Rita Hayworth - image by Erik Weems

Rita Hayworth

Born Margarita Carmen Cansino on October 17, 1918, Brooklyn, NY

Died: May 14, 1987, New York City, NY, from Alzheimers

As a pop cultural image, Rita Hayworth's fame far extended beyond her roles as an actor. She was photographed constantly at the height of her career and as an icon of American beauty and Hollywood glamour. She was particularly idealized during the World War II era.

She was born into show business, her father Eduardo Cansino was a flamenco dancer and her mother Volga Hayworth a Ziegfeld showgirl.

In her early Hollywood career she was scrutinized and reshaped by executives and her first husband who acted as her manager and absorbed her earnings. The man, Eddie Judson, was 14 years her senior and directed the changing of her hair color and enlarging her forehead through electrolysis which shifted her hairline upward. He was also abusive, which led to divorce and Hayworth then marrying Orson Welles. Welles was followed by three more marriages, all ending in divorce.

Biographies emphasize the abusive nature of her relationship with her father, and that he trained her to dance with him on stage and advertised the young daughter as his wife. The exploitative nature of the relationship included sexual abuse.

Rita Hayworth

Amazon: If This Was Happiness: A Biography of Rita Hayworth by Barbara Leaming

A "remembrance" of Rita Hayworth by her daughter Princess Yasmin Aga Khan is online at

Original Page Nov 20, 2014 | Update Dec 5, 2018

You will see Amazon links on this web site because I am an Amazon affiliate. I earn from qualifying purchases.

Amazon FreeTime Unlimited Free Trial

This Was Hollywood: Forgotten Stars and Stories

From former screen legends who have faded into obscurity to new revelations about the biggest movie stars, Valderrama unearths the most fascinating little-known tales from the birth of Hollywood through its Golden Age.

This Was Hollywood: Forgotten Stars and Stories (Turner Classic Movies)

What's Recent


Winner of the 2020 Peter C. Rollins Book Award

Longlisted for the 2020 Moving Image Book Award by the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation

Named a 2019 Richard Wall Memorial Award Finalist by the Theatre Library Association

The Brothers Mankiewicz: Hope, Heartbreak, and Hollywood Classics (Hollywood Legends Series)