If This Was Happiness: A Biography of Rita Hayworth by Barbara LeamingA beautiful actress, a gifted dancer, a fiery screen temptress linked to some of the most handsome men of her generation, Rita Hayworth seemed to live the life that dreams are made of. But the reality behind the fantasy was a harsh one. Sexually abused by her father as a young girl, Rita constantly searched for a man to save her, marrying five times. At the age of forty-two, Alzheimers disease began to ravage her mind, cutting short her career at its peak. A haunting and sympathetic tribute to the talented but insecure beauty who was created, and ultimately destroyed, by the movies.
From the Paperback edition.
WOMAN and TIME: Cayetana de Alba (The Duchess of Alba)
How Margarita Cansino Became Rita Hayworth
When I was a child I read a book that I found in our basement shortly after moving in. It was about plastic surgery, and had photos of celebrities who had plastic surgery. I was amazed that just about all the actors and actresses had something done. The photos were simply of a particular celebrity such as Marilyn Monroe in her early years and some of her after she had her famous nose job. It showed close ups of her face, pointing out that there were other operations that supplemented her nose surgery. There was also a story about how Ann Margaret had a disfigured face from a stage accident, and it showed photos of how she appeared after her plastic surgery. I remember hearing people saying, "Ann Margaret had it all done," and recalled hearing of how Dean Martin looked nerdy before the nose job.
Do you think their beauty is always natural? We often assume that old Hollywood stars are just naturally beautiful, and never had anything done, just because it was a long time ago, and because they look different to what modern celebrities look like now. Plastic surgery has actually been a staple for Hollywood stars since s.
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There are a million different ways to tweak, chisel, or reconfigure one's visage as desired thanks to a laundry list of procedures. The possibilities are so limitless these days, it's got us reminiscing about the golden age of celebrity. Even though they didn't live under the high-definition magnifying glass of today, Old Hollywood starlets were no less vain— perhaps even more so —and thus had to get way more creative in the nip-and-tuck department. Hollywood glamazons altered their famous faces. Back in the heyday of Old Hollywood, hairlines and white beauty ideals had a lot of sway.
She achieved fame during the s as one of the era's top stars, appearing in 61 films over 37 years. The press coined the term "The Love Goddess" to describe Hayworth after she had become the most glamorous screen idol of the s. Hayworth is perhaps best known for her performance in the film noir Gilda , opposite Glenn Ford , in which she played the femme fatale in her first major dramatic role. Fred Astaire , with whom she made two films, once called her his favorite dance partner. In , Hayworth was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease , which contributed to her death at age The public disclosure and discussion of her illness drew attention to Alzheimer's, which was largely unknown by most people at the time, and helped to increase public and private funding for Alzheimer's research.
To become a Hollywood star and icon, Rita Hayworth had to transcend not just her waistline or her hairline, but her own ethnicity. But Hayworth was not what she seemed , writes Adrienne L. McLean—and neither is the legend about her storied transformation from Hispanic dancer to Anglo-seeming star. But while it may have seemed that Hayworth walked away from her true identity, writes McLean, the truth was anything but. Cansino had to go on restrictive diets and maintain a grueling exercise regimen.