(October 17, 1918 – May 14, 1987)
was an American film actress and dancer who attained fame during
the 1940s not only as one of the era's top stars, but also as the
era's greatest sex symbol
, most notably
(1946). She appeared in 61
films over 37 years and is listed as one of the American Film Institute
's Greatest Stars of All
Margarita Carmen Cansino in Brooklyn, New York City, she was the daughter of Spanish flamenco
dancer Eduardo Cansino, Sr. and
Ziegfeld girl Volga Hayworth who is of Irish and English
Her father wanted her to become a dancer while her
mother hoped she'd become an actress. Her grandfather, Antonio
Cansino, was the most renowned exponent in his day of Spain's
classical dances; he made the bolero
His dancing school in Madrid was world famous. He gave Hayworth her
first instruction in dancing.
"I didn't like it very much," revealed Hayworth, "but I didn't have
the courage to tell my father, so I began taking the lessons.
Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, that was my girlhood."
"From the time I was three and a half," Hayworth said, ". . . as
soon as I could stand on my own feet, I was given dance lessons."
She attended dance classes every day for a few years in a Carnegie
Hall complex under the instruction of her uncle Angel
By the age of eight, Cansino and his family had moved west to
Hollywood, where he established his own dance studio. Famous
Hollywood luminaries received specialized training from Cansino
himself, including James Cagney
. Hayworth was also among the
number of students attending the school, extending her dancing
As Hayworth grew older, her father saw potential in her and dreamed
of making her his partner in a team referred to as "The Dancing
Cansinos". Since Hayworth was not of legal age to work
in nightclubs and bars according to California state law, she and
her father traveled across the border to the city of Tijuana in Mexico, a popular
tourist spot for Los Angeles citizens in the early 1930s.
Hayworth performed in such spots as the Foreign Club and the
It was at the Caliente Club where Hayworth was first discovered by
the head of the Fox Film
, Winfield Sheehan
A week later, Hayworth was brought to Hollywood to make a screen
test for Fox. Impressed by her screen persona, Sheehan signed
Hayworth (who was now being referred to as "Rita Cansino") to a
short-term six-month contract.
During her time at Fox, Hayworth appeared in five pictures, in
which her roles were neither important nor memorable. By the end of
her six-month contract, Fox had now merged into Twentieth Century-Fox
and Darryl F. Zanuck
was now credited as the executive
producer. Taking little concern for Sheehan's interest in her,
Zanuck decided not to renew her contract.
By this time, Hayworth was eighteen years old and she married
businessman Edward C. Judson, who was twice her age. Feeling that
Hayworth still had screen potential, despite just being dropped by
Fox, Judson managed to get her the lead roles in several
independent films and finally managed to arrange a screen test for
her with Columbia Pictures
soon signed her to a long-term contract and he slowly cast Hayworth
in small roles in Columbia features.
However, Cohn argued that Hayworth's image was too much of a Latin
style, which caused Hayworth to be cast into stereotypical Hispanic
roles. She began to undergo a painful electrolysis to broaden her
forehead and accentuate her widow's peak. When Hayworth returned to
Columbia, she was a redhead and had changed her name to Rita
Hayworth (Hayworth from her mother's maiden name).
Becoming a major star
Rita Hayworth had an awkward transition from teen nightclub dancer
to major movie star. She was a dancer first and foremost; acting
was an afterthought seen as a way to earn a living.
Gossip columnist Louella Parsons did not think Hayworth would be
successful. She met Hayworth just when she was starting out, and
saw her as a "painfully shy” girl who “couldn’t look strangers in
the eye” and whose voice was so low it could hardly be heard.
In 1935, when Rita was 17 she was dropped from the movie Ramona and
replaced by Loretta Young. "It was the worst disappointment of my
life," Hayworth said. A few days later, the studio dropped her. She
was devastated but did not give up.
In 1937, she appeared in five minor Columbia pictures and three
minor independent movies.
In 1938, Hayworth appeared in five more Columbia B films.
In 1939, Cohn pressured director Howard
to use Rita for a small but important role as a mantrop
in the aviation drama, Only
Angels Have Wings
, in which she played opposite Cary Grant
. A large box-office success, fan mail for Hayworth began
pouring into Columbia's publicity department and Cohn began to see
Hayworth as his first and official new star (the studio had never
officially had large stars under contract, except for Jean Arthur,
who was trying to break out of her Columbia contract).
