Esther Williams
American swimmer, actress, model, businesswoman
Esther Williams
Esther Jane Williams is a retired American competitive swimmer and MGM movie star. Williams set multiple national and regional swimming records in her late teens as part of the Los Angeles Athletic Club swim team.
Esther Williams's personal information overview.
News abour Esther Williams from around the web
Miami: Sleeping, Dining and Playing Around
Huffington Post - about 1 year
All it takes is one arctic blast of cold winter air to make travelers dream of warm weather. If your thoughts are turning to Miami, Florida, you're not alone. As Miami continues to evolve it offers more choices to more travelers. You can stay in the city at a large, vintage, iconic hotel. You can rest up at an intimate, boutique hotel on the beach. Each venue has its merits, and if you dine around town and play some tennis and golf too, you'll have a smile-inducing vacation the folks back home will envy. (Photo by Dwight Brown) Miami continues to evolve as a top vacation destination. The Stately Biltmore Hotel in Coral Cables If you haven't been in Miami in a minute, things have changed. South Beach is now just one of many vacation destinations in Greater Miami and The Beaches. Coral Gables is a worthy retreat too. The town, built in the 1920s, is a few miles west of Miami's financial district and home to the University of Miami and the swank Merrick Shopping Center. It al ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Huffington Post - over 1 year
"IF YOU reveal your secrets to the wind, you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees," said Kahlil Gibran. •BACK in 2004, Maureen O'Hara was publicizing her memoir, Tis Herself. The book was good, although O'Hara did seem intent on settling some old scores, especially with the director John Ford, with whom she had worked several times. In the book, Maureen recounted a tale of walking into Ford's office unannounced to find him in what could only be described as romantic embrace with a younger male actor. She did not name the actor. Many people assumed the object of Ford's affection was the director's favorite star, John Wayne. When O' Hara appeared at a meet-and-greet book signing in NYC, the fearless scribe Gregory Speck piped up: "Wasn't the actor you found kissing John Ford actually (dramatic pause) John Wayne?" The crowd let out a little gasp and every head shot forward. Would the famously fiery O'Hara descend from the podium and knock Mr. Speck on the h ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Lifted By The Music, 'Carol' Soars
Huffington Post - over 1 year
Celebrated film composer Carter Burwell isn't necessarily a trained musician. "Unless you count piano lessons," he said. But that's hardly hindered his success. Burwell is perhaps best known for his decades-long collaboration with the Coen brothers, whose films "Miller's Crossing," "Fargo" and "True Grit," among others, are enlivened by his musical prowess. Last month, the Middleburg Film Festival paid homage to the composer with a live performance of his works by the Loudoun Symphony Orchestra. In a conversation with critic Ann Hornaday, Burwell shared his thoughts on music and the movies.  Music plays a recognizable role in film, working to underscore rather than overpower the actors' performances. Burwell's mastered this nuance. "I only notice the music in the film if there's something really wrong or something really right," he explained. "Taking into account a couple of films that I've worked on, for example, 'No Country for Old Men,' we found that the presence of anything th ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Lifted By The Music, 'Carol' Soars
Huffington Post - over 1 year
Celebrated film composer Carter Burwell isn't necessarily a trained musician. "Unless you count piano lessons," he said. But that's hardly hindered his success. Burwell is perhaps best known for his decades-long collaboration with the Coen brothers, whose films "Miller's Crossing," "Fargo" and "True Grit," among others, are enlivened by his musical prowess. Last month, the Middleburg Film Festival paid homage to the composer with a live performance of his works by the Loudoun Symphony Orchestra. In a conversation with critic Ann Hornaday, Burwell shared his thoughts on music and the movies.  Music plays a recognizable role in film, working to underscore rather than overpower the actors' performances. Burwell's mastered this nuance. "I only notice the music in the film if there's something really wrong or something really right," he explained. "Taking into account a couple of films that I've worked on, for example, 'No Country for Old Men,' we found that the presence of anything th ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
10 Things I Know About Beauty Now That I'm 50
Huffington Post - almost 2 years
Oprah was right! 50 is going to be awesome. You're too old to be a young fool and you're too young to be in Depends. (50 is also a good time to start wearing vintage Esther Williams swimwear.) In my teens and 20s I never felt beautiful enough. I thought I was too skinny, too flat-chested, too pointy-chinned, too hairy-thighed and I had no idea what to do with my thick, frizzy, Irish thatch-roof hair. Having been raised Mormon I also had no idea the lady garden could be manicured, hence I could've repopulated the entire rainforest with my pubic foliage. There was also the small matter of being attracted to philanderers. For the longest time I thought they cheated because I wasn't beautiful enough. Two words. Halle. Berry. Men who cheat do so because they're cheaters not because we're not beautiful enough. In my 30s I was pregnant twice which meant I felt fat and invisible. I coined the name THE WOMAN FORMERLY KNOWN AS BEAUTIFUL when I was 7-months pregnant with my ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Water Walls That Are All Wet, Some Wild
Wall Street Journal - about 3 years
Home water features have grown beyond tabletop fountains to imaginative, Esther Williams-worthy installations.
