Wednesday, 17 October 2018

One night she started to shim and shake; that brought on the Frisco quake

The woman was born to be a star. Her father was a professional Spanish dancer, her mother an Irish-American showgirl, and the young Rita Cansino began dance classes at the age of three, got her first minor film role at eight, and was "discovered" by 20th Century Fox as a dancer in nightclubs at the age of sixteen.

Today's centenarian Rita Hayworth was a true survivor during the exploitative days of the studio system, suffering abuse (both domestic and from executives and producers alike) and manipulation (her name was anglicised, and her Hispanic looks cosmetically altered to mould her into the red-headed glamour girl image for which she was became most revered - during WW2, hers was one of the most popular "pin-ups" among American GIs). Out of all that, she still managed to carve herself a prime position in Hollywood's Golden Age - she was the No. 1 box office star of Columbia Pictures in the 1940s, and Fred Astaire called her his favourite dancing partner.

She married extravagantly - to the Hollywood maverick Orson Welles, and then (amid scandal as they were both married when they began their affair) to a playboy Eastern prince.

At her wedding to Aly Khan (for it was he), son of the fabled Aga Khan (the richest man in the world), the couple were serenaded by Yves Montand, 600 bottles of champagne and 50 pounds of caviar were consumed, the cake was cut with an antique glass sword and there was a swimming pool filled to the brim with cologne.

However, all of this, and her two subsequent marriages to cheating scumbags, ended in divorce and heartache for Rita. To compound her unhappy tale, all those lauded film roles had long dried up, and towards the end she was penniless and suffering from Alzheimers disease (the premature signs of which she began to experience while only in her 40s).

Her life may have been tragic, but there are few stars of the Silver Screen to whom the accolade more applied - and there is no cinematic legacy that quite compares to Miss Hayworth as Gilda!

Utterly fabulous!

Rita Hayworth (born Margarita Carmen Cansino, 17th October 1918 – 14th May 1987)


  1. I love Rita Hayworth. Love Gilda; You were never lovelier; Blood and Sand; and Cover Girl.


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