• Golden Globe Awards

Oral History: Busy Grandpa Fred Astaire Retires His Dancing Shoes

For over 40 years the HFPA has recorded famous and celebrated actresses, actors and filmmakers. The world’s largest collection of its kind – over 10,000  items – is now in the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences Margaret Herrick Library.In this excerpt from our archives from the late 1970s, Fred Astaire – dance genius, Hollywood icon, multiple Golden Globe nominee, twice winner, and Cecil B. deMille recipient – explains why he put an end to his dancing career.“I  don’t want to dance anymore because it’s a  very strenuous athletic career, to be a dancer of the kind that I was and I am. At 79, I can’t do things. I have to make a change. I don’t want to go on hoofing until I drop dead. It’s very strenuous and I love straight things, acting, anyway.  And I don’t know how good I am at acting except that I do get some good results. When people tell me that, I’m very pleased about it. I just don’t want to go into musical things. It’s just a very, very strenuous thing the way I do it.Some days I spend with my horses. I’ve got some racehorses at the track and that’s big business. And I have other interests in my own business office.  And I’m just busy as all get-out. I’m a bachelor, a widower for many years, and I have a large family. And I sometimes I see them and sometimes they come to see me.  The grandchildren come and tear up the house and I don’t mind it. I love all those things that happen. But I’m somewhat of a loner. I enjoy going out occasionally.  I don’t like going to parties. But as to my regular day, I have no regular day.  If I have a  list of things to do, I do as many of them as I can. I’m a busy guy and I’m never at any time lonely.”