After the pretty confusing research I did for the last post regarding Ginger’s house (that literally gives me back pain from sitting too much), let’s look at something simple for a change.
For Ginger’s 104th birthday last week, TIME.com posted this tribute along with a photo gallery of Ginger’s pictures that were featured on LIFE magazine in 1942. The brief article looked back at “the multitalented American entertainer” Ginger who, by 1942, had made 9 films with Fred Astaire, won an Oscar for Kitty Foyle, and “raked in the equivalent of $14 million in today’s dollar.” The article credited a particular Charleston dance contest in starting her career, noting, “her lucrative career might never have come to pass had Rogers not entered and won a statewide Charleston contest when she was 17 [sic].” This dance contest opened doors for Ginger to the vaudeville scene, and eventually Broadway. After that, as we know it, Hollywood also came calling.
The incredible photo gallery that came with the article is from a ten-page spread in LIFE when Ginger traveled with LIFE photographer Bob Landry to her childhood states, Missouri and Texas, when she was promoting Roxie Hart. Ginger was shown reminiscing about her early dancing days, visiting her birth town for the first time since she was a baby, and seeing childhood friends. Head on to the article to view the full gallery.
Note: The article wrote that Ginger won a dance competition when she was 17, while in fact, she was 14 at the time, for the contest was held in 1925.