Vernon was from England and Irene was from New Rochelle, New York. The castles got their fame in Paris, when down on their luck, were asked to do the new American Turkey Trot and Grizzly Bear dance to make a few bucks. Not knowing the steps, they took a newspaper article sent from their mother about the new dances and faked their way through them. They would be sitting in the audience, (very unusual at the time for performers) and the announcer would announce them, they would rise, walk to the floor and dance ... The audience related with them as they thought they were just regular dancers, like them. However, they danced Beautifully, Graceful and Chic.
The Castles became a huge hit and continued dancing in Paris for a short time, when they returned home a New York Times reporter, reported on their success. They made their New York debut at a club called Louis Martin's in 1912. The Castles became a hit as well in the States in the Supper clubs and Rooftop dances of the 1900's.
The Castle's would dance their signature-dance called the Castle Walk which became famous. Elisabeth Marbury (1856-1933) was their main sponsor and went about the task of trying to refine the "Modern Dances" with such advice as: "Do not Shake The Hips or Twist the Body, Flounce the Elbows or Pump the arms," they also recommended dropping the "Turkey Trot, Bunny Hug and the Grizzly Bear."
The Castles made a dance movie called "Social and Theatrical Dancing" in 1909 (1St. instructional dance film) and wrote a couple of books, such as "Modern Dancing" in 1914, "Castle's in the Air" (also made into a movie with Fred Astaire,Irene was a consultant) "Whirl Of Life," and "My Husband" (1979.) The clip on the right is the Castle Maxixe dance done by the castles.
They were known by the press as "The Aristocrats of Dance" and in Vaudeville as the "Worlds Greatest Society Dancers" Irene Castle became very fashionable in Society and endorsed certain ways to dress etc. Society copied Mrs. Castle's wardrobe and makeup to the "T." The Castles also endorsed Records and Corsets as well as Castle Corsets & Castle Dance Records. Opened a few Dansants called the Castle House, Castles In the Air, San Souci etc. Years after it's invention they tried to lay claim to the creation of the Fox Trot dance by stating it was originally the Castle Walk.
Vernon Castle died during World War I in 1917 in an routine airplane crash. He was in the British Royal Flying Corps and returned home to become a "Flight Instructor" in Fort Worth, Texas in Benbrook Field. His plane crashed during a lesson. Irene continued dancing and started a unsuccessful movie career and had a daughter named Barbara Kreutz.