Ginger Rogers began her professional dancing career after winning the title of Texas State Charleston Champion at the age of 14. She toured with a vaudeville act called Ginger and the Redheads for 3 years, eventually ending up in New York playing on Broadway. Ginger performed in plays there for the next few years, appearing in such hits as Top Speed and Girl Crazy. It was on the set of Girl Crazy that Ginger met her future dancing partner Fred Astaire when he was called in to assist with the choreography.
Ginger made her way to Hollywood after that, followed closely by Astaire. While in New York the two had become quite close, but in Hollywood Astaire was aloof and standoffish, something that Rogers attributed to his recent marriage to socialite Phylis Potter.
Rogers and Astaire were teamed up to dance together in the David O. Selznick musical, Flying Down to Rio. The two only had secondary roles, but their dancing was so dynamic that those roles led to a series of films featuring the two of them, usually in a romantic entanglement.
Rogers continued to play in films, mainly musicals throughout the 1950s. She returned to the spotlight in 1965 with the lead role in the hit Broadway musical Hello Dolly. Later she took Mame to London for a successful 14 month engagement and a command performance for the Queen. She remains best known for her musicals, but in fact was a very good comedian and dramatic actress as well, winning the Oscar for best actress in 1940 for her performance in Kitty Foyle
Off screen Rogers was an accomplished artist, working in sculpting and painting. She played tennis, golf and swam. She bought a dairy farm in the Rogue River Valley of Oregon, where she lived much of the time and bred Guernsey milk stock.