Adele Astaire Douglass (Adele Astaire Douglass)

Adele Astaire Douglass

Entertainer and sister of actor Fred Astaire.  Born Adele Marie Austerlitz in Omaha, Nebraska, she was the daughter of Frederick Emanuel Austerlitz and his wife, Johanna “Ann” Austerlitz.  Her father was a beer brewer from Vienna, Austria.   In 1905, she began a successful vaudeville act with her younger brother, Fred, developing it into a career on Broadway and the London stage.  While in London, she became a favorite with Britain’s royalty, and in 1932, after starring with her brother in the Broadway play “The Band Wagon” she retired from the stage to marry British Lord Charles Arthur Cavendish, the second son of the 9th Duke of Devonshire.  The couple lived in Lismore Castle in Ireland, where she gave birth to three children, a daughter and twin sons.  Following Lord Cavendish’s death in 1944, three years later she married Colonel Kingman Douglass, an American Air Force officer and Investment Banker, who later became Assistant Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.  While her brother achieved fame and success in Hollywood during the 1930s, in 1936, she gave serious consideration to making a musical film there with her brother, but changed her mind after visiting him and feeling intimidated by his overwhelming reputation.  So, in 1937, she began filming in England with Maurice Chevalier, but after just two days, she withdrew from the film project, feeling that the film would not work for her.  An outgoing person, she made numerous friends and was often in Hollywood society.  In 1971, she and her brother Fred were both inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame.  Adele Douglass died in Tucson, Arizona from natural causes, at the age of 84.  Just prior to her death, she had donated her papers and memorabilia to the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center. (bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson)  Family links:  Parents:  Friedrich Emanuel Austerlitz (1868 – 1924)  Johanna Geilus Astaire (1878 – 1975)  Sibling:  Adele Astaire Douglass (1897 – 1981)  Fred Astaire (1899 – 1987)* *Calculated relationship


  • September, 10, 1897
  • USA


  • January, 01, 1981
  • USA


  • Oakwood Memorial Park
  • California
  • USA

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