Spanish dancer Eduardo Cansino's daughter Margarita trained as a dancer from early childhood. At age 12, mature-looking Rita joined Eduardo's stage act, in which she was spotted three years later by Fox studio head Winfield R. Sheehan, leading to her first studio contract and film debut at age 16 in Dante's Inferno (1935). Fox dropped her after five small roles, but expert, exploitative promotion by first husband Edward Judson soon brought Rita a new contract at Columbia Pictures, where studio head Harry Cohn changed her name to Hayworth and approved raising her hairline by electrolysis. After 13 mainly minor roles, Columbia lent her to Warner Bros. for her first big success, The Strawberry Blonde (1941); her splendid dancing with Fred Astaire in You'll Never Get Rich (1941) made her a star.
In person Rita was shy, quiet and unassuming; only when the cameras rolled did she turn on the explosive sexual charisma that in Gilda (1946) made her a superstar. To Rita, though, domestic bliss was a more important, if elusive, goal, and in 1949 she interrupted her career for marriage--unfortunately an unhappy one almost from the start--to playboy Prince Aly Khan. Her films after her divorce from Khan include perhaps her best straight acting performances, Miss Sadie Thompson (1953) and They Came to Cordura (1959). From 1960 (age 42), early onset of Alzheimer's disease (undiagnosed until 1980) limited Rita's powers; the last few roles in her 60-film career were increasingly small. Almost helpless by 1981, Rita was cared for by daughter Yasmin Khan until her death at age 68.
Margarita Carmen Cansino was born on October 17, 1918 in Brooklyn, New York City into a family of dancers. Her father, Eduardo was a dancer as was his father before him. He immigrated from Spain in 1913. Rita's mother met Eduardo in 1916 and were married the following year. Rita, herself, was trained as a dancer in order to follow in her family's footsteps. She joined her family on stage when she was 8 when her family was filmed in a movie called La Fiesta (1926). It was her first film appearance, albeit uncredited, but by no means was it to be her last. Rita was seen dancing by a 20th Century Fox executive and was impressed enough to offer her a contract. Rita's "second" debut was in the film Cruz Diablo (1934) at age 16. She continued to play small bit parts in several films under the name of "Rita Cansino" until she played the second female lead in Only Angels Have Wings (1939) when she played Judy McPherson. By this time, she was at Columbia where she was getting top billing but it was the Warner Brothers film The Strawberry Blonde (1941) that seemed to set her apart from the rest of what she had previously done. This was the film that exuded the warmth and seductive vitality that was to make her famous. Her natural, raw beauty was showcased later that year in Blood and Sand (1941) filmed in Technicolor. She was probably the second most popular actress after Betty Grable. In You'll Never Get Rich (1941) with Fred Astaire, was probably the film that moviegoers felt close to Rita. Her dancing, for which she had trained all her life, was astounding. After the hit Gilda (1946), her career was on the skids. Although she was still making movies, they never approached her earlier work. The drought began between The Lady from Shanghai (1947) and Champagne Safari (1954). Then after Salome (1953), she was not seen again until Pal Joey (1957). Part of the reasons for the downward spiral was television, but also Rita had been replaced by the new star at Columbia, Kim Novak. After a few, rather forgettable films in the 1960s, her career was essentially over. Her final film was The Wrath of God (1972). Her career was really never the same after Gilda (1946). Her dancing had made the film and had made her. Perhaps Gene Ringgold said it best when he remarked, "Rita Hayworth is not an actress of great depth. She was a dancer, a glamorous personality and a sex symbol. These qualities are such that they can carry her no further professionally". Perhaps he was right but Hayworth fans would vehemently disagree with him. Rita, herself, said, "Every man I have known has fallen in love with Gilda and wakened with me". By 1980, Rita was wracked with Alzheimer's Disease. It ravaged her so, that she finally died at age 68 on May 14, 1987 in New York City.IMDb Mini Biography By: Denny Jackson
|James Hill||(2 February 1958 - 7 September 1961) (divorced)|
|Dick Haymes||(24 September 1953 - 12 December 1955) (divorced)|
|Prince Aly Khan||(27 May 1949 - 26 January 1953) (divorced) 1 child|
|Orson Welles||(7 September 1943 - 1 December 1948) (divorced) 1 child|
|Edward Charles Holmgren Judson||(29 May 1937 - 22 May 1942) (divorced)|
Red hair and brown eyes
Deep sultry voice
The annual Rita Hayworth charity gala, managed by daughter Princess Yasmin Khan, raised $1.8 million in 1999 alone for the Alzheimer's Association.
Ranked #98 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]
Some legends say the Margarita cocktail was named for her when she was dancing under her real name in a Tijuana, Mexico nightclub.
Her dancer father, Eduardo Cansino, himself the son of a dancer, came to New York from Spain in 1913 with sister Elisa.
Mother, showgirl Volga Hayworth (sometimes spelled Haworth), met Eduardo on Broadway in 1916; they married 1917.
Her first (uncredited) appearance on film was with the dancing Cansino family in a Vitaphone short La Fiesta (1926).
She appeared five times on the cover of "Life" Magazine.
The famous Bob Landry photo of Rita in "Life", 11 August 1941, p. 33, made her the number 2 soldier pin-up of World War II.
Owned the production company "Hillworth Productions A.G." together with her fifth husband, James Hill.
The image of her face was glued onto an A-bomb which was dropped on the Bikini Atoll during a test in 1946.
