Rita Hayworth, born Margarita Carmen Cansino on October 17, 1918, was an iconic figure in the golden age of Hollywood. Her fiery hair, enchanting beauty, and expressive eyes made her one of the most sought-after actresses of her era. Hayworth’s journey began in New York City, where her Spanish dancer father and Ziegfeld chorus girl mother recognized and nurtured her talents. By the age of four, Hayworth was already under the tutelage of her father, dancing with him and gaining the skills that would later help her dazzle audiences worldwide.
What were her most significant roles?
Hayworth’s cinematic repertoire is impressive, boasting around 60 movies. However, certain roles stand out more than others. Her sultry performance in the title role of “Gilda” in 1946 remains etched in many memories, as does her tantalizing rendition of “Put The Blame On Mame.” Outside of drama, Hayworth showcased her exceptional dancing abilities alongside legends like Fred Astaire in “You Were Never Lovelier” and Gene Kelly in “Cover Girl.” Her versatility as an actress is evident in her varied roles, from musicals like “The Strawberry Blonde” to intense dramas like “Blood and Sand” and “Separate Tables.”
How did her personal life compare to her on-screen presence?
Hayworth’s life off the screen was as tumultuous and glamorous as her roles. Known for her five marriages, Hayworth’s partners ranged from oilmen to Hollywood’s finest to even royalty. One of her most publicized relationships was with millionaire playboy Aly Khan. Their romance, which led to Hayworth becoming a Moslem princess, consistently made international headlines. Despite her marriage track record, Hayworth’s lasting legacy remains her dedication to her craft and her position as one of Hollywood’s timeless icons.
When did Rita Hayworth battle with Alzheimer’s begin?
Hayworth’s vibrant life took a tragic turn when she began to show signs of Alzheimer’s disease. This devastating ailment, characterized by a progressive loss of memory and other cognitive functions, first became noticeable when Hayworth attempted a comeback in 1971. Her inability to remember her lines during the rehearsals for a Broadway musical was an early indicator of the disease. Over the years, her condition worsened, leaving her unable to recognize even close family members.
How did Yasmin Khan care for her mother during her final years?
Yasmin Khan, Hayworth’s daughter with Aly Khan, emerged as a beacon of hope and support during Hayworth’s battle with Alzheimer’s. In 1981, Yasmin took control of Hayworth’s estate and became her primary caregiver. Understanding the emotional toll the disease could take, Yasmin recreated Hayworth’s Hollywood home within her apartment, ensuring that her mother felt comfortable and at home. Such gestures demonstrate the deep bond between mother and daughter, a connection that remained strong even in the face of adversity.
In conclusion, Rita Hayworth’s life was a blend of cinematic brilliance, personal trials, and a heartbreaking battle with Alzheimer’s. Through it all, she remained a symbol of Hollywood’s golden age, leaving behind a legacy that will be remembered for generations to come.