Cohn began to build Rita up the following year, in features such as
Music in My Heart
, The Lady in Question
Angels Over Broadway
He even loaned Hayworth out to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
to appear in
Susan and God
On loan to Warner Brothers
appeared as the second female lead in The Strawberry Blonde
opposite James Cagney
and Olivia de Havilland
. A large box-office
success, Hayworth's popularity rose and she immediately became one
of Hollywood's hottest properties. So impressed was Warner Brothers
that they tried to buy Hayworth's contract from Columbia, but Harry
Cohn refused to release her.
Her success in that film lead to an even more important supporting
role in Blood and Sand
(1941), opposite Tyrone Power
, ironically by Fox, the
studio that had dropped her six years before. In one of her most
notable screen roles, Hayworth played the first of many screen
sirens as the temptress Dona Sol des Muire. Another box-office
smash, Hayworth received the highest of praises from critics.
Hayworth returned in triumph to Columbia Pictures and was cast in
the musical, You'll Never Get
(1941), opposite Fred
in one of the highest-budgeted films Columbia had ever
made. So successful was the picture that the following year,
another Astaire-Hayworth picture was released You Were Never Lovelier
1942, Hayworth also appeared in two other pictures, Tales of Manhattan
and My Gal Sal
It was during this period that Hayworth posed for a famous pin-up
in Life Magazine
with showed her in a negligee perched seductively over her bed.
When World War II broke out in December of 1941, Hayworth's image
was admired by millions of servicemen, making her one of the top
two pin-up girls of the war years, the other being creamy blonde
Rita Hayworth was called the "Love Goddess." (One biopic and one
biography used the moniker in reference to her.) Despite being a
sex symbol, she showed discretion. "Everybody else does nude
scenes," Hayworth said, "but I don't. I never made nude movies. I
didn't have to do that. I danced. I was provocative, I guess, in
some things. But I was not completely exposed."
The peak years at Columbia
By 1944, Rita Hayworth had reached the peak of her fame. That year,
she made one of her best-known films, the Technicolor musical,
with Gene Kelly
. The film established her
as Columbia's top star of the 1940s . Although her singing voice
was dubbed in her films, Hayworth's exuberant and powerful dancing
set her apart from the other top musical stars of the day, as she
was equally adept in ballet, tap, ballroom, and Spanish
routines.Cohn continued to effectively showcase Hayworth's talents
in Technicolor films: Tonight and Every Night
with Lee Bowman
, and Down to Earth
Hayworth in the strip scene from
Her erotic appeal was most notable in Charles Vidor
's black-and-white film noir Gilda
(1946) with Glenn Ford
, which encountered
some difficulty with censors
. This role —
in which Hayworth in black satin
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 Pacific Ocean's Marshall Islands) as part of Operation Crossroads.
Hayworth performed one of her best-remembered dance routines, the
from Tonight and Every Night
(1945), while pregnant with her first child, Rebecca Welles
(daughter with Orson Welles
). Hayworth was also the first
dancer to partner with both Astaire and Kelly on film — the others
being Judy Garland
, Cyd Charisse
, and Leslie
Hayworth gave one of her most-acclaimed performances in Welles's
The Lady from
(1948). Its failure at the box office was
attributed in part to director/co-star Welles having had Hayworth's
famous red locks cut off and the remainder of her hair dyed blonde
for her role. This was done without Cohn's knowledge or approval
and he was furious over the change. Her next film, The Loves of Carmen
with Glenn Ford, was the first film co-produced by Columbia and
Hayworth'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 her subsequent films until 1955 when she dissolved Beckworth to
pay off debts she owed to Columbia.
Struggles with Columbia
Hayworth had a strained relationship with Columbia Pictures for
many years. In 1943, she was suspended without pay for nine weeks
because she refused to appear in My Client Curley.
this period in Hollywood actors did not get to choose their films
as they do today; they also had salaries instead of a fixed amount
per picture.) In 1945, Hayworth received notice of her suspension
by her employers, Columbia Pictures, "on the day she entered the
maternity hospital in Hollywood."
In 1947, Rita Hayworth's new contract with Columbia provided a
salary of US$250,000 plus 50% of film profits. In 1951 Columbia
alleged it had $800,000 invested in properties for her, including
the film she walked out on when she left Hollywood and married Aly
Khan. She was suspended again for failing to report for work, this
time for Affair in Trinidad.