Interred at Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California, USA, in the Grotto section, L196, #6 (to the right of the main sidewalk, near the curb).
Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the "100 Sexiest Stars" in film history (#54). 
Through her mother she is part Irish and part English.
In 1947, started her own production company, "Beckworth Corporation" (formed from syllables of her daughters name, Rebecca, and her own surname). It was dissolved in 1954 under advice from her fourth husband, Dick Haymes.
In the early 1940s, she replaced Jean Arthur as the top female star at Columbia Pictures. Coincidentally, the two stars share the same birthday (October 17).
The famous red hair was not her natural color (which was black). When she was signed, studio heads decided that her hairline was too low on her forehead, and she underwent years of painful electrolysis to make it higher.
Nephew: Richard Cansino.
It was James Hill, her fifth husband, who recognised her true talent as a comedienne. He tried to encourage her to do more comedy, but she felt that it was too late and instead began to resent him for pushing her into more work.
In 1946, an expedition into the wilderness of Canada's unexplored Headless Valley came across an abandoned trapper's shack. In it the expedition found three things: a candle, a can of beans, and a picture of Rita.
She was voted the 65th "Greatest Movie Star" of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
She was voted the 34th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Premiere Magazine.
Was named #19 Actress, The American Film Institutes 50 Greatest Screen Legends.
Is one of the many movie stars mentioned in Madonna's song "Vogue".
Subject of The White Stripes song "Take, Take, Take" from the album "Get Behind Me Satan".
Publicist Henry Rogers, hired by Eddie Judson to promote his wife, said of him, "It seemed to me that Eddie would have sold his wife to the highest bidder if it would have advanced her career".
Columbia Pictures chief Harry Cohn only began taking interest in Hayworth as star material after she began undergoing painful electrolysis treatments (at the urging of husband Eddie Judson), which drastically altered her hairline and appearance.
Under of the influence of second husband Orson Welles, Rita began to read classic literature. While pregnant in 1944, she was very impressed by Sir Walter Scott's "Ivanhoe" and named her firstborn daughter Rebecca after the novel's heroine.
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume Two, 1986-1990, pages 399-400. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.
Cousin of Ginger Rogers.
One of the few actresses to have danced with both Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly in the movies, other actresses that have also done this includes Judy Garland, Cyd Charisse, Vera-Ellen, Debbie Reynolds, and Leslie Caron.
According to the book "Debrett Goes to Hollywood" by Charles Kidd, Rita was descended on her mother's side from an Allyn Haworth, whose family was reputed to be descended from the town of Haworth in West Yorkshire. Haworth is also famous as the home of the Bronte sisters.
Has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1645 Vine Street in Hollywood, California.
Was good friends with Hermes Pan.
Both she and last husband, James Hill, died of complications from Alzheimers disease.
She was a lifelong liberal Democrat.
Every man I have ever known has fallen in love with Gilda and awakened with me.
I haven't had everything from life. I've had too much.
[when asked what had held up her dress in Gilda (1946)] Two things.
I never really thought of myself as a sex goddess; I felt I was more a comedian who could dance.
[1974, when asked what she thought when she looks at herself after waking up in the morning] Darling, I don't wake up 'til the afternoon.
All I wanted was just what everybody else wants, you know, to be loved.
What surprises me in life are not the marriages that fail, but the marriages that succeed.
I think all women have a certain elegance about them which is destroyed when they take off their clothes.
The fun of acting is to become someone else.
Every actor, every director, everybody needs an Oscar. You have to have that little statue in Hollywood, or else you're nothing!
Basically, I am a good, gentle person, but I'm attracted to mean personalities.
No one can be Gilda 24 hours a day.
We are all tied to our destiny and there is no way we can liberate ourselves.
After all, a girl is . . . well, a girl. It's nice to be told you're successful at it.
Increasingly, stars are recruited from the ranks of professional models, with the result that today's starlets are better dressed and better groomed than ever before, though it is doubtful if they are better actresses.
[early in her career about husband Eddie Judson] I owe everything to Ed. I could never have made the grade in Hollywood without him. I was just too backward. My whole career was his idea.
[on why she divorced Orson Welles] I can't take his genius any more.
I wanted to study singing, 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.
I rode on horseback, though I was terrified of them. That was when I was doing westerns. They were something else again. And I did them because that was work, that was my job. So I don't start from the top.
I was certainly a well-trained dancer. I'm a good actress: I have depth. I have feeling. But they don't care. All they want is the image.
Who wouldn't prefer having breakfast in bed to getting up at the crack of dawn and having a cup of coffee in a studio makeup department?
I couldn't get used to the New York weather. On one occasion, I was laid up for a week because I caught a severe cold rushing from the dance studio, still soaked with perspiration, back to the hotel for voice lessons.
|Under the Pampas Moon (1935)||$200 per week|
|Charlie Chan in Egypt (1935)||$200 per week|
|Old Louisiana (1937)||$200|
|You'll Never Get Rich (1941)||$6,500 per week|
|Affair in Trinidad (1952)||$252,000 plus 25% of the net profits|
(2001) Release of the book, "Rita Hayworth: A Photographic Retrospective" by Caren Roberts-Frenzel.
(1989) Release of the book, "If This was Happiness: A Biography of Rita Hayworth" by Barbara Leaming.
(1983) Release of the book, "Rita: The Life of Rita Hayworth" Joe Morella and Edward Z. Epstein.
(1983) Release of the book, "Rita Hayworth: A Memoir" by James Hill.
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