Fred Astaire: Horses & Hollywood

This exclusive online exhibition showcases a series of letters written by one of the greatest dancers in film history, Fred Astaire (1899-1987), to his good friend Jack Leach.

One of Hollywood’s best-known names with an enduring star appeal, Fred Astaire was known the world over. His fame was achieved by starring in films such as Top Hat, Holiday Inn and Easter Parade. Fred Astaire also became synonymous for his work with Ginger Rogers. This partnership went on to redefine the dance genre and made them both household names.

The Legend & Horseracing

What is less well-known about Fred is his love of horseracing. It was quite fashionable for Hollywood stars of the 1920s to demonstrate a keen passion for horseracing, something Fred embraced. He spent large parts of his spare time travelling around America for race meets, as well as visiting England and Australia. He was a horse-owner himself and built up a solid friendship with the Newmarket-based trainer and jockey John Edward Leach, better known as Jack Leach.

Jack was responsible for training Fred’s horses that he owned in the UK. Through the generosity of Jack’s grandson, Andrew Gosling, we are able to share these letters for the first time. Dating from between 1927 and 1969, the letters on loan demonstrate an enduring friendship that lasted over 40 years.

With funding from Suffolk County Council‘s COVID Continuity Fund for Culture, we are pleased to be able to share this little insight into the mind and life of one of the most iconic film stars of all time.

Viewing the Collection

This online-only exhibition is available to view by clicking here.

Please be aware that these letters contain strong language, which can be of an adult nature. Topics include offensive language, outdated cultural depictions and gambling.

Event Information

Until 31st January 2024

N/A - Online Exhibition

N/A - Online Exhibition