The widow of Fred Astaire has lost another legal battle over control of his image. The Associated Press reported that on Feb. 23 the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to deny a rehearing of Robyn Astaire's decade-old lawsuit against an instructional videotape manufacturer who utilized footage of Astaire to teach dance steps.
The 9th Circuit Court has said that the clips from the movies Second Chorus and Royal Wedding are in the public domain and can therefore be used on the instructional videotapes.
Robyn Astaire, who was nearly a half-century younger than her husband, angered Astaire fans in 1992 by refusing to allow clips of the famed dancer to be used in a salute to Ginger Rogers at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In addition, many questioned her rationale for allowing the use of her husband's image for computer-altered Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner commercials.
-- By Rebecca Paller