Jul. 16, 1911 Independence Jackson County Missouri, USA
Apr. 25, 1995 Rancho Mirage Riverside County California, USA
Actress, Singer. Born Virginia Katherine McMath in Independence, Missouri, she was given the name "Ginger" by her cousin, who could not pronounce "Virginia" correctly. After her family moved to Texas when she was a toddler, her parents divorced, and her father died when she was 11. She then moved with her mother to her grandparents' home in Kansas City, Missouri, where she was raised. Her mother went to Hollywood, California in search of work as a screenwriter, and quickly found a job there. However, her mother then remarried and moved to Fort Worth, Texas, where Ginger Rogers graduated from high school. Appearing in school theatrical productions, she discovered her love of acting. After graduating from high school, she moved to New York City, New York, and got a job in the Broadway production of "Top Speed" (1929). Her work there got her an invitation for a screen test, and she was quickly hired. Her first film role in 1929's "A Night in a Dormitory" was a minor part, but it was her start in Hollywood. She made two quick films "A Day of a Man of Affairs" (1929) and "Campus Sweethearts" (1929), which got her better parts. In the film "Gold Diggers of 1933" (1933), she became noticed by the public for the first time when she sang "We're in the Money," even though she did not play the lead role. In 1934, she starred with Dick Powell in "Twenty Million Sweethearts" which built her popularity with the public. Her real stardom hit in 1933, when she was paired with Fred Astaire in "Flying Down to Rio," in which their dancing the Carioca cemented their popularity with moviegoers. She and Astaire then went on to make eight more movies, dancing in each, and the pair quickly became Hollywood Icons. In 1940, she starred in "Kitty Foyle," which won her an Academy Award for Best Actress. She then decided to strike out on her own, and continued to make dramatic movies. In 1965, she appeared for the last time in "Harlow", after which she appeared only in plays and on Broadway. In 1984, she retired, and wrote her autobiography "Ginger, My Story" (1991). Suffering from diabetes in her final years, she died of natural causes in 1995 at Rancho Mirage, California. She was married four times, including marriages to actors Jack Pepper (1928 to 1930) and Lew Ayres (1934 to 1941).