Rita Hayworth, born Margarita Carmen Cansino (October 17th 1918 — May 14th 1987) was a famous film actress and one of the most iconic pin-up girls of The Golden Age of Hollywood.
She was born in Brooklyn to a Spanish father and an American mother. Her father was a dance teacher who started up an act with his daughter when Rita was 12. She was signed to a contract by Fox Studios and made her film debut in 1935, and spent the next few years playing mostly bit parts and dancing. After she was let go by Fox she was signed by Columbia Pictures. Studio head Harry Cohn, whom she eventually grew to hate, gave her a Race Lift, which included electrolysis to raise her hair line, dyeing her hair red, and changing her name to her mother's maiden name of Hayworth.
Hayworth started to get bigger parts in 1939 and got her big break in 1941 with The Strawberry Blonde, in which she costarred with James Cagney and Olivia de Havilland. This was followed by You'll Never Get Rich, a musical with Hayworth and Fred Astaire that made her a huge star. At the same time, a picture of Hayworth wearing a black negligee that ran in LIFE magazine became one of the most famous pin-up posters of the era.
Hayworth continued to enjoy success throughout The '40s, playing femme fatales and appearing in more dance movies. After a four-year hiatus due to her marriage with Pakistani Prince Aly Khan, she returned to the screen in 1952 and had several more hits in The '50s, including Academy Award nominee Separate Tables. By him she had her only child, Yasmin Aga Khan (styled as Princess).
Hayworth's personal life was fairly tumultuous, with five marriages, including to the aforementioned Aly Khan as well as to Orson Welles, who directed and co-starred with her in The Lady from Shanghai. She was also the aunt of voice actor Richard Cansino. She had a drinking problem, and her erratic behavior in The '70s was originally misattributed to alcohol until she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. Her illness, which eventually led to her death in 1987, raised public awareness of the then little-known disease. Yasmin Aga Khan, her daughter by Prince Aly, looked after Hayworth for her last years of struggling with the disease, and she has since raised awareness of it along with being a strong philanthropist raising charitable funds for Alzheimer's sufferers.
Rita Hayworth films on TV Tropes:
- Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
- The Strawberry Blonde (1941)
- Cover Girl (1944)
- Gilda (1946)
- The Lady from Shanghai (1947)
- Pal Joey (1957)
- Separate Tables (1958)
Tropes associated with Rita Hayworth's work include:
- Latino Is Brown: Hayworth averted this with her fair looks, though studio head Harry Cohn made her look even more "white" for her roles.
- Ms. Fanservice: Very much so, in her films and was a pin-up girl in real life.
- Those Two Actors: She made many films with Glenn Ford,note and then a few with Fred Astaire.