Article Link:
Wall Street Journal article
Vin Scully Calls Out Sen. John McCain Over Dodger Pool Remarks
Huffington Post - over 3 years
For an hour, Vin Scully allowed himself the chance to remember. The Dodgers had just wrapped up the National League West title with a Thursday afternoon victory in Phoenix, and a champagne celebration ensued. After calling the final out Sept. 19, Scully said he watched the players roll around near second base at Chase Field, then collected his belongings and headed down to a team bus that waited in a nearby tunnel. He wanted no part of the player commotion, or even a dip in the right-field pool. "It was kind of lovely to be sitting alone, just thinking, very quiet, no one around," the 85-year-old Hall of Fame broadcaster admitted. "I didn't feel alone or left out. It was by design." He said he found himself back in 1950, his first year with the franchise. The Phillies' Dick Sisler hit an opposite-field home run in the 10th inning to eliminate the Dodgers on the last day of the season. A year later, it was the New York Giants' Bobby Thomson and his historic homer that did th ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Scientists link their brain signals online
San Francisco Chronicle - over 3 years
In an experiment that sounds like science fiction, a University of Washington researcher was able to transmit signals from his brain across campus and cause a colleague's fingers to move. In his lab, Rao coated his head with conductive gel and pulled on an electrode-studded cap that looked like something the swimming movie star Esther Williams might have worn. The coil was part of a transcranial stimulation system, another standard technology that uses magnetic fields to stimulate brain activity.
Article Link:
San Francisco Chronicle article
Theatre preview: Million Dollar Mermaids, Barnsley Civic
Yorkshire Evening Post - over 3 years
Synchronised swimming tends to conjure up images of fixed grins, nose clips, stylised exaggerated movement and flowery swimming caps, but in the golden age of Hollywood it meant big box office, making a star out of former competitive swimmer Esther Williams in the 40s and 50s – and it certainly has a special kind of elegance.
Article Link:
Yorkshire Evening Post article
Esther Williams: G8: Developing Countries Can't Eat Promises
Huffington Post - over 3 years
It is time for the leaders of the world's richest nations to face up to the fact that people living in the poorest parts of the world can't eat promises. I remember only too well the G8 summit of 2009 in L'Aquila, Italy - I was there. World leaders discussed the global economy, trade, development, climate change - all the big international political issues. Promises were made, but fast track four years and it seems like nothing has changed. Ahead of this year's G8 summit taking place in Northern Ireland, once again, poverty campaigners have been urging world leaders to tackle issues like aid, tax evasion and land grabbing. I sincerely hope their calls for justice are heard. I remember talking to families in Mali, West Africa, who had suffered the shock and heartache of being driven off their land by big international companies. In some cases family graves were dug up. These organisations don't care about the fact that these simple farming communities use their land ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Video: Passage: Esther Williams, an American mermaid
CBS News - over 3 years
"Sunday Morning" remembers Esther Williams, the swimmer-turned-Hollywood star, who died this week at age 91. From the mid-1940s through the '50s, Williams starred in a series of aquatic spectaculars that made her one of the most popular stars of the era.
