Click on any of the Rita Hayworth Wing pieces below to enlarge, then use the arrows on the screen or your keyboard to peruse the rest.
The term “love goddess” was created for her. During the 1940’s and World War II she was the number one pin up queen until Betty Grable came along to share the crown.
Rita looks like she should have lived a charmed life but it was as far from that as possible. As a youngster, she was an important part of the dancing Cansino’s. Her father was a dancer and her family was in show business. Her mother had even been with the Ziegfeld Follies. Rita grew up in a world of dance and entertainment and her father had big dreams for her. She began dancing lessons at 3 years old and as she has said, “I rehearsed and rehearsed and rehearsed.” She never had a normal childhood. At 6 she began to entertain publicly; at 12 she officially began dancing as a partner with her father.
Rita married young to a much older man who saw her potential to be a star. He encouraged her to change her name from Rita Cansino to Rita Hayworth. Then he, with the blessing of the studio, lifted her hair line and changed the color to red. Rita was literally transformed into a great beauty who could sing, dance and act. The 1940’s brought her to the forefront of the category “Hollywood Goddess”. Check out the personality poster of Rita. Wow! I just love that one.
You Were Never Lovelier was also a great success as a movie. She danced with Fred Astaire and it was a magical partnership. Fred, in later years, admitted that Rita was his favorite partner. Considering that he had danced with Ginger Rogers in so many movies, biographer, Charlie Reinhart, explained that Fred danced with beauty and eloquence and Rita danced explosively. Together they ignited the screen. She also performed with Fred in You’ll Never Get Rich. My personal favorite movie with Rita was Cover Girl. She danced with Gene Kelly and the song Long Ago and Far Away is from that movie. Together, she and Kelly and that song were magical.
The Down to Earth poster is extremely rare and one of my favorites from famed artist Anselmo Ballester. All of his posters are extraordinary. We have several which I treasure.
Rita married many times. She was a gentle creature and she wanted love, but life had other plans. She was to be a major star and have two daughters, Rebecca Welles with Orson Welles and Princess Yasmin Kahn with Aly Kahn.
Rita’s life was not without its challenges but she left a legacy of work that has withstood the test of time. Her most famous film is probably Gilda, but in every movie in which she appears, she lit up the screen.
If Rita were alive today, she would see that she was recognized for her iconic image and her extraordinary talent. Also, on a serious note, because she was one of the first people to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, she opened the door for this disease to be brought into the public eye. Her daughter, Princess Yasmin, has been a force raising awareness of this. She took care of her mother until her death and now she is helping others in her mother’s name.
In the meantime, enjoy these images of Rita in all her glory. She would have liked that.
What is fascinating about Rita is that although she was one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood, she never felt confident. The quotes below reflect her insecurities.
Rita Hayworth Quotes:
“All I wanted was just what everybody else wanted, you know, to be loved.”
“Every man I knew went to bed with Gilda, and woke up with me.”
“Basically, I am a good gentle person, but I am attracted to mean personalities.”
“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 daughters.”
“I guess the only jewels in my life were the pictures I made with Fred Astaire.”
“I can’t take his genius anymore.” (I think she is talking about Orson Welles here)
“I haven’t had everything from life. I’ve had too much.”
“I never really thought of myself as a sex goddess; I felt I was more a comedian who could dance.”
“No one can be Gilda 24 hours a day.”