(1911– ) movie actress; born in Independence, Mo. She made her professional debut at age 14 with Eddie Foy's vaudeville troupe; by 1928 she was appearing with her first husband, Jack Pepper, as a vaudeville song-and-dance team; she sang with a band, appeared in film shorts and in Broadway musicals, and made her screen debut in Young Man in Manhattan (1930). She and Fred Astaire were not given star billing when they first danced together in Flying Down to Rio (1933), but they stole the picture and went on to adorn nine more movies. She made several nonmusical roles—winning the Oscar for best actress in Kitty Foyle (1940)—and in 1945 was the highest paid performer in Hollywood. She continued in occasional movies until the mid-1960s but then found a new public when she took over the lead in such musicals as Hello, Dolly! and Mame. She served as a fashion consultant for the J. C. Penney retail stores in the 1970s.
Hawke went onto study at Arts Ed in London and since graduating the 25-year-old has toured with Evita and Top Hat,E which arrives at the Wales MilW -lennium Centre in Cardiff next He is dance captain as well as a member of the ensemble and says the show, based on the 1935 film starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, is a treat for dance lovers.
But my unexpected favorite in the show was the clowness Valentyna Pahlevanya, a saucy acrobat resembling a diminutive Ginger Rogers who literally skips along the audience's heads while holding onto a large helium balloon, proving that new gay divas arrive in all shapes and sizes, including 2 feet 5 inches.