Rita Hayworthby admin on 06/19/2012
Hollywood Movie Star
From The 1940s Rita Hayworth
Rita Hayworth was born in 1918 as Margarita Carmen Cansino. Both of her parents were dancers and came from Spain. Her father wanted her to be a dancer; her mother wanted her to be an actress. When she was nine her family moved to Hollywood. Her dad realized that with movies becoming the big thing that there would be a lot of need for dancers. He opened his own dance studio and began training aspiring actors and actresses.
The picture above is one of the earliest we have of a young Margarita Cansino (Rita Hayworth) by the pool.
Working under the name Rita Cansino, she got a couple of bit parts in movies in her early teens. Her and her dad appeared in several famous nightspots doing what might be called now “show dancing”. The young Hayworth so impressed Fox talent scouts that they signed her for an initial six-month contract.
Her initial time at Fox was unsuccessful, although several who watched her felt that she had great potential. She was most often cast as the exotic foreigner in films. After a couple of these, her agent feared that she looked “too Mediterranean” and they decided to dye her hair dark red and change her name from Rita Cansino to Rita Hayworth.
In 1939 Rita Hayworth appeared in a small role as a man-eater in “Only Angels Have Wings”, an otherwise nondescript aviation movie.
It was a huge hit for Hayworth, and the fan mail started pouring in.
The 1940s were the highlight of Hayworth’s career. In 1941 she appeared in Life Magazine wearing a white slinky nightgown with black lace, shown above. It was hugely popular with G.I.s overseas as a pinup. The photo made her one of the top two pinups of the war years, along with Betty Grable. A decade or more ago the negligee she wore sold for over 25-thousand dollars at Christie’s.
1944 was the beginning of Rita Hayworth’s peak as an actress. For three years in a row, 1944, 1945, and 1946, she was voted the top box-office attraction in the world. She could tap dance, do ballet, tango, read her lines and act — and it didn’t hurt that she was very attractive as well. She danced with both Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. She appeared in some of the first big-budget technicolor films.
But arguably it was the black-and white 1946 film noir “Gilda” that really shot Rita Hayworth through the stratosphere of female stars. Censors didn’t know what to do with her striptease on-screen for the character played by Glenn Ford, which involved her only removing one glove!
From humble beginnings, she certainly lived the Hollywood dream — and pioneered many aspects of the star system we have today.
In the 1953 “Salome” (pictured above), Hayworth starred in a biblical-themed movie set in the time of Christ.
Over and over again, whether through popular contests or critical reviews Rita Hayworth is consistently selected as one of the most beautiful stars that Hollywood has ever seen.