Fred Astaire

Birth Name: Frederick Austerlitz

Date of Birth: May 10, 1899

Place of Birth: Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.

Date of Death: June 22, 1987

Place of Death: Los Angeles, California, U.S.

*father – Ashkenazi Jewish [raised Catholic]
*mother – German

Fred Astaire was an American dancer, singer, actor, choreographer, and television presenter. His films included Top Hat, Swing Time, Shall We Dance, Holiday Inn, Easter Parade, The Band Wagon, Funny Face, Silk Stockings, and The Towering Inferno. He often worked with Ginger Rogers.

Fred’s father, Frederic Austerlitz (born Friedrich Emanuel Austerlitz), was an Austrian immigrant; he was born to a Czech Jewish family that had converted to Catholicism in Austria. Fred’s mother, Johanna “Ann” (Geilus), was born in Nebraska, and was of German descent; she was from a Lutheran family, and had roots in East Prussia and Alsace. His sister was entertainer Adele Astaire.

Fred was married to jockey Robyn Smith, until his death. He had two children with his first, late wife, socialite Phyllis Livingston (Baker).

Fred’s paternal grandfather was Salomon Stefan Austerlitz (the son of Simon Juda Austerlitz and Ester Porges). Salomon was born in Prague, Hlavní město Prague, to Czech Jewish parents. Simon was the son of Juda, Löb Jacob Austerlitz and Ewa Slowa/Salome Neustadtl. Ester was the daughter of Abraham Moses Porges and Maria Pereles.

Fred’s paternal grandmother was Lucia/Lucie Hellerová/Heller (the daughter of Emanuel Abraham Heller and Anna Morawetzová/Morawetz). Lucie was born in Postoloprty, Louny, Ústecký kraj, to Czech Jewish parents. Emanuel was born in Postoloprty, the son of Simon Heller and Judith Friedenbergová. Anna was born in Roudnice, the daughter of Jakob Morawetz and Catrina.

Fred’s maternal grandfather was named David Geilus.

Fred’s maternal grandmother was named Wilhelmine/Wilhelmina Klaatke. David and Wilhelmine were German emigrants, born in Sussemilken/Sumilken, and were of the Lutheran religion.

Sources: Genealogy of Fred Astaire –

Genealogy of Fred Astaire (focusing on his mother’s side) –


Curious about ethnicity

8 Responses

  1. andrew says:

    The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs has listed him and other figures with Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry among “Czech Personalities in USA” –

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.