In step with Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers was one half of the most legendary dancing team in film history; she was also a successful dramatic actress, even winning a Best Actress Oscar. Born Virginia McMath on July 16, 1911, in Independence, MO, she relocated to Hollywood while still a toddler with her newly divorced mother, herself a screenwriter. At the age of six Rogers was offered a movie contract, but her mother turned it down; the family later moved to Fort Worth, where she first began appearing in area plays and musical revues. Upon winning a Charleston contest in 1926, Rogers' mother declared her ready for a professional career, and she began working the vaudeville circuit, fronting an act dubbed "Ginger and the Redheads"; after marrying husband Jack Pepper in 1928, the act became "Ginger and Pepper." She soon traveled to New York as a singer with Paul Ash's Orchestra, and upon filming the Rudy Vallée short Campus Sweethearts won a role in the 1929 Broadway production Top Speed.