Title List Changes

Outside U.S. and Canada

Customer Center

  • support.gale.com
  • Gale Community
  • Join us on   Join Us on Twitter  Join Us on Facebook    Join Us on YouTube
  • Product Training
  • E-newsletters

Product Center

Hispanic Heritage

Rita Hayworth

Also known as: Margarita Carmen Cansino, Margarita Carman Cansino

Birth: October 17, 1918 in New York, New York, United States
Death: May 14, 1987 in New York, New York, United States
Occupation: Actor

Rita Hayworth's life might serve as the prototype for that of the glamorous movie queen, the classic story of the beautiful young woman trapped in a profession that took over her life in ways she found difficult to understand, much less control. Born into a show-business family, Hayworth went to work early as a dancing partner for her father, Eduardo Cansino of The Dancing Cansinos. Her grace and beauty soon attracted Hollywood, and, after a lackluster beginning playing bit parts as a Latin type in B pictures, she was remade from an ethnic beauty into an all-American glamour girl through new makeup, hair color, and an electrolysis treatment that lifted her hairline. The careful exploitation of her as the ultimate in Hollywood 1940s desirability brought her fame and wealth, but little happiness.

The Hayworth image was always sexy and alluring, but she didn't play in only one type of film. She was the dancing star of 1940s escapist musicals, and at the same time she played femmes fatales in a series of films noir. Her first real success as a leading lady came in 1941, and her films that year reflect these differences: Rouben Mamoulian's Blood and Sand, in which she was the temptress Doña Sol, and You'll Never Get Rich, in which she was Fred Astaire's dancing partner. She made another film with Astaire, You Were Never Lovelier, and many felt that Hayworth, a natural dancer with great stamina and rhythm, was Astaire's best on-screen partner. Although her singing had to be dubbed, she found great success in the musicals of the 1940s.

Two of the most financially successful and best remembered films of the war years starred Hayworth: the musical Cover Girl, in which she co-starred with Gene Kelly, and the sexually suggestive Gilda, opposite Glenn Ford. Cover Girl presented Hayworth in a Technicolor version of her own story. An ordinary dancer is transformed before the audience's eyes via clothing and makeup into a dazzling face on a magazine cover. She becomes a famous model as well as a successful musical comedy star, descending, as it seems, from the very heavens as she dances down a gigantic ramp in flowing chiffon. (Needless to say, none of it brings her happiness.) In Gilda she is used and abused by more than one man, and her apparent passivity allows her to be victimized and degraded, culminating in her famous striptease "Put the Blame on Mame, Boys." Hayworth's image as a destructive but pliable woman seemed to stick with her after Gilda. "Every man I've known has fallen in love with Gilda and wakened with me," she allegedly told a friend. One of her ex-husbands, Orson Welles, used Hayworth's image as a passive yet destructive temptress in his film The Lady from Shanghai. Whether Hayworth played in musicals or dramas, she was always the ultimate in desirability. When in 1948 Life magazine dubbed her "The Love Goddess," she was officially marked with the tagline that would plague her the rest of her life. The issue coincided with the release of her film Down to Earth, in which she played the Greek goddess of dance, Terpsichore. Her image as a woman men could not resist was further enhanced by her five unhappy marriages, in particular her wedding to Prince Ali Khan in 1949. This publicity bonanza, fully exploited by the tabloids, made Hayworth into an international celebrity. She soon returned to Hollywood, however, and resumed her career, although she would never regain the fame she had in the 1940s.

Hayworth continued to perform during the 1960s and 1970s, occasionally trying her hand at television or a serious drama, such as her role in Rattigan's Separate Tables, for which she received good reviews. Hayworth's most famous and successful films, musical or dramatic, tend to deal with her as a woman whose image does not truthfully reflect her personality, and for whom success, riches, and beauty bring no real and lasting personal satisfaction. Sadly enough, it seemed to be the story of her own life.