Article Link:
CBS News article
The Time Esther Williams Taught Scott Simon To Swim
NPR - over 3 years
Hollywood Icon Esther Williams died this week. Besides being a movie star and a champion swimmer, she also offered Weekend Edition Saturday Scott Simon some swimming tips when they met back in 1999. He has this remembrance. » E-Mail This     » Add to
Article Link:
NPR article
The water was fine when Esther Williams was in it
Chicago Times - over 3 years
How do you explain Esther Williams to younger moviegoers with no working knowledge of her stardom?     
Article Link:
Chicago Times article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Esther Williams
  • 2013
    Age 91
    Esther Williams died in her sleep on June 6, 2013 from natural causes, in her Los Angeles home.
    More Details Hide Details She was 91. She was cremated, her ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean. Of her death CNN quoted her International Swimming Hall of Fame biography, saying, "Her movie career played a major role in the promotion of swimming, making it attractive to the public, contributing to the growth of the sport as a public recreation for health, exercise, water safety -- and just plain fun." Her stepson Lorenzo Lamas tweeted she was "The best swim teacher and soul mom." Her friend Annabeth Gish also tweeted a tribute, writing that Esther Williams was "An elegant, gracious movie star, legend and neighbour". Film historian Leonard Maltin called her "a major, major star, a tremendous box office attraction." For her contribution to the motion-picture industry, Williams has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1560 Vine Street. She left her hand and foot prints in front of the Grauman's Chinese Theatre on August 1, 1944.
  • 2010
    Age 88
    South Beach Miami's 2010 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Swim, a showcase of designer swimwear, included a Williams suite, complete with a beach summer theme and sand palette with aqua accents.
    More Details Hide Details
    In April 2010, Williams appeared at the first Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival in Hollywood, California, alongside two-time co-star Betty Garrett.
    More Details Hide Details Her film Neptune's Daughter (1949) was screened at the pool of the Roosevelt Hotel, along with a performance of the Williams-inspired synchronized swimming troupe, The Waterlilies.
  • 2008
    Age 86
    In June 2008, Williams attended Cyd Charisse's funeral, which she did while seated in a wheelchair.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2007
    Age 85
    In a 2007 interview with Diane Sawyer, Williams admitted that she had recently suffered a stroke. "I opened my eyes and I could see, but I couldn't remember anything from the past," she said.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1994
    Age 72
    She resided in Beverly Hills with actor husband Edward Bell, whom she married on October 24, 1994.
    More Details Hide Details In September 1959, Cary Grant confessed to Look magazine that he had taken LSD under a doctor's supervision, and it had changed his life. Grant's therapist, Dr. Mortimer Hartman, described LSD as "a psychic energizer which empties the subconscious and intensifies emotion and memory a hundred times". Grant said that, with the help of LSD, he had "found that he had a tough inner core of strength", and that when he was young, he "was very dependent upon older men and women. Now, people came to him for help." Williams stated that she wanted to be one of those people. As she said in Million Dollar Mermaid, "At that point, I really didn't know who I was. Was I that glamorous femme fatale? Was I just another broken-down divorcée whose husband left her with all the bills and three kids?" Shortly after reading the article, she contacted Grant. He called his doctor and made an appointment for her. Williams said LSD seemed like instant psychoanalysis.
  • 1984
    Age 62
    She also appeared as a commentator for synchronized swimming at the 1984 Summer Olympics.
    More Details Hide Details Williams met her fourth husband as a result of his calling her to coordinate her appearance. She co-wrote her autobiography, The Million Dollar Mermaid (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999), with popular media critic and author Digby Diehl.
  • 1969
    Age 47
    She married her former lover, Argentine actor/director, Fernando Lamas on December 31, 1969. For 13 years, she lived in total submission to him, where she had to stop being "Esther Williams" and could not have her children live with her. In return, he would be faithful. They were married until his death from pancreatic cancer on October 8, 1982.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1966
    Age 44
    In 1966, Williams was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
    More Details Hide Details Williams retired from acting in the early 1960s and later turned down the role of Belle Rosen, a character with a crucial swimming scene, in The Poseidon Adventure. (The role eventually went to Shelley Winters.) She continued to lend her name to a line of retro women's swimwear. "Women worldwide are fighting a thing called gravity," said Williams. "I say to women when I talk to them, 'You girls of 18 have until about 25, 30 at the most, and then you have to report to me. My suits are quality fabric.'" She went on: "I put you in a suit that contains you and you will swim in. I don't want you to be in two Dixie cups and a fish line." She was also the namesake of a company that manufactures swimming pools and swimming pool accessories. She came out with a line of Swim, Baby, Swim videos, which helped parents teach their children how to swim.
