Glamorous Rita Hayworth was a terrific dancer and actress who was one of the top Hollywood stars in the 1940s. Rita was born in Brooklyn, New York to a Spanish father and American-Irish mother, both professional dancers who encouraged their daughter to dance from an early age:
“From the time I was three and a half … as soon as I could stand on my own feet, I was given dance lessons. I didn’t like it very much … but I didn’t have the courage to tell my father, so I began taking the lessons. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, that was my girlhood.” Rita Hayworth
Appearing in her first film at the age of 16, Rita changed her name from Margarita Carmen Cansino and dyed her hair red, altering her Mediterranean image before she saw her real success. And the success was enormous, with Rita securing mass appeal which saw her featured on the cover of Life magazine five times from 1940.
I think of Rita as the epitome of glamour, exuding sexuality and celebrating her femininity. She was a pin up girl for servicemen during the Second World War and won a modelling contract with Max Factor securing her role as a beauty icon.
Rita was beautiful, but let’s not forget her talent. She held her own when dancing with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly and appeared in 61 films in her lifetime. Pretty impressive stuff, don’t you think?