Personal Information

Nationality: American. Born: Margarita Carmen Cansino in New York City, 17 October 1918. Education: Attended Hamilton High School, and Carthay School, Los Angeles. Family: Married 1) Edward C. Judson, 1936 (divorced 1942); 2) the director and actor Orson Welles, 1943 (divorced 1948), daughter: Rebecca; 3) Prince Ali Khan, 1949 (divorced 1953), daughter: Princess Yasmin; 4) the singer Dick Haymes, 1953 (divorced 1955); 5) the producer James Hill, 1958 (divorced 1961). Career: 1926 — film debut with her family group The Dancing Cansinos in La Fiesta; 1932 — professional stage debut in Los Angeles; 1934-35 — dancer with her father at Foreign Club, Tijuana, Mexico, and on California gambling boat; 1935 — adult film debut in Dante's Inferno, then one-year contract with Fox; 1937 — contract with Columbia; 1958 — freelance acting career began with Separate Tables, and continued into 1970s. Died: In New York City, 14 May 1987.

Works

Films as Actress: as Rita Cansino

  • 1926: La Fiesta (short) (as Anna Case)
  • 1934: Cruz diablo (The Devil's Cross) (De Fuentes)
  • 1935: Under the Pampas Moon (Tinling) (as Carmen)
  • 1935: Charlie Chan in Egypt (King) (as Nayda)
  • 1935: Dante's Inferno (Lachman) (as speciality dancer)
  • 1935: Paddy O'Day (Seiler) (as Tamana Petrovich)
  • 1935: Piernas de seda (Silk Legs) (Boland)
  • 1936: Human Cargo (Dwan) (as Carmen Zorro)
  • 1936: Meet Nero Wolfe (Biberman) (as Maria Maningula)
  • 1936: Rebellion (Lady from Frisco) (Shores) (as Paula Castillo)
  • 1936: A Message to Garcia (Marshall)
  • 1937: Trouble in Texas (Bradbury) (as Carmen)
  • 1937: Old Louisianna (Treason) (Willat) (as Angela Gonzales)
  • 1937: Hit the Saddle (Wright) (as Rita)

Films as Actress: as Rita Hayworth

  • 1937: Criminals of the Air (Coleman) (as Rita)
  • 1937: Girls Can Play (Hillyer) (as Sue Collins)
  • 1937: The Shadow (The Circus Shadow) (Coleman) (as Mary Gillespie)
  • 1937: The Game That Kills (Lederman) (as Betty Holland)
  • 1937: Paid to Dance (Coleman) (as Betty Morom)
  • 1938: Who Killed Gail Preston? (Barsha) (title role)
  • 1938: There's Always a Woman (Hall) (as Mary)
  • 1938: Convicted (Barsha) (as Jerry Wheelen)
  • 1938: Juvenile Court (Lederman) (as Marcia Adams)
  • 1938: The Renegade Ranger (Howard) (as Judith Alvarez)
  • 1938: Homicide Bureau (Coleman) (as J. G. Bliss)
  • 1939: The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt (The Lone Wolf's Daughter) (Godfrey) (as Karen)
  • 1939: Special Inspector (Across the Border) (Barsha) (as Patricia Lane)
  • 1939: Only Angels Have Wings (Hawks) (as Judy MacPherson)
  • 1939: Music in My Heart (Santley) (as Patricia O'Malley)
  • 1940: Blondie on a Budget (Strayer) (as Jean Forrester)
  • 1940: Susan and God (The Gay Mrs. Trexel) (Cukor) (as Leonora Stubbs)
  • 1940: The Lady in Question (C. Vidor) (as Natalie Rougin)
  • 1940: Angels over Broadway (Hecht and Garmes) (as Nina Barona)
  • 1941: The Strawberry Blonde (Walsh) (as Virginia Bush)
  • 1941: Affectionately Yours (Bacon) (as Irene Malcolm)
  • 1941: Blood and Sand (Mamoulian) (as Doña Sol)
  • 1941: You'll Never Get Rich (Lanfield) (as Sheila Winthrop)
  • 1942: My Gal Sal (Cummings) (as Sally Elliot)
  • 1942: Tales of Manhattan (Duvivier) (as Ethel Halloway)
  • 1942: You Were Never Lovelier (Seiter) (as Marina Aluna)
  • 1943: Show Business at War
  • 1944: Cover Girl (C. Vidor) (as Rusty Parka/Maribelle Hicks)
  • 1945: Tonight and Every Night (Saville) (as Rosalind Bruce)
  • 1946: Gilda (C. Vidor) (title role)
  • 1947: Down to Earth (Hall) (as Terpsichore/Kitty Pendleton)
  • 1948: The Lady from Shanghai (Welles) (as Elsa Barrister)
  • 1948: The Loves of Carmen (C. Vidor) (title role)
  • 1951: Champagne Safari (Leighter — documentary of Hayworth and Khan wedding trip)
  • 1952: Affair in Trinidad (Sherman) (as Chris Emery)
  • 1953: Salome (Dieterle) (title role)
  • 1953: Miss Sadie Thompson (Bernhardt) (title role)
  • 1957: Fire Down Below (Parrish) (as Irena)
  • 1957: Pal Joey (Sidney) (as Vera Simpson)
  • 1958: Separate Tables (Mann) (as Ann Shankland)
  • 1959: They Came to Cordura (Rossen) (as Adelaide Gears)
  • 1960: The Story on Page One (Odets) (as Jo Morris)
  • 1962: The Happy Thieves (Marshall) (as Eve Lewis)
  • 1964: Circus World (The Magnificent Showman) (Hathaway) (as Lila Alfredo)
  • 1966: The Money Trap (Kennedy) (as Rosalie Kenny)
  • 1966: The Poppy Is Also a Flower (Danger Grows Wild) (Young) (as Monique)
  • 1967: The Rover (L'Avventuriero) (Young) (as Caterina)
  • 1971: Sons of Satan (I Bastardi, I gatti; The Cats) (Tessari) (as Martha)
  • 1971: Road to Salina (La Route de Salina) (Lautner) (as Mara)
  • 1971: The Naked Zoo (The Naked Lovers; The Hallucinators) (Grefé)
  • 1972: The Wrath of God (Nelson) (as Semona de la Plata)
  • 1976: Circle (Seidelman)