In 1952 she refused to report
for work because "she objected to the script." In 1955, she sued to
get out of a contract with the studio, asking for her $150,000
salary, alleging filming failed to start work when agreed.
"I was in Switzerland when they sent me the script for Affair
and I threw it across the room. But I did the
picture, and Pal Joey
too. I came back to Columbia because
I wanted to work and first, see, I had to finish that g-ddam
contract, which is how Harry Cohn owned
"Harry Cohn thought of me as one of the people he could exploit,"
alleged Hayworth, "and make a lot of money. And I did make a lot of
money for him, but not much for me."
Hayworth was still upset with Columbia and its head Harry Cohn
many years after her film career had
ended and he was dead. "I used to have to punch a time clock at
Columbia," lamented Hayworth. "Every day of my life. That's what it
was like. I was under exclusive contract -- like they owned me...
He felt that he owned me... I think he had my dressing room
bugged... He was very possessive of me as a person -- he didn't
want me to go out with anybody, have any friends. No one can live
that way. So I fought him ... You want to know what I think of
Harry Cohn? He was a monster."
Another source of "gnawing resentment" for Hayworth was her
studio's failure to train her to sing or even encourage her to
learn how to sing. She was dubbed. The public didn't know this
closely guarded secret, and she ended up embarrassed because she
was constantly asked by the troops to sing.
"I wanted to study singing," Hayworth complained, "but Harry Cohn
kept saying, 'Who needs it?' and the studio wouldn't pay for it.
They had me so intimidated that I couldn't have done it anyway.
They always said, 'Oh, no, we can't let you do it. There's no time
for that; it has to be done right now!' I was under contract, and
that was it."
Although Cohn had a reputation as a hard taskmaster, he also had
legitimate criticisms of Hayworth. He had invested heavily in her
before she began a reckless affair with a married man (Aly Khan)
even though it could have caused a backlash against her career and
Columbia's success. Indeed a British newspaper called for a boycott
of Hayworth's films. "Hollywood must be told," said The People,
"its already tarnished reputation will sink to rock bottom if it
restores this reckless woman to a place among its stars."
Cohn himself expressed his frustration with Hayworth's
relationships in an interview with Time magazine. "Hayworth might
be worth ten million dollars today easily! She owned 25% of the
profits with her own company and had hit after hit and she had to
get married and had to get out of the business and took a
suspension because she fell in love again! In five years, at two
pictures a year, at 25%! Think of what she could have made! But she
didn't make pictures! She took two or three suspensions! She got
mixed up with different characters! Unpredictable!"
After her marriage to Aly Khan collapsed in 1951, Hayworth returned
to America with great fanfare to star in a string of hit films:
Affair in Trinidad
(1952) with favorite co-star Glenn Ford
and Stewart Granger
, and Miss Sadie Thompson
and Aldo Ray
, for which her performance won critical
acclaim. Then she was off the big screen for another four years,
due mainly to a tumultuous marriage to singer Dick Haymes
After making Fire Down
(1957) with Robert
and Jack Lemmon
, and her
last musical Pal Joey
and Kim Novak
, Hayworth finally left Columbia. She
received good reviews for her acting in such films as Separate Tables
(1958) with Burt Lancaster
and David Niven
, and The Story on Page One
, and continued
working throughout the 1960s.
She continued to act in films until the early 1970s and made a
well-publicized 1971 television
appearance on The Carol
Her last film was The Wrath of
Rita Hayworth was a top glamour
girl in the
1940s. She was a pin-up girl
military servicemen and a beauty icon for women.At 5'6" (168
) and 120-lb (55 kgs
) she was tall for women of her time and her
height was a concern to her movie star dancing partners like
Hayworth got her big motion picture break because she was willing
to change her hair color whereas another actress was unwilling.She
changed her hair color eight times in eight movies.
