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Rita Hayworth

Real name: Margarita Carmen Cansino
Birthdate: October 17, 1918
Status: N/A
Partner: N/A

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Biography

Margarita Carmen Cansino, better known as Rita Hayworth, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Spanish flamenco dancer Eduardo Cansino (Sr.) and English/Irish-American Ziegfeld girl Volga Haworth .

After two more years of minor roles, she gave an impressive performance in Howard Hawks' 1939 film, Only Angels Have Wings, as part of an ensemble cast headed by Cary Grant. Her sensitive portrayal of a disillusioned wife sparked the interest of other studios. Between assignments at Columbia Pictures, she was borrowed by Metro Goldwyn Mayer for George Cukor's Susan and God (1940) with Joan Crawford and Warner Brothers for Raoul Walsh's The Strawberry Blonde (1941) with James Cagney.

Hayworth's well-known films include the musicals that made her famous: You'll Never Get Rich (1941) and You Were Never Lovelier (1942) (both with Fred Astaire, who wrote in his autobiography that she "danced with trained perfection and individuality"), My Gal Sal (1942) with Victor Mature, and her best known musical, Cover Girl (1944) with Gene Kelly. Although her singing voice was dubbed in her movies, Hayworth was one of Hollywood's best dancers, imbued with power, precision, tremendous enthusiasm, and an unearthly grace. Cohn continued to effectively showcase Hayworth's talents in Technicolor films: Tonight and Every Night (1945) with Lee Bowman, and Down to Earth (1947), with Larry Parks. Her erotic appeal was most notable in Gilda (1946), a black-and-white film noir directed by Charles Vidor, which encountered some difficulty with censors. This role — in which Hayworth in black satin performed a legendary one-glove striptease — made her into a cultural icon as the ultimate femme fatale. Alluding to her bombshell status, in 1946 her likeness was placed on the first nuclear bomb to be tested after World War II at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, as part of Operation Crossroads. Hayworth performed one of her best remembered dance routines, the samba from 1945's Tonight and Every Night, while pregnant with her first child, Rebecca Welles (daughter of Orson Welles). Hayworth was also the first dancer to partner both Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly on film — the others being Judy Garland, Cyd Charisse, Debbie Reynolds, Vera Ellen, and Leslie Caron.

Hayworth gave one of her most acclaimed performances in Orson Welles's The Lady from Shanghai (1948), though it failed at the box office. The failure was in part attributed to the fact that director/co-star Welles had Hayworth's famous red locks cut off and the rest dyed blonde for her role. This was done without Harry Cohn's knowledge or approval, and he was furious over the change. Her next film, The Loves of Carmen (1948) with Glenn Ford, was the first film co-produced by Columbia and Rita's own production company, The Beckworth Corporation (named for her daughter Rebecca). It was Columbia's biggest moneymaker for that year. She received a percentage of the profits from this and all of her subsequent films until 1955, when Hayworth dissolved Beckworth to pay off debts she owed to Columbia.

Naturally shy and reclusive, Hayworth was the antithesis of the characters she played. She once complained, "Men go to bed with Gilda, but they wake up with me." She was close to her frequent costar and next-door neighbor Glenn Ford.



 


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