RITA HAYWORTH BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY:
Born Margarita Carmen Dolores Cansino on October 17, 1918 at New York Nursery and Child's Hospital, in New York City. Her parents were Volga Hayworth, of Irish and English descent, and Eduardo Cansino, who came from Seville, Spain. Rita was the eldest and only girl among their three children.
When Margarita was born, the family lived in a theatrical hotel near the Palace Theater in Manhattan where her father was appearing with his sister Elisa as "The Dancing Cansinos". Eduardo began teaching Margarita traditional Spanish dances as soon as she was on her feet and she turned out to be a natural. She spent most of her childhood learning dances and practicing. The training served her well in preparation for her future career.
When Margarita was eight years old, the Cansino's moved westward, near Hollywood, where Eduardo opened a dancing school at Sunset and Vine.. The school flourished at first, but as America sank deeper into The Great Depression, business dwindled and the school eventually closed. Soon after, Eduardo decided it was time for The Dancing Cansinos to make a comeback. Rita's career in show business had just begun. They opened at The Foreign Club Cafe de Luxe in Tijuana, Mexico on Christmas Day in 1932.
Margarita and Eduardo, as The Dancing Cansinos did shows in Agua Caliente, Tijuana, and later on a gambling ship anchored past the Mexican border. They were headliners in places like The Foreign Club Cafe de Luxe, The Hotel Caliente. These were busy times for Margarita. Between four shows a day and dancing lessons, she also had to fit in time to for school. Rita's daughter, Yasmin, said that she really had mixed feelings about her childhood. On the one hand she was quite proud of having been a Dancing Cansino, and on the other hand she did feel robbed, never having had a normal childhood. She was either training or performing, instead of playing and going to school like most children.
Rita made her official screen debut in the 1935 film, "Dante's Inferno", starring Spencer Tracy. Rita's part was a dance sequence to Ernesto Lecuona's "Maria La O", staged by her father. She made a few other films for Fox during this time. Rita was Spanish and she looked it. Fox capitalized on this, thinking they had found the new Dolores Del Rio, an enormously popular Hispanic actress of the time. Plans began on a remake of a 1928 Del Rio film, Ramona, in which Rita would play the lead. Ramona, was to be shot in Technicolor, with Gilbert Roland as her co-star. But by mid 1935, the Fox Film Corporation had become Twentieth Century-Fox and Darryl F. Zanuck took over. He gave Rita's part to Fox's resident leading lady, Loretta Young. Taking stock of the actors he had under contract, Zanuck did not see any potential in Rita, and decided to drop her from her contract. It was a major set back for her but a few years later Zanuck would have to borrow her from Columbia Pictures so she could appear in the movie that made her a major star, "Blood and Sand".
During this time, Rita freelanced and found roles in movies at Grand National, Republic and other low budget studios. It was about this time that Rita married Ed Judson. He was something of a mystery man. No one really knew what he did. He was credited with many different professions but what is certain is that he had an eye for talent and was a very good promoter. During their marriage he campaigned on Rita's behalf, helping to advance her budding career to its next stage, that of promising starlet.
Not long after their marriage, Columbia studio head Harry Cohn signed Rita to a seven-year contract. At Columbia, her Spanish image slowly began to fade. One of the first things they did was change her last name to her mother's maiden name, Hayworth. Rita's hair color was lightened from jet black to a shade of dark brown (her trademark auburn tresses would come later). They then moved back her hairline to give her a broader forehead and emphasize a widow's peak. With all these changes going on, she began to emerge as one of the studio's prospective stars.
Rita began her career at Columbia Pictures with the movie "Criminals of the Air". By the time it was released she was known as Rita Hayworth.
In 1938, director Howard Hawks began looking for an actress to cast as Judy MacPherson in his upcoming film starring Cary Grant and Jean Arthur. Rita got the part. The movie was "Only Angels Have Wings". It was Rita's best film to date.
In 1941 The United States had entered World War II and the GI's at home and abroad made Rita one of their favorite pin-up girls. She showed her appreciation to them in many ways, including appearances at the Hollywood Canteen where she danced with them until dawn, washed dishes, made sandwiches and served coffee. She also appeared in many USO shows put on for the troops.
In 1942 Rita divorced her first husband and entered into a relationship with Orson Welles. Rita gave birth to her first child, daughter Rebecca Welles, on December 17, 1944.
Rita's last feature film, "The Wrath of God", was released in 1972. In the 70's, her public appearances became less and less frequent, and in the early 80's, the world learned that Rita Hayworth, the one time love goddess had been diagnosed with a disease not many had heard of at the time, Alzheimer's.
On Thursday, May 14, 1987 Rita Hayworth died peacefully in her daughter's apartment in Manhattan. Since then she has become a symbol of eternal youth, beauty and glamour. Her legend lives on thanks to the impact she continues to have on fans throughout the world. Her dream may have been a simple life with kids and a husband to spend the rest of her life with, but it was not to be. A simple life was apparently never in the cards for Margarita.
1972 The Wrath of God
1969 Road to Salina
1957 Pal Joey
1953 Miss Sadie Thomson
1947 Down to Earth
1947 The Lady from Shanghai
1944 Cover Girl
1942 You Were Never Lovelier
1941 You’ll Never Get Rich
1941 Blood and Sand
1940 Susan and God
1940 Angels Over Brooklyn
1939 Only Angels Have Wings
1935 Dante’s Inferno