I really do not happen to like champagne

Playboy Magazine were clearly determined to feature a photograph of Fred Astaire, drink in hand, in their January ’62 issue; so much so in fact, that they rather desperately ran with a picture despite three separate refusals from the man himself. Understandably annoyed but ever the gentleman, Astaire made his displeasure known by sending this remarkably restrained, beautifully polite letter to Auguste Spectorsky, the magazine’s editorial director at the time.

Transcript follows.



December 22, 1961

A. C. Spectorsky, Editorial Director
232 East Ohio Street
Chicago, Illinois

Dear Mr. Spectorsky:

Thank you for sending me the advance copy of January Playboy Magazine in which there is a photograph of me in the “Toasting the New Year” article.

However, since you have asked me for my comments, I feel it only fair I should tell you the circumstances under which this photograph appeared. First I was asked from the Eastern office of the magazine to pose for a picture with a drink in my hand. I stated that I respectfully declined the invitation since I have no favorite drink and did not wish to appear in the article. A few weeks later I was called on the telephone by someone at the local Playboy office and was again approached about posing with a drink in my hand, which I again declined. I was then asked if I objected to the use of a photograph from one of my pictures, namely “The Pleasure Of His Company”, in which I am holding a glass of champagne, to which I again specified that I did not wish it used and that I did not wish to participate in this article with a drink in my hand since I had no favorite drink. This was thoroughly understood.

Perhaps you can understand now why I am amazed at the use of this photograph of me with a glass of champagne in my hand “Toasting the New Year”. Obviously there is no harm done but I just want to point out to you that I really do not happen to like champagne.

With kindest regards, I remain,

Sincerely yours,

(Signed, ‘Fred Astaire’)