Screen legend's daughter visits Regal
PUBLISHED: 13:36 20 October 2008 | UPDATED: 14:43 14 July 2010
Screen icon Fred Astaire's daughter has backed a call for a legendary Norwich dancer to be honoured with a plaque in his home city.
Ava Astaire McKenzie on Sunday visited Wymondham for a special screening at the Regal Experience of the movie 'The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle' starring her father and Ginger Rogers.
SCREEN icon Fred Astaire's daughter has backed a call for a legendary Norwich dancer to be honoured with a plaque in his home city.
Ava Astaire McKenzie on Sunday visited Wymondham for a special screening at the Regal Experience of the movie The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle starring her father and Ginger Rogers.
Born in Mill Hill Road, Norwich, in 1887, Vernon Castle - real surname Blyth - was a great inspiration to the young Astaire.
He and his American wife Irene took the United States and Europe by storm with their 'modern dancing' during the ragtime era in the early 20th century.
But he abandoned their luxury lifestyle, when earning a staggering £1,000 a week, to fight for his country and was killed in an airfield accident in 1918 after flying some 150 missions behind German lines.
Mrs McKenzie said her father had really liked the film, and there was hate mail from outraged fans at the suggestion it would be the last one he and Ginger would ever make together.
"I didn't realise Vernon's importance to Norwich. I am so pleased and I hope they get a plaque going somewhere for him," she said, adding that her father's movie Swingtime was the first film shown at the Regal, in the late 1930s.
"I came to Wymondham last year when they did The Barclays of Broadway, so there's rather a history of this connection with my father," she added.
Philip Yaxley, of the Regal Experience, believes the Norwich Nelson Premier Inn would be the ideal location for a plaque, as it stands on the site of the Great Eastern Hotel where Vernon Castle was brought up.
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