Fred Astaire

Sarah Giles, Author Doubleday Books $30 (210p) ISBN 978-0-385-24741-2
Friends of the late Astaire talk but have little insightful to say in this handsome photo album assembled by Giles, editor-at-large at Vanity Fair . Perhaps the Duke of Devonshire got it right: ``He had great charm, but, to be slightly unkind, he wasn't frightfully interesting. But, then, why should he have been?'' Born Frederick Austerlitz in Omaha in 1899, the self-effacing Astaire established an unequaled standard of dancingyet few voices here discuss his work with perspicacity. Compared to the generally unenlightening comments from family (daughter Ava: ``Daddy always drank Heineken''), the words of Astaire's doctor and housekeeper stand out as the most detailed and intelligent. Conspicuous by their absence are reminiscences by the dancer's sonwho was not approached by Gilesand his second wife, who chose not to cooperate. Despite the disappointing text, the photographs do full justice to a man whose incandescent face rivaled the impeccable optimism of his feet. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1988
Release date: 10/01/1988
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