Lot 618 (Printed Books, Maps & Autographs, 28th May 2020)

Astaire (Fred, 1899-1987). A group of 10 Autograph Letters Signed, 1961-86

Sold for £3,000


 

Astaire (Fred, 1899-1987). A group of 10 Autograph Letters Signed, ‘Fred A.’, ‘Fred’ and one initialled ‘F.’, Beverly Hills, California, 1961-86, all addressed to his friend, the actor and director Lionel Jeffries, all of a personal nature with some references to work and himself, sometimes with self-deprecating humour, plus his daughter Ava and her husband, sending good wishes to Lionel and his family, mostly dated with day and sometimes month only, a total of 14 pages written mostly in blue ballpoint pens on various personal letterheads, 8vo, all with original envelopes addressed in Astaire’s hand and all but two signed ‘F. Astaire’ or ‘Astaire’ on rear panel (but many torn from opening), together with two signed Christmas cards, ‘Fred A.’ (in red felt tip, with signed envelope) and ‘Fred Astaire and Ava’, the latter lacking tipped-on illustration to front board and rear board with old tape remains, plus a Christmas telegram, 22 December 1970, plus a first edition copy of Astaire’s autobiography, ‘Steps in Time’, (New York: Harper, 1959), signed and inscribed by the author to half-title, ‘To Lionel from Fred, 1961’, original cloth in dust jacket, soiled and nicked at edges with old sellotape repairs, 8vo

(Qty: 14)

Provenance: The estate of Lionel Jeffries (1926-2010) by family descent. Fred Astaire and Lionel Jeffries both appeared with Kim Novak and Jack Lemmon in The Notorious Landlady, directed by Richard Quine and released in 1962.

[?23 September 1961]:

Thanks so much for your letter. How I would like to have been with you all on that crazy mixed up party. It was nice of you to think of old dad. While you were all laughing it up and getting your kicks, I was working on my Alcoa obligations for TV. Giving one of my marvellous performances of course. I finished the one hour show last Friday. We shot 6 days – 10 pages a day – which no doubt you can gather is somewhat of a contrast to a Novak–Quine production!! I must say it's rather fun to do them that way and not stall around waiting hours for each. I think it's a good show…

PS Thanks for the half hair piece. Who ate the other half? Please note that I put it to work! Enclosed find photo [not here present] of the "poor man’s Alec Guinness’.’

1 March [1972]:

‘… again I was delighted about your success in directing that lovely film [presumably The Railway Children, 1970]. How nice to add directing to your professional accomplishments! I don't know when I'll get to England but it may be fairly soon since Ava and her husband and family are going to meet over there. It seems definite now. She’s in fine shape and I like her husband very much indeed. The two boys are keen lads and I think you failed to do well in England.
It was nice of you to enquire as to whether or not I have a story in mind for myself. I have not really and I've been questioning myself as to whether or not I want to do anything more. I love doing non-musical things, but there are not many – if any – right now for an old bastard like me – I mean I may not look 72 nor do I feel it, but important enough roles are not plentiful as you know in the older man age bracket – I mean at least not for a lousy actor like me.
Incidentally one was just handed to me the other day which I think I would like if things are right with the project. It’s a Robert Nathan book called
The Colour of Evening. More about that later…’

22 August [1980]:

‘Thanks for thinking of me but I must tell you that there is no way I would take on a project as suggested in your letter. The idea has been brought to me by all three major networks here, a number of times.
As you know I
hate talking about my past work. I even have it in my will that I do not give permission for my life story to be made into a movie!!…’.

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Auction: Printed Books, Maps & Autographs, 28th May 2020

Important Travel, The David Wilson Library of Natural History (Part I), The Leon Paul Library of Fencing, Army Lists and Military Books from the Library of Lt Col R J Wyatt MBE TD and a large collection of Vinyl Records.

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Royalty For the portion of the Hammer Price (in Euro)

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