Faces of Film: Rita Hayworth’s Everlasting Star

Not only did Rita Hayworth exude charm, but she was dubbed “The Love Goddess”–  an instant cover girl, she was everything every star could be. She took her siren roles and began a career which spanned two decades and stared in over 67 films. Her career usually involved musicals and offered Rita the chance to show off her singing and dancing skills. It was no contest she was a wonderful singer and dancer, previously unknown when she started out in Mexico as a singer and dancer. Her talent was outstanding, even by the side of Fred Astaire and the legendary Gene Kelly.

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Rita Cansino, 16-years-old.  Hayworth adopted her mother’s maiden name to appeal to mainstream audiences. Via Google Images

While Rita’s heritage was Spanish, her hair once went from dark brown to lighter. Nevertheless, she gained all attention when she dyed her hair Strawberry blonde and sometimes red. Her hair color was all the rage when she starred in the movie Gilda. She made a mark as an enticing young beautiful actress that could not compare to other screen sirens like Grace Kelly or Audrey Hepburn because of her unique qualities as an actress and a person.

She won many accolades for her role in Gilda, and made waves in other movies like Cover Girl co-starring Gene Kelly and Down to Earth with Larry Parks. She came into many movies with Fred Astaire, who even even said that Rita was his most favorite co-star in movies. She was just that charming.

Her face and overall look was so mesmerizing that she earned another nickname– “the Femme Fatale”.  This was fair since she was built to be a sexy superstar and raise her beauty to the next level by being a sultry sex machine that created havoc on screen and even broken hearts. In her career, she did it all. It was easy for Rita to find those roles and she never let anyone tell her otherwise.

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Her defining role in Gilda.

Rita Hayworth was even mentioned in singer Madonna’s song “Vogue.” She sings about Rita in the song “Rita Hayworth Gave Good Face” mentioning how lovely Rita’s face was and how it made her a lasting celebrity, even when she got sick in her late sixties. By then, Rita was back in the limelight, and it was for the wrong reasons. She suffered with Alzheimer’s disease and struggled with it.  Her looks were fading and even she was once a symbol of good health and beauty, now considered older and washed up, and tragically criticized for looking older. You can view it for yourself in the movie My Pal Joey starring a young Frank Sinatra– even by his side, she could not match up with him.

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Portrait by George Hurrel.

But despite the setbacks in age or the coming decades, she still had the acting chops and forever left her mark in Hollywood. In all, she is sill considered a beauty today and her looks will never go old and her acting roles add to the muscle which created the many role for young actresses today. It is in our modern times, where we see that attention now, that allure that only Hayworth could establish.


by Veronica Felipe

Twitter @vfelippe99

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