Rita Hayworth

Born Oct 17, 1918

Rita Hayworth was an American dancer and film actress who achieved fame during the 1940s as one of the era's top stars. Appearing first as Rita Cansino, she agreed to change her name to Rita Hayworth and her natural dark brown hair color to dark red to attract a greater range of roles. Her appeal led to her being featured on the cover of Life magazine five times, beginning in 1940.… Read More

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1918 Birth Hayworth was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1918 as Margarita Carmen Cansino, the oldest child of two dancers. … Read More
1926 7 Years Old She attended dance classes every day for a few years in a Carnegie Hall complex, where she was taught by her uncle Angel Cansino. She performed publicly from the age of six. In 1926 at the age of eight, she was featured in La Fiesta, a short film for Warner Bros.
1927 8 Years Old In 1927, her father took the family to Hollywood. … Read More


1934 15 Years Old During her time at Fox, Hayworth was billed as Rita Cansino and appeared in unremarkable roles, often cast as the exotic foreigner. In late 1934, she performed a dance sequence in the Spencer Tracy film, Dante's Inferno (1935), and was put under contract in February 1935. … Read More
1936 17 Years Old Sheehan was grooming her for the lead in the 1936 Technicolor film, Ramona, hoping to establish her as Fox Film's new Dolores del Río. … Read More
Feeling that Hayworth had screen potential, salesman and promoter Edward C. Judson, with whom she would elope in 1937, got her freelance work in several small-studio films and a part in the Columbia Pictures feature, Meet Nero Wolfe (1936). … Read More


1939 - 1940 2 More Events
1941 22 Years Old In August 1941, Hayworth was featured in an iconic Life photo in which she posed in a negligee with a black lace bodice. … Read More
1942 23 Years Old 1 More Event
She filed for divorce from him on February 24, 1942, with a complaint of cruelty. … Read More
1943 24 Years Old Hayworth married Orson Welles on September 7, 1943, during the run of The Mercury Wonder Show. … Read More
1944 25 Years Old 1 More Event
Hayworth had top billing in one of her best-known films, the Technicolor musical Cover Girl, released in 1944. … Read More
On the June 30, 1946, broadcast of Orson Welles Commentaries, Welles said of the imminent test, "I want my daughter to be able to tell her daughter that grandmother's picture was on the last atom bomb ever to explode."
Hayworth's performance in Welles's 1947 film, The Lady from Shanghai, was critically acclaimed. … Read More


They began a year-long courtship, and were married on May 27, 1949. … Read More
In 1951, Columbia alleged it had $800,000 invested in properties for her, including the film she walked out on that year. … Read More
1953 - 1955 5 More Events
1958 39 Years Old 1 More Event
Hayworth began a relationship with film producer James Hill, whom she went on to marry on February 2, 1958. … Read More


1961 42 Years Old On September 1, 1961, Hayworth filed for divorce, alleging extreme mental cruelty. … Read More
1962 43 Years Old …  In 1962, her planned Broadway debut in Step on a Crack was cancelled for undisclosed health reasons. … Read More


1972 53 Years Old In 1972, the 54-year-old Hayworth wanted to retire from acting, but she needed money. … Read More
1976 57 Years Old In 1976 at London's Heathrow Airport, Hayworth was removed from a TWA flight after having an angry outburst while traveling with her agent. … Read More


1980 61 Years Old She wasn't diagnosed as having Alzheimer's until 1980. … Read More
1981 62 Years Old 1 More Event
Medical historian Barron H. Lerner wrote that when Hayworth's diagnosis was made public in 1981, she became "the first public face of Alzheimer's, helping to ensure that future patients did not go undiagnosed Unbeknownst to her, Hayworth helped to destigmatize a condition that can still embarrass victims and their families."
1983 64 Years Old 1 More Event
Orson Welles noted Hayworth's problem with alcohol during their marriage, but he never believed that her problem was alcoholism. "It certainly imitated alcoholism in every superficial way," he recalled in 1983. "She'd fly into these rages, never at me, never once, always at Harry Cohn or her father or her mother or her brother. … Read More
1985 66 Years Old In an interview which he gave the evening before his death in 1985, Welles called Hayworth "one of the dearest and sweetest women that ever lived".
Rita Hayworth lapsed into a semicoma in February 1987.
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