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February 6, 2016

22 Interesting Facts About Rita Hayworth, the Most Glamorous Screen Idol of the 1940s

Popularly addressed as The Love Goddess, Rita Hayworth was one of the most glamorous actresses in the history of Hollywood. She was an exceptionally talented dancer and her awe-inspiring performances set her apart from other actresses of her time. She amused and entertained the American people during grief-stricken period of World War II, with her enchanting dance performances in films like Tonight and Every Night, Down to Earth’ and ‘Cover Girl.

Here, below are 22 interesting facts about Rita Hayworth:

1. Some legends say the Margarita cocktail was named for her when she was dancing under her real name in a Tijuana, Mexico nightclub.

The Margarita cocktail

2. Her first (uncredited) appearance on film was with the dancing Cansino family in a Vitaphone short La Fiesta (1926).

The set for Vitaphone short La Fiesta with Anna Case at the Manhattan Opera House.

3. She appeared five times on the cover of LIFE magazine.

Rita Hayworth 1941, LIFE magazine cover.

4. The famous Bob Landry photo of Rita in LIFE, 11 August 1941, p. 33, made her the number 2 soldier pin-up of World War II.

Summer of 1941, August 11th edition of LIFE. Rita Hayworth promoting the movie 'You'll Never Get Rich.' Photographed by Bob Landry.

5. Her own singing voice is heard in the introductions to her songs (otherwise dubbed by Jo Ann Greer) in Pal Joey (1957).

Poster of Pal Joey, 1957.

6. She 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.

Barbara Stanwyck and John Boles in A Message To Garcia, 1936.

7. The image of her face was glued onto an A-bomb which was dropped on the Bikini Atoll during a test in 1946.

Extraordinary sleuthing connects Rita Hayworth and the atom bomb.

8. Through her mother she is part Irish and part English.

Rita Hayworth with mother Volga, father Eduardo Cansino, and brother Vernon.

9. In the early 1940s, she replaced Jean Arthur as the top female star at Columbia Pictures. Coincidentally, the two stars share the same birthday (October 17).

Publicity photo of Jean Arthur, c. 1939.

10. The famous red hair was not her natural color (which was black). When she was signed, studio heads decided that her hairline was too low on her forehead, and she underwent years of painful electrolysis to make it higher.

Rita Hayworth is shown in this 1947 photo.

11. It was James Hill, her fifth husband, who recognised her true talent as a comedienne. He tried to encourage her to do more comedy, but she felt that it was too late and instead began to resent him for pushing her into more work.

Rita Hayworth and James Hill

12. Knocked out two of Glenn Ford's teeth during their fight in Gilda (1946).

Glenn Ford and Rita Hayworth.

13. In 1946, an expedition into the wilderness of Canada's unexplored Headless Valley came across an abandoned trapper's shack. In it the expedition found three things: a candle, a can of beans, and a picture of Rita.

Phil Silvers, Rita Hayworth, and Gene Kelly having lots of fun rehearsing for Make Way for Tomorrow.

14. On May 27, 1949, she married Prince Aly Khan. Many people forget that Rita, not Grace Kelly, was the first movie star to become a princess.

Aly Khan – Rita Hayworth wedding.

15. She was the producers' first choice for Casablanca (1942), but they couldn't get her and were fortunate to settle for Ingrid Bergman.

Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca, 1942.

16. The Maria Vargas character (played by Ava Gardner) in the 1954 Joseph L. Mankiewicz film The Barefoot Contessa (1954)) was based on her.

Ava Gardner in a scene from The Barefoot Contessa (1954).

17. She was the first bombshell to appear on one of the posters in The Shawshank Redemption (1994). (The other two were Marilyn Monroe and Raquel Welch).

Rita Hayworth in The Shawshank Redemption (1994).

18. Under of the influence of second husband Orson Welles, Rita began to read classic literature. While pregnant in 1944, she was very impressed by Walter Scott's "Ivanhoe" and named her firstborn daughter Rebecca after the novel's heroine.

Title page of Walter Scott's Ivanhoe, 1st edition.

19. She was a lifelong liberal Democrat.

Rita Hayworth at the 36th Annual Academy Awards Gala, 1964.

20. Became the first public face for Alzheimer's. During the 1960s she began forgetting her lines. The people around her thought it was due to drinking. Looking back it is believed she was in the early stages of Alzheimer's.

Rita Hayworth in The Happy Thieves (1961).

21. In February 1987, Rita Hayworth fell into a semi coma and she died three months later.

A beautiful portrait of Rita Hayworth.

22. On May 15, 1987, President Ronald Reagan issued the following statement on the death of Rita Hayworth: "Rita Hayworth was one of our country's most beloved stars. Glamorous and talented, she gave us many wonderful moments on stage and screen and delighted audiences from the time she was a young girl. In her later years, Rita became known for her struggle with Alzheimer's disease. Her courage and candor, and that of her family, were a great public service in bringing worldwide attention to a disease which we all hope will soon be cured. Nancy and I are saddened by Rita's death. She was a friend who we will miss. We extend our deep sympathy to her family."

US President Ronald W. Reagan shaking hands with Rita Hayworth's daughter Yasmine Kahn in 1987.


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