognition for this role and by this time was one of Hollywood's highest paid actress's.

Soon RKO sent Ginger a copy of a book called "Kitty Foyle". When reading through Ginger was not happy with some of the scenes and thought they were quite explicit. She thought it could never pass the censor board. The next day, David Hempstead who sent it to Ginger asked her how she liked the book. Ginger explained her opinion and David said they would rewrite the script more to her approval. After reading the new copy and liking it so much, Ginger wanted to get started as soon as possible. Ginger finished her movie "Lucky Partners" and went to film the movie that would give Ginger an Academy Award.".After winning the Oscar for Kitty Foyle, Ginger was at the highest peak of her career. In 1942 she starred in "The Major and the Minor" which she considered her favorite film. In the year 1943 Ginger married a man named Jack Briggs who served in WW II. In 1949 he and Ginger were divorced and not soon after that she was paired up again with Fred Astaire for their last movie together "The Barkley's of Broadway". In the 1950's Ginger's popularity started to decline a bit and was not getting many movie roles. In 1953 Ginger married Jacques Bergerac only to divorce four years later. In the late 1950's she started going back to live theatre.In 1961 Ginger married one final time to a man name William Marshall. By 1969 she divorced him too for his drinking problems. In 1965 Ginger made her last film "Harlow". She then decided to quit Hollywood because of the direction it was starting to take. In 1965 and 1969, Ginger made two successful Broadway Musical Hits called "Hello Dolly" and "Mame".In 1984 Ginger directed her first stage musical called "Babes in Arms" and starred in her last stage appearance "Charley's Aunt". Ginger then retired and in the late 1980's she started to work on her autobiography.

In 1991, Ginger released her book Ginger, My Story. In the same year she won two awards followed by more in 1995. On April 25, 1995, Ginger Rogers died of congestive heart failure. She was 83 years old.

Ginger lived a long and wonderful life and I have her movies to enjoy and watch. My favorite movies would have to be Shall we Dance, Carefree, Vivacious Lady with James Stewart, It had to be you with Cornel Wilde, Having Wonderful Time with Douglas Fairbanks Jr and Monkey Business with Cary Grant and Marilyn Monroe. A couple of years back I introduced my then 12 year old daughter to Fred and Ginger. She has been a fan ever since and her room is full of Ginger and other classic movie stars. She even owns an autographed copy of Ginger's book which I think is her favorite item. I am very happy I was able to share this with my daughter and she is in love with Classic Hollywood as much as I am. Ginger's spirit will live on forever and I'm sure her and Fred are dancing in heaven as we speak.

FACT: Ginger Rogers and Lucille Ball were distant cousins.

FACT: Ginger Rogers enjoyed playing tennis and actually was very good.

FACT: Ginger Rogers was rated #14 on AFI's 100 years, 100 stars.

FACT: A famous quote of the Fred and Ginger duo was "Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, only backwards and in high heels".


"My mother told me I was dancing before I was born. She could feel my toes tapping wildly inside her for months"

"Part of the joy of dancing is conversation. Trouble is, some men can't talk and dance at the same time"

"The only way to enjoy anything in this life is to earn it first"

"When two people love each other, they don't look at each other, they look in the same direction"


  1. Ah, Ginger and Fred....we will never forget either of them. Ginger was a wonderful actress and start but she sure had bad taste in men!
    What a great tribute to her. I love the photos. Excellent post!

  2. What a wonderful post! I didn't know much of this about Ginger, thank you for sharing. She was beautiful as both a blonde and brunette!

  3. Oh, how charming is that woman? I adore her style, her posture and her work like an actress. Great post! Also great blog ;)


  4. I'm a lover of old movies of every kind. Didn't know much about Ginger before..I think I do now! Netflix has a great selection of old movies. Maybe I'll have a Ginger and Fred day with my daughter.

  5. Wow Winona! Great post...so well researched! I had no idea about Ginger at all. I love that pic of her on the platform with the stars! Thanks for the sweet comments on my homecoming post. Have a great Monday! Kori xoxo

  6. Love those classics! I used to tell my mother that I was born in the wrong era. I totally love the clothes and do's of the 30's and 40's and now, your blog.

    Thanks so much for sharing. I love it and I'll be back!

    Dancing in Tattered Shoes

  7. I'm up before dawn and trying to get my day started. I thought I'd surf around the Web a bit and found your wonderful blog. I love Ginger Rogers. I found the tidbit about her being a relative of Lucille Ball interesting. I live just a few miles from where Lucy was born and raised.

  8. Fabulous post! I really enjoyed it, and LOVED all the pictures. That's so great that you are sharing all of this with your daughter - my parents raised me on this stuff too, and I'm so grateful for it.

    Ginger=Bliss :D

  9. Winona (SCD) -
    Honestly, the best post I've ever seen!!!
    Just a perfect overview of the magic of Ginger! I would only hope to compile a post this nice - and I kinda feel bad I never really posted an adequate 'overview' of Ginger...Guess I just figured everyone knew all of this, since I do!!!

    Great pictures, too...

    Is it ok if I give this post a 'shout-out' on G-ology?

    PS - It appears pink is your favorite color...you probably already know this, but one of Ginger's nicknames (given by Jacques Bergerac) was 'pinky', since she was so big on the color.

    Thanks, SCD!!!

    JWalker - G-ology

  10. Oh, I love Swing Time! I could watch Fred and Ginger all day.

  11. What an amazing post. I've only just stumbled across your blog just now and what a beautiful one it is. I'll hope to visit again.