Apparently Miss Rogers never forgot that she was a kid from Texas who was a good Charleston dancer, and OK singer and turned a Broadway career into a movie contract-- she minded her manners, did what she was told and consequently, was rewarded with stardom. Legendary status came later.
In those days of the movie studio "star system" stars like Bette Davis and Joan Crawford protested by refusing to perform if a role didn't suit them. Ginger, on the other hand, asserted that she kept her mouth shut and did the movies as they were handed to her, rewarded by the studio with more than her fair share of plum roles and a few clunkers.
The one thing that really impressed me about the legendary Ginger Rogers In those days of the "star system", stars like Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, protested by refusing to perform if a role didn't suit them. Ginger, on the other hand, asserted that she kept her mouth shut and did the movies as they were handed to her, rewarded by the studio with more than her fair share of plum roles and also a few clunkers.She told me once that she and Fred Astaire were not good friends, but she had enormous respect for his abilities as a dancer and choreographer and she gave him full credit for turning her from a good dancer into a legendary dancer.
"That man was a perfectionist," she said, "many times my feet were bloody after hours of rehearsal. But if the dance wasn't perfect, he insisted we keep dancing until it was." One tidbit Ginger mentioned which I found quite amusing: "The Fred & Ginger dance routines were always worked out in advance by Fred, dancing with another man, usually Hermes Pan or an assistant choreographer. After I watched them together a few times, I would learn the routine and step in."
One morning during rehearsals I was riding in the backstage elevator with Miss Rogers and told her that I'd seen one of her movie with Fred on TV the night before. "Oh, which movie was it?" she asked...I told her I missed the beginning but she was dancing with Fred on a ship. "What was I wearing? Feathers?" I nodded and she said "Let me tell you about that number..." and she launched into a big story about how difficult that number was to learn and suddenly we were just chatting like colleagues backstage. I asked her about how she made the transition from working on Broadway at 19 to working in Hollywood and she told me talent scouts were always looking at the new Broadway talent and scooped her up. Her Mom Lela Rogers had been an employee (writer) at RKO so Ginger favored RKO in signing a 5-year contract. She was devoted to her mother and she told us about her mother at Radio City.