Dancer Fred Astaire in honored with the 9th Annual Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Film Institute at Hollywood banquet. Film clips from his best work with partner Ginger Rogers and others along with reminiscences from such dancing partners as Eleanor Powell, Barrie Chase, Cyd Charisse, and Audrey Hepburn are featured as well as highlights of Fred singing Gershwin and Porter songs. Written by
Emcee David Niven's voice seems slightly slurred. Although he excuses it with a joke to the audience at the beginning, he doesn't offer an explanation, describing it as "parrot-like." Niven was secretly suffering from ASL, a debilitating disease which would take his life two years later. See more »
[Paraphrasing a speech from "The Band Wagon"]
Fred, the whole company got together... we all chipped in and we bought you... nothing. So, we have nothing to give you but our gratitude,our appreciation, and our love. The show's a hit, but we all agreed that no matter what happened to it, it was wonderful working with you. The show's gonna run a long time, and as far as I'm concerned, Fred, it's going to be forever.
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Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this heartfelt tribute is, the genuine humbleness of Fred Astaire himself. I felt he was semi hidden behind an invisible veil of discomfort. As if he was putting himself through this golden ordeal four our benefit, just and only for us. To give us a chance to give him thanks and express one way or another how we felt about him about his entire opus but I couldn't help feeling that if it had been up to him, he would rather be in Philadelphia. He even mentioned Ginger Rogers with love and admiration, although she wasn't there to do the same. I think Eleanor Powell put it in the most moving and powerful way, looking at Fred Astaire she said with a smile that masked the pathos of her remark "I wish we could do it, just one more time"
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