Although she was never a fashion icon like Jackie Kennedy
, Hayworth had a
unique beauty style.From the time she became a celebrity until she
died she had natural long nails. "I take care of my nails myself,"
she said. "I find my cuticle never tears and my nails don't break
if I rub cream into them every night."She was once the cover girl
of "Nails magazine".In 1940
she started a
trend.Hers were longer than
previously worn, more oval than pointed, and fully covered with red
polish. (Previously there was no polish covering the moon of the
nail or the tip.)
voted best in the world by the Artists League of America.She had a
modeling contract with Max Factor
promote its Tru-Color lipsticks
Naturally shy and reclusive, Hayworth was the antithesis of the
characters she played. "I naturally am very shy," she said, "and I
suffer from an inferiority complex." She once complained, "Men fell
in love with Gilda, but they wake up with me." With typical modesty
she later remarked that the only films she could watch without
laughing were the dance musicals she made with Fred Astaire
. "I guess the only jewels of my
life," Hayworth said, "were the pictures I made with Fred
She was close to her frequent co-star and next-door neighbor
. In an interview published in
the New York Times, Hayworth denied she was involved with
Hayworth had two younger brothers: Vernon Cansino and Eduardo Cansino, Jr.
They were both
soldiers in World War II. Vernon left the United States Army in
1946 with several medals, including the Purple Heart. He married
Susan Vail, a dancer. Eduardo Cansino Jr. followed Hayworth into
acting; he was also under contract with Columbia Pictures. In 1950
he made his screen debut in Magic Carpet.
Elisa Cansino, her aunt, ran a dancing school in San Francisco. Her
nephew Richard Cansino
, is a
and video games
has done most of his work under the name "Richard Hayworth."
Barbara Leaming claims in her book, If This Was Happiness: A
Biography of Rita Hayworth
(1989), that as a child and
teenager, Hayworth was a victim of physical and sexual abuse by her
Hayworth had five marriages, which all ended in divorce, with each
one lasting five years or less:
- 1) Edward Charles Judson (1937–1942);
- 2) Orson Welles (1943–1948, one
daughter: Rebecca Welles);
- 3) Prince Aly Khan (1949–1953,
one daughter: Princess Yasmin Aga
- 4) Dick Haymes (1953–1955);
- 5) James Hill
"Basically, I am a good, gentle person," Hayworth once said, "but I
am attracted to mean personalities."
1) Edward Charles Judson
In 1937 Hayworth was only 18 when she married Edward Judson, a
domineering man more than twice her age. They eloped in Las Vegas.
He was an oilman turned promoter who had played a major role in
launching her acting career. He was a shrewd businessman and became
her manager for months before he proposed. "He helped me with my
career," Hayworth conceded after they divorced, "and helped himself
to my money." She alleged Judson compelled her to transfer
considerable property to him and promise to pay him $12,000 under
threats that he would do her "great bodily harm." She filed for
divorce from him on February 24, 1942 with the complaint of
cruelty. She also noted to the press that his work took him to
Oklahoma and Texas while she lived and worked in Hollywood. Judson
was as old as her father, who was enraged by the marriage, which
caused a rift between Hayworth and her parents until the divorce.
Judson neglected to inform Hayworth before they married that he had
previously been married twice. When she finally walked out on him,
she literally had no money. She asked her friend, Hermes Pan
, if she could eat at his home, because
she didn't have any money to buy food.
2) Orson Welles
Rita Hayworth then rushed into a marriage with Orson Welles on
September 7, 1943. None of her colleagues even knew about the
planned marriage (before a judge) until she announced it the day
before they got married. For the civil ceremony she wore a beige
suit, ruffled white blouse, and a veil. A few hours after they got
married, they returned to work at the studio. They had a daughter,
Rebecca. After marital struggles, and a final attempt at
reconciliation, Hayworth said he told her he didn't want to be tied
down by marriage.
"During the entire period of our marriage," she declared, "he
showed no interest in establishing a home. When I suggested
purchasing a home, he told me he didn't want the responsibility.
Mr. Welles told me he never should have married in the first place;
that it interfered with his freedom in his way of life."
3) Prince Aly Khan
In 1948 she left her film career to marry Prince Aly Khan
, a son of Sultan Mahommed Shah, Aga Khan III
, the leader
of the Ismaili sect
. They were married on May 27,
1949. Her bridal trousseau
's New Look
— after seeing her wearing
it, every woman began to wear the somewhat-controversial longer
. Joseph L. Mankiewicz
, in writing and directing
The Barefoot Contessa
(1954), was said to have based his title character, Maria Vargas
(played on film by Ava Gardner
Hayworth's life and her marriage to Aly Khan.
In 1951, while still married to her, he was spotted dancing with
in the nightclub where
they met. She responded by issuing him an ultimatum and threatening
to divorce him in Reno, Nevada. In early May she moved to Nevada to
establish legal residence to qualify for a divorce. She holed up in
Lake Tahoe with her daughter despite a threat to kidnap her child.
