Thursday, March 17, 2011

Broadway and Hollywood Dancing Star Calls Oregon Home

In 1969, Ginger Rogers sold her Beverly Hills home and moved to a 1,000-acre Rogue River ranch near Shady Cove, Oregon.

Rogers and her mother, Lela, had purchased the ranch in 1945, where they raised purebred cows and built a dairy. Some Guernsey cattle in the Rogue Valley still carry the Rogers name on their breeding records. She sold the ranch and moved to Medford in 1990.

Rogers told a reporter in 1982 that she voted and paid taxes in Oregon. "I consider myself an Oregonian," she said.

Born Virginia Katherine McMath on July 16, 1911, in Independence, Missouri, she took her step father's last name, Rogers, as her own. She was dancing publicly at age 10 and began touring when she was 14, including a performance at age 15 at the Craterian Theater in Medford. She was already a Broadway and Hollywood star when she and Fred Astaire began making 10 dance-filled pictures together.

Sixty-seven years after her first Medford performance, Rogers returned for a benefit concert in 1993 at what is now known as the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater.

Rogers died at 83 at her winter home at Rancho Mirage, California.

Written by Kernan Turner for JPR's radio series, As It Was.

Internet: Ryder, Stephen. Craterian Ginger Rogers Theatre; Ginger Rogers Official Site

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