Ginger Rogers: The Tragic Kidnapping Tale of Her Early Life

Herbie J Pilato

She danced with Fred Astaire, was dear friends with Lucille Ball, and was once kidnapped by her own father twice, as an infant. And she never saw him again.

Her name was Ginger Rogers, and the legendary entertainer/actress died in 1995.

According to JJ Foster at, shortly after Rogers was born, "...her parents, Lela and William decided to separate. Eventually, tensions rose so high between the mother and father that during a long-winded custody battle, William kidnapped daughter Ginger."

As Foster continues to report, "It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that the courts didn’t agree with William’s radical behavior. As a result, they awarded Lela full custody of Ginger. In fact, William would only get limited visitation to his daughter. From that day onwards, Lela played a massive part in Ginger’s life."

"Rogers probably wouldn’t have been such a huge star without the love and support she got from her mother Lela," Foster notes. "A successful individual in her own right, Lela worked in film and journalism before dedicating much of her time to helping Ginger make it in the film industry. After landing a job as a screenwriter, Lela brought five-year-old Ginger to Fox Studios, who didn’t hesitate to offer her a contract. Although Lela turned it down on Ginger’s behalf, she eventually helped her become a star."

"During her teens," Foster adds, "...Ginger was already a household name and by the time she reached 19, she was earning a whopping $1,000 a week. At the time, that was a really good salary. However, her worth only got higher as her career progressed."

To read more about Ginger Rogers, click here.

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Herbie J Pilato is the author of several books about pop culture including RETRO ACTIVE TELEVISION, THE 12 BEST SECRETS OF CHRISTMAS, MARY: THE MARY TYLER MOORE STORY, TWITCH UPON A STAR, GLAMOUR, GIDGETS AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, DASHING, DARING AND DEBONAIR, and NBC & ME: MY LIFE AS A PAGE IN A BOOK, among others. He's also a TV writer/producer, and has worked for Reelz, Bravo, E!, TLC, and hosted THEN AGAIN WITH HERBIE J PILATO, the hit classic TV talk show (which premiered on Amazon Prime in 2019).

Los Angeles, CA

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