Ginger Rogers bizarre moment shes recognised as Barbara Stanwyck unearthed

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers face the music and dance

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Tonight, Ms Rogers stars opposite her long-time collaborator Fred Astaire in the timeless classic Top Hat, which airs from 9pm on BBC Four. The musical comedy follows the story of Jerry Travers, who spots Dale Tremont, and instantly falls in love with her, before worrying that he might actually be married to her best friend. Ms Rogers and Mr Astaire became icons of the Golden Age of Hollywood, starring nine films together, including The Gay Divorcee and Swing Time.

The films were packed full of songs and dancing, and helped revolutionise the genre, with audiences packing out theatres across the world to see their latest release.

After two commercial failures with Mr Astaire, Ms Rogers turned to more comedic and dramatic roles, including collecting an Academy Award for Best Actress in 1940’s Kitty Foyle.

And while Ms Rogers, who died in 1995, remained one of the world’s most recognisable stars, her former personal assistant, Roberta Olden, recounted a time when she was acknowledged as the wrong Hollywood actress.

Ms Olden worked alongside Ms Rogers for around 18 years, starting her role in 1977 and remaining close with the actress until her death aged 83.

Recounting her time with Ms Rogers in an interview with Fox News last year, Ms Olden noted one interaction that left both her and her friend in fits of laughter.

She said: “I remember another time when we were at the grocery store, she noticed these two little old ladies following her from aisle to aisle.

“They finally got the courage to come up and say, ‘We just love you, Barbara Stanwyck! Can we have your autograph?’

“And she signed it as Barbara Stanwyck. So that was fun.”

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She added: “I know back in her studio days, she was a bit of a practical joker and would joke around with the crew on set.

“Everyone thought she was just a pleasure to be around. She loved making people smile.”

Ms Rogers’ on-screen encounters with Mr Astaire remain part of film folklore, but in 2021 fans of the male dancer were furious after Tom Holland admitted he’d been cast to play him in a flick about his life.

The Spider-Man star was cast by Sony for the still unnamed film, which Mr Holland recently confirmed he had received the script of.

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His announcement sparked a backlash online, with many users highlighting Mr Astaire’s dying wish for no film to be made about his life.

Others, meanwhile, cast doubt on whether Holland was even right for the role.

One wrote: “Dreadful. Leave Astaire alone.”

Another said: “Tom Holland is a great Spider-Man, but nobody can dance like Fred Astaire.”

A third described the casting as “bizarre”, while a fourth passionately added: “Are we gonna talk about the stunt cast in Fred Astaire‘s biopic?

“Not that there’s anything wrong with Tom Holland, but Fred Astaire stated Explicitly that he didn’t want a movie made about him.

“Stop making films about people who express their wishes against it. It’s disrespectful.”

Mr Astaire’s life has never been the subject of a film, something he said he wanted to stay that way.

According to Tim Satchell, who wrote Astaire: The Biography in 1988, the star once said: “However much they offer me — and offers come in all the time — I shall not sell.”

Even in his will, Mr Satchell reported, Mr Astaire’s wish was included.

Top Hat airs at 9pm today on BBC Four.

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