When she filed to divorce Khan on September 2, 1951, she did so on
the grounds of "extreme cruelty, entirely mental in nature."
Hayworth once said she might become a Muslim like her husband.
During the custody fight over their daughter Yasmin, Prince Khan
said he wanted her raised as a Muslim; whereas Hayworth said she
intended to raise her in the Christian faith. In fact, Hayworth
turned down a $1,000,000 offer if she'd raise Yasmin as a Muslim
from age seven and allow her to go to Europe for two or three
months each year.
"Nothing will make me give up Yasmin's chance to live here in
America among our precious freedoms and habits," declared Hayworth.
"While I respect the Muslim faith and all other faiths it is my
earnest wish that my daughter be raised as a normal, healthy
American girl in the Christian faith. There isn't any amount of
money in the entire world for which it is worth sacrificing this
child's privilege of living as a normal Christian girl here in the
United States. There just isn't anything else in the world that can
compare with her sacred chance to do that. And I'm going to give it
to Yasmin regardless of what it costs."
The Hayworth-Khan custody battle for little Yasmin was one of the
most public custody battles in the history of Hollywood. Hayworth
feared that Princess Yasmin would be kidnapped by her father, taken
to his foreign country, and she'd never see her daughter again. She
didn't trust him. It was a very long and protracted legal process
that played out publicly in the news. It included Hayworth and her
lawyers doing extreme negotiations, Hayworth dragging her heels
about agreeing to let Khan have temporary custody of Yasmin,
requiring "insurance" money to discourage him from keeping her,
then Hayworth changing her mind at the last minute, etc., and her
fourth husband interfering with the entire process.
4) Dick Haymes
Dick Haymes, Rita Hayworth's fourth husband, caused her much grief.
When they first met, he was still married and his singing career
was waning, but when the Love Goddess showed up at the clubs, he
got a larger audience. (Without her hardly anyone paid attention.)
Haymes was desperate for money; he was a deadbeat dad and two of
his former wives were after him for alimony. In fact his financial
problems were so bad he could not even return to California without
being arrested. On July 7, 1954, his ex-wife Nora Haymes got a
bench warrant for his arrest, because he owed her $3,800 in
alimony. Less than a week prior, his other ex-wife, Joanne Dru,
also got a bench warrant because she said he owed $4,800 in support
payments for their three children.
Haymes was born in Argentina, and didn't have solid proof of
American citizenship. The authorities initiated proceedings to have
him deported back to Argentina for being an illegal alien not long
after he met Hayworth. He hoped, however, she could influence the
Government and keep him in the United States. She assumed
responsibility for his citizenship and that formed a bond that led
Dick Haymes, however, allegedly abused Hayworth verbally and
physically. In fact, two years into their marriage, in 1955 Haymes
struck her in the face in public at the Cocoanut Grove night club
in Los Angeles. It was the final straw in their relationship.
Hayworth packed her bags, walked out, and never returned.
The extreme event leading to Hayworth's separation shook her so
badly she had a "severe emotional shock," according to her doctor,
who ordered her to remain in bed for several days.
5) James Hill
On February 2, 1958, Hayworth married film producer James Hill, who
put her in one of her last major films, Separate Tables.
On September 1, 1961, Hayworth filed for divorce from Hill,
alleging extreme mental cruelty. He later wrote the book Rita
Hayworth: A Memoir
in which he suggested their marriage
collapsed because he wanted Hayworth to continue making movies
while she wanted both of them to retire from the Hollywood
scene.But Charlton Heston
, in his
book, In the Arena
, sheds some light on Hayworth's brief
marriage to Hill. Heston had never met her when he and his wife
Lydia joined Hayworth and Hill for dinner in a restaurant in Spain
with director George Marshall and Rex Harrison, Hayworth's co-star
in The Happy Thieves
. Heston, who was in Spain making
, writes on page 253 of his memoir (HarperCollins
paperback version) that ‘it turned into the single most
embarrassing evening of my life’, describing how Hill heaped
‘obscene abuse’ on Hayworth until she was ‘reduced to a helpless
flood of tears, her face buried in her hands’.Heston writes how
they all sat stunned, witnesses to a ‘marital massacre’ and though
he was ‘strongly tempted to slug him (Hill)’ he instead simply took
his wife Lydia home when she stood up, almost in tears herself.
