The Tragic Death Of Fred Astaire's First Wife, Phyllis

Classic Hollywood was a time of high romance, and few things related to that era of moviemaking are more romantic than the dance routines of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Astaire's romantic tendencies extended beyond the Silver Screen, however, to his first wife, Phyllis Potter (pictured below), to whom Astaire would remain married for more than two decades. According to Biography, the couple met at a golf luncheon and married in 1933, coincidentally, the very same year he paired with Rogers, per Britannica.

Phyllis Baker Potter, later Phyllis Astaire, was a New York socialite, and the happy couple would go on to have two children together, Fred Jr. and Ava. Throughout this period came some of Fred Astaire's most well-known films, as he seemingly translated domestic bliss to on-screen happiness in movies like "Carefree" (1939). That's also the only time Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire are known to kiss on screen. At this point, the Astaire family seemed destined for a happy ending. By the mid-`50s, however, that was no longer the case.

Phyllis Astaire died from lung cancer

The happy marriage of Fred and Phyllis Astaire was not to last. According to Fabiosa, Phyllis Astaire died in 1956 from lung cancer. Naturally, Astaire was heartbroken and the passing of his first wife even threatened to derail his career, as he was so distraught with grief he nearly dropped out of filming "Daddy Long Legs." He completed the movie, though, but it seemed like at that point, Fred Astaire would remain a widower for the remainder of his life.

Fred Astaire had one more chance at romance, however. In 1980, he married Robyn Smith. According to Biography, Robyn Smith was 45 years younger than Fred Astaire when they met and got married, and the couple enjoyed golf and watching movies together. Fred Astaire's second marriage would last up until Astaire's death in 1987 from pneumonia. Since then, Robyn Astaire has notr remarried and works tirelessly to protect the legacy of her husband. In retrospect, the story of Fred Astaire's two marriages sounds like the plot of a Hollywood movie in its own right, and maybe one day, the story will be told on screen.