  • 1960
    Age 38
    The Donna Reed Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, and two aqua-specials, The Esther Williams Aqua Spectacle (1956) and Esther Williams at Cypress Gardens which was telecast on August 8, 1960.
    More Details Hide Details More than half of all television sets in use in the United States were tuned in to watch the Cypress Gardens special. She starred in an aqua-special at Wembley Stadium in London.
  • 1956
    Age 34
    In 1956, she moved to Universal International and appeared in a non-musical dramatic film, The Unguarded Moment (1956).
    More Details Hide Details After that, her film career slowly wound down. She later admitted that husband Fernando Lamas preferred her not to continue in films. She would, however, make occasional appearances on television, including mystery guest appearances for What's My Line?
  • 1953
    Age 31
    In 1953, Williams had been on maternity leave for three months while pregnant with daughter Susan, and assumed she would go straight to work on the film Athena when she returned.
    More Details Hide Details However, production started without her, and the studio cast Jane Powell in the lead role, rewriting much of the premise that Williams and writers Leo Pogostin and Chuck Walters had come up with. The studio moved her to Jupiter's Darling. Two more films were planned, Bermuda Encounter and Olympic Venus, about the first Olympic swimmers; however, these were never made. Many of her MGM films, such as Million Dollar Mermaid and Jupiter's Darling, contained elaborately staged synchronized swimming scenes, with considerable risk to Williams. She broke her neck filming a 115 ft dive off a tower during a climactic musical number for the film Million Dollar Mermaid and was in a body cast for seven months. She subsequently recovered, although she continued to suffer headaches as a result of the accident. Her many hours spent submerged in a studio tank resulted in ruptured eardrums numerous times. She also nearly drowned after not being able to find the trap door in the ceiling of a tank. The walls and ceiling were painted black and the trap door blended in. Williams was pulled out only because a member of the crew realized the door was not opening.
  • 1952
    Age 30
    Gage and Williams separated in 1952, and divorced in April 1959.
    More Details Hide Details During the filming of Pagan Love Song in Hawaii, Williams learned she was pregnant with her third child, and notified the studio in California. Gage had met a man at the hotel who owned a ham radio and persuaded the man to let them use it to call California. What they failed to realize at the time, though, was that anyone could be listening in on their conversation, and news of her pregnancy was broadcast to the entire West Coast. She disclosed in her autobiography that she had an affair with actor Victor Mature while they were working on Million Dollar Mermaid, citing that at the time her marriage was in trouble and, feeling lonely, she turned to Mature for love and affection, and he gave her all she wanted. The affair stopped while Williams was recovering from her fall during the shooting of Million Dollar Mermaid. She was romantically linked with Jeff Chandler. She claims in her autobiography that Chandler was a cross-dresser and that she broke off the relationship. According to the Los Angeles Times, many friends and colleagues of Chandler's rebutted Williams' claims. Jane Russell commented, "I've never heard of such a thing. Cross-dressing is the last thing I would expect of Jeff. He was a sweet guy, definitely all man."
    Williams also won the Henrietta Award at the 1952 Golden Globes, for World Film Favorite – Female.
    More Details Hide Details Easy to Love (1953), also with Van Johnson, was filmed on location in Cypress Gardens, where a swimming pool in the shape of the state of Florida had been built specifically for the film. Williams was pregnant during shooting, but still performed all her own waterskiing stunts. In Dangerous When Wet (also 1953), Williams worked with three important males – Tom and Jerry and future husband Fernando Lamas. During casting, Lamas told Williams he did not want to star in the film with her because he only wanted to be involved in "important pictures". His part had to be rewritten to persuade him to take part in the film.
