Rita Hayworth Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1918 - 1987 *** Full Name: Margarita Carmen Cansino would become known as Rita Hayworth *** Occupation: American Actress and Dancer *** Date of Birth: Rita Hayworth was born on October 17th 1918 *** Place of Birth: Rita Hayworth was born in Brooklyn, New York, U.S. *** Family background: Her father was Eduardo Cansino, Sr. from Casstilleja de la Cuesta near Seville in Spain. Her mother was Volga Hayworth who was an American with Irish and English ancestry. Her mother had performed with the famous Ziegfeld Follies. Her father was also a dancer as was her grandfather Antonio before him who had been a famous classical Spanish dancer. Her father had hopes of her becoming a professional dancer *** Early life and childhood: She grew up with two younger brothers, Eduardo, Jr and Vernon *** Education: Rita Hayworth attend Hamilton High in Los Angeles but did not complete high school ***
Rita Hayworth Fact 1: Rita Hayworth was born on October 17th 1918 and during the 20th century period in history when so many wonderful and terrible events shaped the world. World War I and World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Cold War but also such marvels as advances in medicine, technology, travel, the expansion of car travel and air travel and a massive change within the industry of entertainment.
Rita Hayworth Fact 2: Her father was a hard taskmaster when it came to dancing. From as soon as she could walk she began dancing and did not enjoy it but lacked the courage to tell her father.
Rita Hayworth Fact 3: At eight years of age in 1926 she appeared in La Fiesta which was a Warner Bros. short film. The following year the family moved to Hollywood as her father felt dancing should be in movies.
Rita Hayworth Fact 4: He began a dancing school in Hollywood and taught Jean Harlow and James Cagney to dance, but the Great Depression struck and dancing lessons became a luxury many could no longer afford. He lost his business and all of his investments.
Rita Hayworth Fact 5: Unable to work in bars and nightclubs, with her father teaming with Margarita as dancers, he took her across into Mexico and Tijuana where they performed when she was just twelve years old.
Rita Hayworth Fact 6: While in Mexico she appeared in two films in small parts when she was sixteen years of age, Cruz Diablo and In Caliente in which she stared with Dolores Del Rio.
Rita Hayworth Fact 7: While she was dancing with her father in a nightclub she was seen by Fox Film Corporation’s head, Winfield Sheehan who arranged a screen test for her the following week. He felt her test went extremely well and signed her on a six month short term contract as Rita Cansino.
Rita Hayworth Fact 8: Because of her exotic looks she was most often cast as the foreigner. In Spencer Tracy’s film Dante’s Inferno she performed a dance sequence and was shortly thereafter signed to another contract. Under the Pampas Moon saw her play an Argentinian girl in her first speaking part.
Rita Hayworth Fact 9: By the end of her six month term Fox had become 20th Century Fox and Darryle F Zanuck who was serving as the executive producer did not extend Rita's contract.
Rita Hayworth Fact 10: Her promoter at the time, Edward C. Judson still felt she had a lot of potential and was able to acquire her work as a freelance with Columbia Pictures and she would be signed up with a seven year contract by Harry Cohn.
Rita Hayworth Fact 11: Unlike her previous film roles, Cohn wanted to play down her Mediterranean looks fearing that her opportunities would be limited because there were few parts. He also felt her name was too Spanish and so Hayworth, being her mother’s maiden name was chosen and she became Rita Hayworth.
Rita Hayworth Fact 12: She was loaned out to MGM for several small roles and she began to get noticed, so much so that Warner Bros. wanted to buy her contract and Cohn at Columbia refused.Rita Hayworth Fact 17: Her next marriage was to Orson Welles and although she claimed him as the love of her life he refused to settle down even when they had a daughter, Rebecca, together.
Rita Hayworth Fact 13: One of her most successful roles at this time was with Fred Astaire in You’ll Never Get Rich followed by You Were Never Lovelier and although Astaire made many films with Ginger Rogers his most popular partner became Hayworth.
Rita Hayworth Fact 14: Rita posed for a cover on the front of Life magazine and as a result of that picture during the war years Rita and Betty Grable became the two most popular pin-ups for several years.
Rita Hayworth Fact 15: Having been at the very top of her career during the 1940’s a succession of wrong husband choices cost her money and ultimately her career.
Rita Hayworth Fact 16: Her first husband was Edward Charles Judson, a man more than twice her eighteen years of age and although he helped get her career started she rather foolishly put much of her property, wealth and trust in him and received very little in return except threats.
Rita Hayworth Fact 18: Her next husband was Prince Aly Khan the son of Sultan Mahommed Shah, Aga Khan III. They too would have a daughter together, Princess Yasmin Aga Khan. Hayworth filed for divorce when she suspected her husband was not being faithful to her.
Rita Hayworth Fact 19: Her four marriage was to Dick Haymes, a singer whose career was struggling. During Hayworth’s attendance he drew large crowds but without her he did not do well. He had not told her he had also been married twice before and owed both wives child support which Hayworth would pay.
Rita Hayworth Fact 20: Her fifth and final husband was James Hill a man of a character that Hayworth seemed to be drawn too, all of these men were cruel and abusive.
Rita Hayworth Fact 21: It is possible as a result of her poor life choices Rita turned to alcohol which would eventually take its toll on her health as well as her career. Although it would eventually become clear she was actually suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Rita Hayworth Fact 22: Rita Hayworth died at her home in Manhattan on May 14th 1987 aged sixty eight years. Her body was laid to rest in Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.
Influence & Legacy: Rita Hayworth was one of Hollywood's most beautiful stars and talented female dancers. She first hit our screens in 1926 and went on to make over sixty films. Aside from her life in film she was also one of the first people to bring the terrible disease of Alzheimer’s to public attention which would lead her daughter Princess Yasmin Aga Khan to host The Rita Hayworth Gala to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association which is held annually in Chicago and New York City.