Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Beautiful Belles: Rita Hayworth

A series focusing on beautiful women throughout history with important contributions to the arts and entertainment industry and charity -- and a fabulous sense of beauty, inside and out!

Does it GET more divine than Rita Hayworth? The icon of the 1940s was famous for her perfectly flowing hair, perfectly red lips, perfectly curvy figure ... are you sensing a pattern here?

Born Margarita Carmen Cansino in Brooklyn in 1918, Hayworth began her career as a professional flamenco dancer. At 16, she was discovered by Fox Studios and worked there for two years before signing with Columbia Pictures in 1937. Movies such as Only Angels Have Wings with Cary Grant, Susan and God with Joan Crawford and Warner Bros.' The Strawberry Blonde with James Cagney followed. It was during this time that Hayworth became Hayworth -- borrowing her mother's maiden name of Haworth and adding in the "y."

It was also during this time that she began a series of electrology treatments to raise her hairline, sparking the decades that followed of people worldwide admiring her beauty. And what provoked it even more? The fact that she was willing to dye her dark brown hair auburn for the 1941 movie Blood and Sand, starring Tyrone Power. While other famous faces of the time refused, Hayworth got on board -- and this helped to make her a star.

"I never really thought of myself as a sex goddess. I felt I was more a comedian who could dance," Hayworth once said. Drawing on her dance experience, Hayworth starred in two musicals with Fred Astaire (and was even cited as his favorite dance partner), including 1941's You'll Never Get Rich; as well as Cover Girl with Gene Kelly. And who can forget the film noir Gilda, which gained new popularity after The Shawshank Redemption paid tribute to the beautiful Hayworth in 1994?

Hayworth's beauty came not only from her fiery auburn hair. Her big sparkling eyes, full pout and curvy figure that was the enviable physique of the day certainly contributed to her loveliness. Her shy and reclusive nature led her to comment at one point, "Men fell in love with Gilda, but they wake up with me."

Unfortunately, Hayworth passed away due to complications with Alzheimer's Disease in 1987. She will always be remembered for her elusive sexiness and sensuousness and her true charisma on screen, making her a true Beautiful Belle.

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