  • 1948
    Age 26
    In 1948, Williams signed a contract with swimwear company Cole of California to appear as their spokesperson, and Williams and the other swimmers in her films wore Cole swimsuits.
    More Details Hide Details Since the aqua-musicals were an entirely new genre, the studio's costume designers had little experience creating practical swimsuits. William's plaid flannel swimsuit for Thrill of a Romance (1945) was so heavy that she was dragged to the bottom of the pool, and had to unzip the suit, swimming naked to the edge of the pool to avoid drowning. Cole swimsuits used latex, which meant zippers were no longer necessary. While filming Skirts Ahoy (1952), Williams discovered that members of the WAVES program received thin, cotton, shapeless swimsuits as part of their uniforms. Williams modeled a Cole swimsuit for the Secretary of the Navy and explained that the new swimsuits helped support women's figures. The United States Navy ordered 50,000 suits immediately. Filming Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949) was, according to Williams in her autobiography, an experience of "pure misery". A period musical starring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra, the two male leads character's were players in a baseball team owned by K.C. Higgins, Williams's role. She claimed that Kelly and co-writer Stanley Donen treated her with contempt and went out of their way to make jokes at her expense. The film was well-received critically and became a major commercial success, raking in $3.4 million in rentals and becoming the 11th highest earning film of the year. Williams made Neptune's Daughter (also 1949) around the same time with co-stars Ricardo Montalbán, Red Skelton and Betty Garrett, who had also been in Take Me Out to the Ball Game.
  • 1947
    Age 25
    By 1947, Gage and Williams were married.
    More Details Hide Details Gage had traveled to Mexico for the making of the film. He got into a fight with an employee of the cast's hotel, was arrested, and subsequently thrown out of the country.The director of photography, Sidney Wagner, and one other crew member died of cholera from eating contaminated street food. Many of the film's stuntmen were sent to the hospital after being gored by bulls. Director Dick Thorpe hadn't wanted the bulls killed (as they usually were at the end of a bullfight) because he believed them to be too expensive to replace. After filming was completed on Fiesta, Williams appeared in the romance This Time for Keeps (1947) with singer Johnnie Johnston.
  • 1945
    Age 23
    She married singer/actor Ben Gage on November 25, 1945; they had three children, Benjamin Stanton (born August 6, 1949), Kimball Austin (October 30, 1950 – May 6, 2008) and Susan Tenney (born October 1, 1953).
    More Details Hide Details In her autobiography, she portrayed Gage as an alcoholic parasite who squandered $10 million of her earnings.
  • 1944
    Age 22
    They divorced on September 12, 1944.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1941
    Age 19
    Williams signed her contract with MGM in 1941.
    More Details Hide Details In her contract were two clauses: the first being that she receive a guest pass to The Beverly Hills Hotel where she could swim in the pool every day, and the second that she would not appear on camera for nine months to allow for acting, singing, dancing, and diction lessons. Williams wrote in her autobiography, "If it took nine months for a baby to be born, I figured my 'birth' from Esther Williams the swimmer to Esther Williams the movie actress would not be much different." While top stars at the studios such as Judy Garland, Betty Grable, and Shirley Temple took part in bond tours during the war, Williams was asked to take in hospital tours. At this point, Williams had achieved pin-up status because of the number of photographs of her in bathing suits. To prepare, Williams and her publicity assistant would listen to Bob Hope and Jack Benny's radio programs, retelling the funniest jokes while at the hospitals. Williams also invited GIs to dance with her on stage and take part in mock screen tests. The men would receive a card telling them their lines, and they would act out the scene in front of the other soldiers. These tests were always romantic scenes and included Williams begging the men to have sex with her character, to which they were required to refuse... multiple times. When the men said the final, "No", Williams would pull at her tear-away skirt and sweater leaving nothing but a gold lamé swimsuit.
  • 1940
    Age 18
    Williams had planned to compete in the 1940 Summer Olympics but it was cancelled because of the outbreak of World War II.
    More Details Hide Details It was at Aquacade that Williams first attracted attention from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer scouts. MGM's head, Louis B. Mayer, had been looking for a female sports star for the studio to compete with Fox's figure skating star, Sonja Henie.