Heston ends by writing, ‘I’m ashamed of walking away from Miss
Hayworth’s humiliation. I never saw her again.’
She never married again.
Hayworth struggled with alcohol throughout her life. "I remember as
a child," said her daughter, Yasmin Aga Khan, "that she had a
drinking problem. She had difficulty coping with the ups and downs
of the business. . . . As a child, I thought, 'She has a drinking
problem and she's an alcoholic.' That was very clear and I thought,
'Well, there's not much I can do. I can just, sort of, stand by and
watch.' It's very difficult, seeing your mother, going through her
emotional problems and drinking and then behaving in that manner. .
. . Her condition became quite bad. It worsened and she did have an
alcoholic breakdown and landed in the hospital."
In 1972, aged 54, Hayworth no longer wanted to act, but she signed
up for The Wrath of God
because she had money problems.
The experience, however, exposed her bad health and worsening
mental state. She couldn't remember her lines, so they had to film
her scenes one line at a time. Extreme memory loss left her very
nervous and resistant to doing at least one scene, which was then
done by a double.
Even so, the following year Hayworth agreed to do one more movie,
Tales That Witness Madness
(1973). Her health was even
worse by that time, so she abandoned the movie set, and returned to
America. She never returned to acting.
In March 1974, both her brothers died within a week of each other,
saddening her greatly, and causing her to drink even more heavily
In 1976 at London's Heathrow Airport, Hayworth was removed from a
TWA flight during which she had an angry outburst while traveling
with her agent
. "Miss Hayworth had been
drinking when she boarded the plane," revealed a TWA flight
attendant, "and had several free drinks during the flight." The
event attracted much negative publicity; a disturbing photograph
was published in newspapers showing her looking very disheveled,
sad, lost, ill, and barely recognizable.
Rita Hayworth's drinking problem confused her family, friends,
colleagues—and even doctors—who were unable to immediately
recognize Alzheimer's disease
"For several years in the 1970s, she had been misdiagnosed as an
"It was the outbursts," said her daughter, "She'd fly into a rage.
I can't tell you. I thought it was alcoholism-alcoholic dementia.
We all thought that. The papers picked that up, of course. You
can't imagine the relief just in getting a diagnosis. We had a name
at last, Alzheimer's! Of course, that didn't really come until the
last seven or eight years. She wasn't diagnosed as having
Alzheimer's until 1980. There were two decades of hell before
In July 1981, Hayworth's health had worsened to the point where a
judge in Los Angeles Superior Court ruled that because she was
suffering from senile dementia, and no longer able to care for
herself, she should be placed under the care of her daughter,
Princess Yasmin Khan of New York City.
She then lived in an apartment at The San
on Central Park West
to her daughter, who looked after her during her final years until
Rita Hayworth lapsed into a semicoma in February 1987. She died a
few months later on May 14 at age 68 of Alzheimer's disease in her
A funeral service for Hayworth was held at 10:00 a.m. on May 19,
1987 at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills,
California. Pallbearers included actors Ricardo Montalban
, Glenn Ford
, Don Ameche
and choreographer Hermes Pan
interred in Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California (location: Grotto, Lot 196, Grave 6
(right of main sidewalk, near the curb)).
includes the inscription: "To
yesterday's companionship and tomorrow's reunion."
"Rita Hayworth was one of our country's most beloved stars," said
President Ronald Reagan
, who himself
had been an actor at the same time as Hayworth, and coincidentally
later also had Alzheimer's
. "Glamorous and talented, she gave us many wonderful
moments on stage and screen and delighted audiences from the time
she was a young girl. In her later years, Rita became known for her
struggle with Alzheimer's
. Her courage and candor, and that of her family, were a
great public service in bringing worldwide attention to a disease
which we all hope will soon be cured. Nancy and I are saddened by
Rita's death. She was a friend who we will miss. We extend our deep
sympathy to her family."
appeared with John Wayne in Circus World (1964) (U.K. title: Magnificent Showman), for which she
received a Golden Globe Award
Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama, her only notable-award
Hayworth receives National Screen
Heritage Award in 1977.
In 1977, Hayworth was the recipient of the National Screen Heritage
Despite appearing in 61 films over 37 years, including leading
roles in successful, classic films like Gilda,
received an Academy Award nomination. Nevertheless, Rita Hayworth
is listed as one of the American
's Greatest Stars of All
One of the
major fund raisers for the Alzheimer's Association is the
Hayworth Galas, held in New York City and Chicago, Illinois.
