Rita Hayworth.




By the time Margarita Cansino made it big, she'd transformed.

Cansino, AKA Rita Hayworth, AKA an all-American “love goddess,” was born on this day in 1918. After being discovered in a Mexican nightclub, she went on to become one of the 1940s' most famous stars and a pinup icon for World War II soldiers. To reach this status, she changed her name and her appearance in many ways that seemed to obscure her Latina roots–but the story is more complicated than that.

Although modern readers might be surprised to hear that Rita Hayworth was Hispanic, her heritage was common knowledge during the years of her stardom, writes Erin Blakemore for JStor Daily. “Transformation was always a part of Hayworth's appeal,” Blakemore writes.

In the process of becoming Rita Hayworth, Margarita Carmen Cansino went through a number of transformations–from her name to a makeover that “eliminated most traces of her ethnicity,” Blakemore writes. But studios highlighted the diets, the painful treatments to change her hairline and the name change–Hayworth was her Irish-American mother's maiden name –as evidence of her value.

At the same time, Blakemore writes that Hayworth's ethnicity was a big part of the reason behind her stardom, even though it appears that she turned away from it. Her identity “gave her a path to stardom because it allowed her to mix wholesomeness and sex appeal,” Blakemore writes. This mix allowed her to earn the title of “American Love Goddess,” writes scholar Adrienne L. McLean.

An important area where Cansino/Hayworth's Latina identity shone through was dance, writes author Priscilla Peña Ovalle. Even though she'd undergone a full “glamour makeover” by the studio, transforming in on-screen appearance from a visibly Latina person to a white one, she continued to dance in a manner that was seen as sexualized, "ethnic" and, to Fred Astaire at least, more appealing than the dance of other stars. Astaire, with whom she starred in two films, said she was his favorite dance partner.

“As a Cansino, Rita found that dance was an expected and compulsory part of her racialization as an ethnic dancer or cantina girl in Hollywood; as Hayworth, dance primarily functioned as a measure and limit of her characterization,” writes Ovalle. “When Rita was paired with Fred Astaire in You'll Never Get Rich (1941), her sensual dance style was reborn as an unexpected talent from an all-American girl.”

A complicated mix of ethnicity and transformation helped make Hayworth a high-value star in the Hollywood studio system. Although her personal life was laced with tragedy , she successfully walked a line in her career, one that historians continue to study to see the roots of Hollywood's complicated relationship with race.

Source: smithsonianmag.com

In 1947, Hayworth's new contract with Columbia provided a salary of $250,000 plus 50% of film's profits.

Rita Hayworth's height, hair colour and other vital statistics!

Naturally a brunette, Hayworth found fame as a redhead. She was 5'6 tall and weighed a tiny 8.5 stone.

Source: yours.co.ukAs Clinton Heylin explains in his book Despite The System: Orson Welles Versus the Hollywood Studios (2005),

Columbia had hoped to emulate the smouldering husband-and-wife chemistry Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall had exhibited in 1946's The Big Sleep but instead, “Welles portrayed his own screen goddess as a lying bitch who deserved to die.”

Soon after this unhappy experience she left Hollywood, shunning overtures from Aristotle Onassis and the Shah of Iran to marry promiscuous playboy Prince Aly Khan, son of the Aga Khan, a union branded “illicit” by Pope John XXIII. (independent.co.uk)

She was the top pin-up girl for GIs during World War II . [1] Hayworth is perhaps best known for her performance in the 1946 film noir Gilda , opposite Glenn Ford , in which she played the femme fatale in her first major dramatic role. (en.wikipedia.org)

The Love Goddess: Rita Hayworth’s Tragic Quest - Vanity Fair (vanityfair.com)

Summary:

  • According to Leaming, Hayworth would later tell Orson Welles that during this period her father sexually abused her.

  • The family soon moved to Chula Vista, near the Mexican border, so that Hayworth and her father could dance for Hollywood big shots like Carl Laemmle Jr. and Joseph Schenck in the swank nightclubs of Tijuana.

  • While her brothers played with the neighborhood kids, Leaming writes, Hayworth "never joined their games, although she often sat on the front porch staring silently ahead or seeming to watch as they played.

  • One day, Judson planned for his wife to go on a yacht and sleep with crude Columbia studio boss Harry Cohn, who had just signed her.
    Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth dancing synced to Jackie Wilson 'Higher and Higher' is pure joy - Smooth Radio (smoothradio.com)
    Summary:

    • You may have heard of syncing Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon album with The Wizard of Oz , but there's a much simpler and joyous equivalent.

    • A fantastic YouTube video has mashed-up a scene from Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth in the 1942 film

    • Jackie Wilson released 'Higher and Higher' from the album of the same name in 1967.

    • but the wrong husband for her.” He was proved right and Hayworth, divorced once more, returned to Los Angeles for projects like Affair in Trinidad (1952), Salome, Miss Sadie Thompson (both 1953), Pal Joey (1957) and Separate Tables (1958) but, in truth, her moment had passed. (independent.co.uk)

    • Shifra Haran claims that it was an intensely passionate time for them both. “I never saw the prince as a sex maniac,” she later said. “It was Miss Hayworth who was insatiable.” Intense sunlight made a blaze of the magnificent spectacle of His Highness Aga Khan III golden-jubilee procession. (vanityfair.com)

    • Hayworth left Hollywood to marry Prince Aly Khan and was suspended for failing to report to work on the film Affair in Trinidad . (en.wikipedia.org)

    • On December 28, 1949, Hayworth gave birth to the couple's only daughter, Princess Yasmin Aga Khan . (en.wikipedia.org)

    • In 1980 she was finally diagnosed with Alzheimer's and put under the care of her daughter Princess Yasmin. (yours.co.uk)

    • In 1939 she got critical acclaim playing the unfaithful wife opposite Cary Grant in Only Angels Have Wings and then she made Strawberry Blonde with James Cagney and You'll Never Get Rich with Fred Astaire. (yours.co.uk)




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