He was born in Omaha, Nebraska.
He appears on the sleeve of The Beatles' "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album.
He was of the first Kennedy Center Honorees in 1978.
He owned Blue Valley Ranch, a thoroughbred horse breeding farm in the San Fernando Valley. He maintained a racing stable of four or five horses which competed at racetracks in California. His most famous racehorse was Triplicate, winner of the 1946 Hollywood Gold Cup.
He is credited with two important innovations in early film musicals. First, he insisted that the (almost stationary) camera film a dance routine in a single shot, if possible, while holding the dancers in full view at all times. Second, he was adamant that all song and dance routines be seamlessly integrated into the plotlines of the film. Instead of using dance as spectacle as Busby Berkeley did, he used it to move the plot along.
He famously wore a necktie around his waist instead of a belt, an affectation he picked up from his friendship with actor Douglas Fairbanks.