Hayworth's daughter, Princess Yasmin, has
been the hostess for these events. Since 1985 they have raised more
42 million for the
"Dancing in Tijuana when I was 13--that was my 'summer camp.' How
else do you think I could keep up with Fred Astaire when I was
"I always considered myself as a comedienne who could dance."
"After all, a girl is . . . well, a girl. It's nice to be told
you're successful at it."
"We are all tied to our destiny and there is no way we can liberate
"Sensitive, shy--of course I was. The fun of acting is to become
"Movies were much better in the days when I was doing them."
"If he could have ever been in love with anyone, I think Harry Cohn
was secretly in love with me."
"Men fell in love with Gilda, but they wake up with me."
"I think all women have a certain elegance about them which is
destroyed when they take off their clothes."
"I like having my picture taken and being a glamorous person.
Sometimes when I find myself getting impatient, I just remember the
times I cried my eyes out because nobody wanted to take my picture
at the Trocadero."
"I'm an afternoon person."
"What surprises me in life are not the marriages that fail, but the
marriages that succeed."
"Just because I was married to Aly Khan, people think I'm rich.
Well, I'm not. I never got a dime from Aly or from any of my
"I've had a lot of unhappiness in my life--and a lot of happiness.
Who doesn't? Maybe I've learned enough to be able to guide my
"Every actor, every director, everybody needs an Oscar. You have to
have that little statue in Hollywood, or else you're
"I did not have everything from life. I've had too much!"
"All I wanted was just what everybody else wants, you know, to be
"When you're in love you're living, you matter."
"Whatever you write about me, don't make it sad."
She was raised as a Roman Catholic.
Hayworth's uncle married Ginger
Her satin nightgown from famous World War II publicity photos sold
Hayworth used to live in Brentwood, Los Angeles, California (during
her first marriage). In the 1950s, she lived in a Spanish bungalow
just off Santa Monica Blvd. at 512 N. Palm Drive in Beverly Hills,
California (previously owned by Jean
On May 27, 1949, she married Prince Aly Khan. Many people forget
that Rita, not Grace Kelly, was the first movie star to become a
Hayworth did not like horses or thoroughbred horse racing, she
became a member of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. Aly Khan and his family were heavily involved
in horse racing and Hayworth's filly Double Rose won several races in
France and notably finished second in the 1949 Prix de l'Arc de
In 1962, when she was 42, her planned Broadway debut in Step on
was cancelled for health reasons.
Some legends say the Margarita cocktail was named for her when she
was dancing under her real name (Margarita Cansino) in a Tijuana,
starred in Rita Hayworth: The Love
(1983), a television biographical film
of her life.
She is one of the many movie stars mentioned in Madonna's song
She was named #19 Actress, The American Film Institutes 50 Greatest
Rita Hayworth is mentioned in the White
song 'Take, Take, Take', and is referenced in their
song 'White Moon'.She is discussed in the porridge episode Rough
As Rita Cansino
- Anna Case in La Fiesta (Short subject, 1926,
- Cruz Diablo aka The Devil's Cross
- In Caliente (1935) (scenes
- Under the Pampas Moon (1935)
- Charlie Chan in
- Paddy O'Day (1935)
- Human Cargo (1936)
- Meet Nero Wolfe
- Rebellion (1936)
- The Dancing Pirate (1936)
- Old Louisiana (1937)
- Hit the Saddle
- Trouble in Texas (1937)
As Rita Hayworth
- Kobal, John. Rita Hayworth: The Time, the Place, the
Woman (1977). ISBN 0-393-07526-5
- McLean, Adrienne L. Being Rita Hayworth: Labor, Identity,
and Hollywood Stardom (2004). ISBN 0-813-53389-9
- Morella, Joe and Epstein, Edward Z. Rita: The Life of Rita
Hayworth (1983). ISBN 0-385-29265-1
- Peary, Gerald. Rita Hayworth: A Pyramid Illustrated History
of the Movies (1976). ISBN 0-515-04116-5
- Ringgold, Gene. The Films of Rita Hayworth: The Legend and
Career of a Love Goddess (1974). ISBN 0-806-504-390
- Roberts-Frenzel, Caren. Rita Hayworth: A Photographic
Retrospective (2001). ISBN 0-810-91434-4