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Annette Kellerman Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (2)  | Trivia (13)  | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (4)

Born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Died in Southport, Australia  (undisclosed)
Birth NameAnnette Marie Sarah Kellerman
Nickname The Diving Venus

Mini Bio (1)

Annette Kellerman was born on July 6, 1887 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. She was an actress, known for Venus of the South Seas (1924), Jephtah's Daughter: A Biblical Tragedy (1909) and Queen of the Sea (1918). She was previously married to James R. Sullivan. She died on November 5, 1975 in Southport, Australia.

Family (2)

Spouse James R. Sullivan (26 November 1912 - 30 October 1975)
Relatives Maurice Kellerman (sibling)

Trivia (13)

In 1907, she was arrested in Boston for wearing a one-piece bathing suit which was considered in violation of the decency standards of the community.
Sister of cinematographer Maurice Kellerman.
Life story was made into the film Million Dollar Mermaid (1952) starring Esther Williams. An important scene in the film shows Annette being the scandal at a Boston beach for wearing a one-piece bathing suit in public. This action helped change the attitude of female beach-goers, who in the past wore billowy dress-like swimwear instead of more-revealing, less-dangerous swimsuits.
A scene of hers in A Daughter of the Gods (1916) is believed to be the first nude appearance in a major movie.
She made three attempts to swim the English Channel. They were unsuccessful but her determination added to her popularity.
She was a popular swimmer of the Edwardian era.
She was born with crippled legs, but overcame her handicap through swimming.
Passed away six days after her husband of 63 years, James R. Sullivan.
During World War II in Australia, she produced benefit shows for the Red Cross.
As a child, she was diagnosed with rickets (and not polio, as some false reports claimed).
She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6608 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.
Championed the one-piece bathing suit, but thought bikinis were "a mistake" because very few women had the bodies to wear them and have it look good.
Throughout the period of her greatest fame, she self-consciously addressed the gender-specific obstacles that confronted women athletes and performers, very often, addressing her female fans woman-to-woman. At the same time, she also demonstrated her desire to break down barriers by transgressing Victorian gender roles that insisted on the strict divide between the 'separate spheres.' Like many other notable women of the period, she simply wanted the same opportunities as men to participate in sports and entertainment.

Personal Quotes (1)

[on bikinis] The bikini bathing suit is a mistake. Only two women in a million can wear it and it's a very big mistake to try.

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