Smith, Robyn

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Smith was born Melody Dawn Miller. Her father deserted her and her mother (who was 17 when she was born), and her mother was declared mentally unstable by the courts, who placed Melody in a foster home. She was then adopted by a family who named her Caroline Smith. After a further court case she was returned to her birth mother but later went back to her adoptive family. She may also have later spent time in a children's home or "women's residence."

She became a jockey in 1969 and in 1973 became the first woman to win a major race in the USA (riding North Sea in the Paumonok Handicap at Aqueduct), in spite of her size and weight (5'7" is tall for a jockey).

She retired and in 1980 married the actor Fred Astaire (1899-1987), who was 55 years older than she.


Dever, Maria, and Dever, Aileen. Relative Origins: Famous Foster and Adopted People. (Portland: National Book Company, 1992)
Stuber, Irene. Women of Achievement and Herstory, 14-15 August 1995, Episode 381 & 382. Available at:


20th Century
21st Century
Formal, American/European-Type Adoption
Formal, American/European-Type Fostering
Pre-school Years
Child Removed from Home by Social Services
Parental Relationship Breakdown, Divorce
Parental Illness (Mental or Physical), Addiction
Unmarried Mother, Single Parent (Mother or Father) Unable to Cope
Others ("Strangers")
Wealthy, Famous, Noble or Divine Adoptive or Foster Families
Temporary Care
Child in and out of Care
Parents Separated or Divorced
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