The Love Goddess
Margarita Carmen Cansino, a girl known to the world as Rita Hayworth, was one of the most glamorous actresses in cinema history. But… she was much more than a beautiful face. Circle touches the various touched and untouched facets of the life of this Hollywood Diva…
Rita Hayworth was a much better actress than the critics ever acknowledged. Who can ever forget her steamy portrayal of Gilda? It is a credit to her abilities that she was able to play characters like Gilda and Miss Sadie Thompson so flawlessly that the world thought of the person and the image as one in the same. An exceptionally talented dancer, Rita’s performances embodied a combination of strength and sensitivity that set her apart from other screen sirens, and made her just as popular with female audiences. Rita brightened America during World War II with her dancing in musicals like Cover Girl, and displayed her evolving acting talents in films like The Loves of Carmen and Miss Sadie Thompson. Starring in movies for nearly four decades, she became one of the all-time great Hollywood legends.
Spanish dancer Eduardo Cansino’s daughter Margarita was trained as a dancer from early childhood. Her mature looks got her into Eduardo’s stage act at the age of 12. Her Fox contract was dropped after 5 small roles, but expert, exploitative promotion by her first husband Edward Judson soon brought Rita a new contract at Columbia, where studio head Harry Cohn (I) changed her name to Hayworth and approved raising her hairline by electrolysis. After 13 mainly minor roles, Columbia lent her to Warner Brothers for her first big success, The Strawberry Blonde in 1941; her splendid dancing with Astaire in You’ll Never Get Rich (1941) made her a star. After several ups and downs, the lady finally got what she truly deserved — The Love Goddess.
The desire of many, queen of none
From her persona, it is hard to believe that the real Rita was a very shy woman with great insecurities. Yearning for true love all her life, Rita had five marriages and five divorces: first to Edward C. Judson (1937-1943), followed by actor–director Orson Welles (1943-1948, one daughter Rebecca Welles), to Prince Aly Khan (1949-1953, one daughter Princess Yasmin Aga Khan), then to actor–singer Dick Haymes (1953-1955), and finally to director James Hill (1958-1961). It is said that because of the physical and sexual abuse she endured from her father during her childhood, Rita had difficult relationships with men her whole life. As commented her second ex-husband, Orson Welles, “If this was happiness, imagine what the rest of her life had been. Only when the cameras rolled did she turn on the explosive sexual charisma that in Gilda (1946) made her a superstar.” To Rita, domestic bliss was truly important. , if elusive, goal, and in 1949 she interrupted her career for marriage, unhappy almost from the start, to playboy Prince Aly Khan. Her films after divorce from Aly 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 until her death at age 68.
¥ The annual Rita Hayworth charity gala, managed by Rita’s daughter Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, raised $1.8 million in 1999 alone for the Alzheimer’s Association.
¥ Rita was ranked # 98 in October 1997 in Empire (UK) magazine’s “The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time” list.
¥ Some legends claim that the Margarita cocktail was named after her when she was dancing under her real name in a Tijuana, Mexico nightclub.
¥ Rita’s first (uncredited) appearance in a film was with the dancing Cansino family in a Vitaphone short La Fiesta (1926).
¥ Rita appeared 5 times on the cover of Life Magazine.
¥ The famous Bob Landry photo of Rita in Life on August 11, 1941, page 33, made her the number 2 soldier pin-up of World War II.
¥ Rita’s singing was dubbed by Nan Wynn (1941-44), Martha Mears (1945), Anita Ellis (1946-48), and Jo Ann Greer (1952-57).
¥ Rita’s own singing voice is heard in the introductions to her songs (otherwise dubbed by Jo Ann Greer) in Pal Joey (1957).
¥ Rita owned the production company ‘Hillworth Productions AG’ , together with her fifth husband James Hill (II).
¥ Rita Hayworth played the sister of Barbara Stanwyck in A Message to Garcia (1936), but after a test screening all her scenes were cut at the request of Darryl F. Zanuck.
¥ Her face was glued onto an A-bomb which was dropped on the Bikini Atol during a test in 1946.
¥ Rita was chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#54) in 1995.
Journey down the hair
From jet black hair, pulled into a bun to flowing red locks, Rita Hayworth’s hair was her trademark.
· In the beginning of her career under the name of Rita Cansino, she sported a jet black slicked into a bun do.
· During 1939 until the early part of 1940, already "Rita Hayworth", her hair was still dark, but styled down and split in the middle to copy the Hedy Lamarr look which many starlets adopted at the time. She "premiered" this style in Only Angels Have Wings.
· The finishing touch in the transformation from Cansino to Hayworth, was when Rita’s hair was dyed to it’s signature ravishing red color. She dyed her brunette locks red for the title role in The Strawberry Blonde.
· Rita traveled back in time to achieve the turn-of-the-century coif from My Gal Sal and Gilda.
· For just one movie, The Lady From Shanghai, under the guidance of her former husband, Orson Welles, Rita’s hair was cropped short and dyed a shade known as "topaz blonde."
Quotes by Rita Hayworth
- “Men go to bed with Gilda, but wake up with me.”
- “I haven’t had everything from life. I’ve had too much.”
Quotes on Rita Hayworth
· “I wish I had just for once got a chance to work with Rita” – Madhur Bhandarkar, filmmaker
· “The best thing about Rita Hayworth was that every role she played seemed to have been written personally for her. The cine-world has had very few fine actresses.” – Mahesh Bhatt, filmmaker
· “Rita Hayworth was not an actress, she was an instate of acting and dancing” – Arshad Warsi, actor
· “Her consummate beauty will always remain unsurpassed and unrivalled.” – Malaika Arora Khan, film actress and model
· “What you saw on the screen was truth. I adored Rita and she was very close to me.” – Glenn Ford, co-star of Hayworth in Glida