Rita Hayworth

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Rita Hayworth
Margarita Carmen Cansino
BirthplaceBrooklyn, New York, U.S.
Actress, dancer

Hayworth, Rita (b. Margarita Carmen Cansino)

(1918–87) movie actress; born in New York City. Child of then well-known Latin dancer, Eduardo Cansino, she began dancing in public at age six and began her movie career in her teens, dancing as a sultry señorita. She took some acting lessons, changed her name, and (with her now red hair) started a new career. She proved to be a versatile performer, at home in musicals (although her singing was dubbed), more than able-bodied as a sex goddess (as in Gilda, 1946), and maturing into a creditable actress in such movies as Separate Tables (1958). Her offscreen life had its own glamour, what with her marriages to Orson Welles and Aly Khan, but two more unhappy marriages and Alzheimer's disease clouded her final years.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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Hayworth was about 18 when she landed a Columbia Pictures contract with help from her manager, and spouse, Edward Judson, at whose urging she downplayed her heritage to widen her appeal.