Further Readings

Publications

Books

  • Rosen, Marjorie, Popcorn Venus, New York, 1973.
  • Ringgold, Gene, The Films of Rita Hayworth: The Legend and Career of a Love Goddess, Secaucus, New Jersey, 1974.
  • Kobal, John, Rita Hayworth: The Time, the Place, and the Woman, New York, 1978.
  • Hill, James, Rita Hayworth: A Memoir, New York, 1983.
  • Morella, Joseph, and Edward Z. Epstein, Rita: The Life of Rita Hayworth, New York, 1983.
  • Dureau, Christian, Rita Hayworth, Paris, 1985.
  • Merrill, Gary, Bette, Rita, and the Rest of My Life, Augusta, Maine, 1988.
  • Leaming, Barbara, If This Was Happiness: A Biography of Rita Hayworth, New York, 1989.

Articles

  • Kobal, John, "The Time, the Place and the Girl: Rita Hayworth," in Focus on Film (London), Summer 1972.
  • Stanke, Don, "Rita Hayworth," in Films in Review (New York), November 1972
  • Drew, Bernard, "Heartbreak Hollywood," in American Film (Washington, D.C.), June 1977.
  • Obituary, in Variety (New York), 20 May 1987.
  • Pulleine, Tim, obituary, in Films and Filming (London), July 1987.
  • Mille, A., "Rita Hayworth: Star en mouvement," in Positif (Paris), September 1987.
  • McLean, Adrienne L., "I'm a Casino: Transformation, Ethnicity, and Authenticity in the Construction of Rita Hayworth, American Love Goddess," in Journal of Film and Video (Atlanta), Fall-Winter 1992-1993.
  • Stars (Mariembourg), Autumn 1994.
  • McLean, Adrienne L., "The Cinderella Princess and the Instrument of Evil: Surveying the Limits of Female Transgression in Two Postwar Hollywood Scandals," in Cinema Journal (Austin), Spring 1995.
  • Helling, William P., "Rita Hayworth's The Loves of Carmen as Literary Criticism," in Literature/Film Quarterly (Salisbury), October 1996.

Source Citation

International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 3: Actors and Actresses, 4th ed. St. James Press, 2000.
Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale. 2004.

Contact   |   Careers Cengage Learning     —     Higher Education | School | Professional | Library & Research | Global
Copyright Notices | Terms of Use | Privacy Statement | Accessibility | Report Piracy