    Despite this, Williams remained with the show until it closed on September 29, 1940.
    More Details Hide Details
    They were married in the San Francisco suburb of Los Altos on June 27, 1940.
    More Details Hide Details On their split she said "I found, much to my relief, that all I needed for my emotional and personal security was my own resolve and determination. I didn't need a marriage and a ring. I had come to realize all too quickly that Leonard Kovner was not a man I could ever really love."
  • 1939
    Age 17
    In 1939, Williams expressed interest in pursuing a degree in physical education in order to teach it one day.
    More Details Hide Details To earn money for tuition, Williams worked as a stock girl at the I. Magnin department store, where she also modeled clothing for customers and appeared in newspaper advertisements. While Williams was working at I. Magnin, she was contacted by Billy Rose's assistant and asked to audition as a replacement for Eleanor Holm in his Aquacade show. Williams impressed Rose and she got the role. The Aquacade was part of the Golden Gate International Exposition, and Williams was partnered with Olympic swimmer and Tarzan star Johnny Weissmuller, who, Williams wrote in her autobiography, repeatedly tried to seduce her.
    Williams graduated from Washington High School (now known as Washington Preparatory High School) in Los Angeles, 1939, where she served as class Vice President, and later President.
    More Details Hide Details However, Williams never trained in swimming while there. During her senior year of high school, Williams received a D in her algebra course, preventing her from getting a scholarship to the University of Southern California. She enrolled in Los Angeles City College to retake the course.
    Her medley team set the record for the 300-yard relay at the Los Angeles Athletic Club in 1939, and was also National AAU champion in the 100 meter freestyle, with a record-breaking time of 1 minute 09. seconds.
    More Details Hide Details By age 16, Williams had won three US national championships in breaststroke and freestyle swimming.
  • 1935
    Age 13
    In 1935, Bula Myrtle Williams invited 16-year-old Buddy McClure to live with her family.
    More Details Hide Details McClure had recently lost his mother and Bula was still grieving over the death of her son. Esther recounted in her autobiography that one night, when the rest of the family was visiting relatives in Alhambra, McClure raped her. She was terrified to tell anyone about the incident and waited two years before finally revealing the truth to her parents. Williams' mother seemed unsure about her story, claiming McClure was "sensitive" and was sympathetic towards him when he admitted his guilt. Bula Williams then banished him from her home, McClure joined the Coast Guard, and Williams never saw him again. Williams was enthusiastic about swimming in her youth. Her older sister, Maurine, took her to Manhattan Beach and to the local pool. She took a job counting towels at the pool to pay the five cent entry fee, and while there, had swimming lessons from the male lifeguards. From them, she learned the 'male only' swimming strokes, including the butterfly, with which she would later break records.
  • 1929
    Age 7
    In 1929, Stanton Williams died after his colon burst.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1921
    Born in Inglewood, California, on August 8, 1921, Williams was the fifth and youngest child of Louis Stanton Williams (January 19, 1886 – June 10, 1968) and Bula Myrtle (née Gilpin; October 8, 1885 – December 29, 1971).
    More Details Hide Details Louis was a sign painter and Bula was a psychologist. The two lived on neighboring farms in Kansas and carried on a nine-year courtship until June 1, 1908, when they eloped and set off for California. However, they ran out of money in Salt Lake City, Utah, and settled there. Esther's brother, Stanton (September 4, 1912 – March 3, 1929) was discovered by actress Marjorie Rambeau, which led to the family (including sisters Maurine and June and brother David) moving to the Los Angeles area to be near the studios. Louis Williams purchased a small piece of land in the southwest area of town, and had a small house built there. Esther was born in the living room, which was also where the family slept, until Louis Williams was able to add bedrooms.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
All data offered is derived from public sources. Spokeo does not verify or evaluate each piece of data, and makes no warranties or guarantees about any of the information offered. Spokeo does not possess or have access to secure or private financial information. Spokeo is not a consumer reporting agency and does not offer consumer reports. None of the information offered by Spokeo is to be considered for purposes of determining any entity or person's eligibility for credit, insurance, employment, housing, or for any other purposes covered under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)