One of my personal favorite actresses… we’re talking top four, here… Rita Hayworth was born Margarita Carmen Cansino on October 17, 1918 in Brooklyn, New York. She was born into a family of talented dancers, which explains why she was always able to light up the screen with her dancing.
Fred Astaire once referred to her, in fact, as his favorite dancing partner. HIGH PRAISE!
Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth, You Were Never Lovelier
Seven of my favorite Rita Hayworth performances and films (along with a few unsolicited opinions because why not) include:
Gilda (1946) – One of Rita Hayworth’s best films, this wonderful film-noir showcases the perfect chemistry between Glenn Ford and Rita.
Only Angels Have Wings (1939) – One of my most “unpopular” opinions is that the roles of Rita and Jean Arthur should have been switched. The reaction paid to Jean Arthur’s character and level of adoration Cary Grant’s character heaped upon her would have been more believable with Rita in the role. Jean would have been perfectly wonderful in the role Judy. Director Howard Hawks could not (no matter how hard he tried) to convince Jean Arthur to bring more razzle dazzle to the role and, in my opinion, the film suffered a bit because of it. She simply was not believable in the role. Likable, fun, and “cute” absolutely.. but not what the character was supposed to have been. Years later, she even admitted to Howard Hawks that he had been right and that she should have brought more to the role.
The Strawberry Blonde (1941) – One of my favorite movies of all time. This comedy is the very definition of charming, enjoyable, and delightful – from the first scene to the last, it’s perfectly delicious.
You Were Never Lovelier (1942) – One of my favorite musicals of all time. Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth are extraordinary together. It honestly caught me off guard, to tell you the truth. Before I first watched it, I didn’t expect much in the way of sparks or chemistry. Why? No idea! I just didn’t think they would make a believable couple – one that the viewer gets invested in and “pulls for.” I was dead wrong.. and, no, it wasn’t the first or last time.
Tales of Manhattan (1942) – I absolutely LOVE this movie. It’s unique, spellbinding, creative, intelligent, and completely engrossing. When you have an all star cast, you expect each star to step up to the plate and do they ever.
Miss Sadie Thompson (1943) – Whenever anyone has doubted Rita’s acting talent, I immediately point them to this film and demand that they (1) watch it and (2) report back! She was an extremely talented and verstile actress who just happened to be ridiculously beautiful and charismatic and this role gave her a chance to absolutely prove it.
Charlie Chan in Egypt (1935) – One of her earlier films (pre-redhead!), her magic was already on display with charisma you couldn’t look away from.
There are many more Rita Hayworth films and performances I love, but due to time constraints, I have to set a limit. Otherwise I’d be here all day and my cats would begin to worry about their daily meals… all 8 of them (I swear, my cats eat more than any self respecting pig does!).
Rita Hayworth, Miss Sadie Thompson
A Few Rita Hayworth Quotes
In many ways, the best way to get to know a person is to read their own words. Obviously, much depends on the mood the individual was in when giving the quote and we don’t always know the context in which the words were said. Having said that, I think Rita Hayworth’s quotes point to a very kind, sweet person.. somewhat insecure (more in real life than her career), and very much in need of love and approval.
She was just so special and I hope she realizes, now, just how many of us adore her!
“I like having my picture taken and being a glamorous person. Sometimes when I find myself getting impatient, I just remember the times I cried my eyes out because nobody wanted to take my picture…”
“Sensitive, shy– of course I was. The fun of acting is to become someone else.”
“I guess the only jewels of my life were the pictures I made with Fred Astaire.”
“When you’re in love, you are living, you matter.”
“When I look back on my marriages, or the breakups, sure I know the pain I went through, but that’s part of life and it has its own value.”
“I was certainly a well-trained dancer. I’m a good actress: I have depth. I have feeling. But they don’t care. All they want is the image.”
“Whatever you write about me, don’t make it sad.”
The Films of Rita Hayworth Collection (Amazon paid link)