Rita Hayworth

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Rita Hayworth (17 October 1918 Brooklyn, New York – 14 May 1987 New York City), born Margarita Carmen Cansino, was one of the most strikingly beautiful and naturally talented of all of the great stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood. In her heyday in the 1940s, the singing and dancing Hayworth with the fiery auburn hair became the number one box office draw, and was Columbia Pictures’ only bona fide contract star of that decade. Virtually every movie she starred in during the forties was a smash hit, one release after another opening at the prestigious Radio City Music Hall in New York City: You’ll Never Get Rich (1941); My Gal Sal (1942); Tales of Manhattan (1942); You Were Never Lovelier (1942); Cover Girl (1944); Tonight and Every Night (1945); Gilda (1946); Down to Earth (1947). In her two films with Fred Astaire, You’ll Never Get Rich — which landed Rita on the cover of Time magazine — and You Were Never Lovelier; and in Cover Girl, her film with Gene Kelly, Rita showed herself to be a fantastic dancer, a luminous personality, and a charming actress. She was also the subject of many millions of glamorous photographs circulating around the world. The American soldiers during World War II embraced Hayworth as one of their most popular pin-up girls. Her famous looking-over-her-shoulder-while-kneeling-on-the-bed pose, from Life magazine (August 11, 1941), was distributed in the millions and tacked up in barracks for the G.I.s’ delectation, and as a “cheesecake” shot was second in popularity only to perky Betty Grable in her white bathing suit. At the height of her popularity in the 1940s-50s, Hayworth suffered as much invasive photographer activity as Lady Diana some years later. For a time Rita Hayworth was America’s ideal of womanhood. Life, in 1947, called her The Love Goddess.