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Published on Nov 6, 2011
Irene Castle 1893 -1969 Irene was a fashion innovator, credited with introducing American women to the bob—the short hairstyle favored by flappers in the 1920s....bobbing her hair ten years before the flapper look of the 1920s became popular. Her elegant, yet simple, flowing gowns were often featured in fashion magazines.
Vernon and Irene Castle were a husband-and-wife team of ballroom dancers of the early 20th century. They are credited with invigorating the popularity of modern dancing. Vernon Castle (2 May 1887 - 15 February 1918) was born William Vernon Blyth in Norwich, Norfolk, England. Irene Castle (17 April 1893 - 25 January 1969) was born Irene Foote, the daughter of a prominent physician in New Rochelle, New York. The whisper-thin, elegant Castles were trendsetters in many ways: they traveled with a black orchestra, had an openly lesbian manager, and were animal-rights advocates decades before it became a public issue.
The Castle's brought a modern sense of intimacy and humor to ballroom-style dancing, making them the perfect choice to bring Tin Pan Alley syncopation to Broadway. They starred in "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody" for The Ziegfeld Follies (1919).
Vernon become a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I. While flying at Benbrook Field, near Fort Worth, Texas, he took emergency action shortly after take off to avoid another aircraft. His plane stalled, and he was unable to recover control in time before the plane hit the ground. Vernon was the only casualty. He died soon after the crash, on February 15, 1918 (aged 30)
Irene married 4 more times..
For the rest of her life, Irene was a staunch animal-rights activist, ultimately founding the Illinois animal shelter "Orphans of the Storm", which is still active.