Margarita Carmen Dolores Hayworth (Cansino) (1918 - 1987) MP

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Nicknames: "Rita Hayworth", "Rita Cansino"
Birthplace: Brooklyn, NY, USA
Death: Died in New York, NY, USA
Occupation: Actress, dancer
Managed by: Colleen Rose Keenan
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Margarita Carmen Dolores Hayworth (Cansino)

She was an American film actress and dancer who attained fame during the 1940s not only as one of the era's top stars, but also as the era's greatest sex symbol, most notably in Gilda (1946). She appeared in 61 films over 37 years and is listed as one of the American Film Institute's Greatest Stars of All Time.

Naturally shy and reclusive, Hayworth was the antithesis of the characters she played. "I naturally am very shy," she said, "and I suffer from an inferiority complex."She once complained, "Men fell in love with Gilda, but they wake up with me." With typical modesty she later remarked that the only films she could watch without laughing were the dance musicals she made with Fred Astaire. "I guess the only jewels of my life," Hayworth said, "were the pictures I made with Fred Astaire."

She was close to her frequent co-star and next-door neighbor Glenn Ford. In an interview published in the New York Times, Hayworth denied she was involved with Ford.

Hayworth had two younger brothers: Vernon Cansino and Eduardo Cansino, Jr. They were both soldiers in World War II. Vernon left the United States Army in 1946 with several medals, including the Purple Heart. He married Susan Vail, a dancer. Eduardo Cansino Jr. followed Hayworth into acting; he was also under contract with Columbia Pictures. In 1950 he made his screen debut in Magic Carpet.

Elisa Cansino, her aunt, ran a dancing school in San Francisco. Her nephew Richard Cansino, is a voice actor in anime and video games; he has done most of his work under the name "Richard Hayworth."[citation needed]

Barbara Leaming claims in her bio book, If This Was Happiness: A Biography of Rita Hayworth (1989), that as a child and teenager, Hayworth was a victim of physical and sexual abuse by her father. Leaming also claims that through her life, Hayworth was never without a boyfriend for long with her choice of partners becoming increasingly poor.

Marriages:

1) Edward Charles Judson

Hayworth was only 18 when, in 1937, she married Edward Judson, a domineering man more than twice her age. They eloped in Las Vegas. He was an oilman turned promoter who had played a major role in launching her acting career. He was a shrewd businessman and became her manager for months before he proposed. "He helped me with my career," Hayworth conceded after they divorced, "and helped himself to my money." She alleged Judson compelled her to transfer considerable property to him and promise to pay him $12,000 under threats that he would do her "great bodily harm."She filed for divorce from him on February 24, 1942 with the complaint of cruelty. She also noted to the press that his work took him to Oklahoma and Texas while she lived and worked in Hollywood. Judson was as old as her father, who was enraged by the marriage, which caused a rift between Hayworth and her parents until the divorce. Judson neglected to inform Hayworth before they married that he had previously been married twice.When she finally walked out on him, she literally had no money. She asked her friend, Hermes Pan, if she could eat at his home, because she didn't have any money to buy food.

2) Orson Welles

Rita Hayworth then rushed into a marriage with Orson Welles on September 7, 1943. None of her colleagues even knew about the planned marriage (before a judge) until she announced it the day before they got married. For the civil ceremony she wore a beige suit, ruffled white blouse, and a veil. A few hours after they got married, they returned to work at the studio. They had a daughter, Rebecca. After marital struggles, and a final attempt at reconciliation, Hayworth said he told her he didn't want to be tied down by marriage.

"During the entire period of our marriage," she declared, "he showed no interest in establishing a home. When I suggested purchasing a home, he told me he didn't want the responsibility. Mr. Welles told me he never should have married in the first place; that it interfered with his freedom in his way of life."

3) Prince Aly Khan

In 1948 she left her film career to marry Prince Aly Khan, a son of Sultan Mahommed Shah, Aga Khan III, the leader of the Ismaili sect of Shia Islam. They were married on May 27, 1949. Her bridal trousseau was Dior's New Look — after seeing her wearing it, every woman began to wear the somewhat-controversial longer hemline. Joseph L. Mankiewicz, in writing and directing The Barefoot Contessa (1954), was said to have based his title character, Maria Vargas (played on film by Ava Gardner), on Hayworth's life and her marriage to Aly Khan.

Aly Khan and his family were heavily involved in horse racing, so although Hayworth did not like horses or thoroughbred horse racing, she became a member of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. Hayworth's filly Double Rose won several races in France and notably finished second in the 1949 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

In 1951, while still married to her, he was spotted dancing with Joan Fontaine in the nightclub where they met. She responded by issuing him an ultimatum and threatening to divorce him in Reno, Nevada. In early May she moved to Nevada to establish legal residence to qualify for a divorce. She holed up in Lake Tahoe with her daughter despite a threat to kidnap her child. When she filed to divorce Khan on September 2, 1951, she did so on the grounds of "extreme cruelty, entirely mental in nature."

Hayworth once said she might become a Muslim like her husband. During the custody fight over their daughter Yasmin, Prince Khan said he wanted her raised as a Muslim; whereas Hayworth said she intended to raise her in the Christian faith. In fact, Hayworth turned down a $1,000,000 offer if she'd raise Yasmin as a Muslim from age seven and allow her to go to Europe for two or three months each year.

"Nothing will make me give up Yasmin's chance to live here in America among our precious freedoms and habits," declared Hayworth. "While I respect the Muslim faith and all other faiths it is my earnest wish that my daughter be raised as a normal, healthy American girl in the Christian faith. There isn't any amount of money in the entire world for which it is worth sacrificing this child's privilege of living as a normal Christian girl here in the United States. There just isn't anything else in the world that can compare with her sacred chance to do that. And I'm going to give it to Yasmin regardless of what it costs."

The Hayworth-Khan custody battle for little Yasmin was one of the most public custody battles in the history of Hollywood. Hayworth feared that Princess Yasmin would be kidnapped by her father, taken to his foreign country, and she'd never see her daughter again. She didn't trust him. It was a very long and protracted legal process that played out publicly in the news. It included Hayworth and her lawyers doing extreme negotiations, Hayworth dragging her heels about agreeing to let Khan have temporary custody of Yasmin, requiring "insurance" money to discourage him from keeping her, then Hayworth changing her mind at the last minute, etc., and her fourth husband interfering with the entire process.

4) Dick Haymes

Orson Welles is quoted as saying that "After Aly, Rita was on a downward path, a steep tobogan slide." And so it proved to be with Hayworth plunged into doubt of both herself and intimate relationships. After a publicly damaging fling with Count Jose-Maria Vallapadierna, Barbara Leaming speculates that her next choice of husband was borne out of a crisis of self-esteem and seeming confirmation in her own mind after the failures in her personal life, of her own unworthiness as a person. And so it was that Hayworth threw herself into a relationship and marriage with deeply troubled singer and film actor Dick Haymes which would bring her to her lowest ebb.

When they first met, he was still married and his singing career was waning, but when the Love Goddess showed up at the clubs, he got a larger audience. (Without her hardly anyone paid attention.) Haymes was desperate for money; he was a deadbeat dad and two of his former wives were after him for alimony. In fact his financial problems were so bad he could not even return to California without being arrested. On July 7, 1954, his ex-wife Nora Haymes got a bench warrant for his arrest, because he owed her $3,800 in alimony. Less than a week prior, his other ex-wife, Joanne Dru, also got a bench warrant because she said he owed $4,800 in support payments for their three children. It was Hayworth who ended up paying most of Haymes's debts.

Haymes was born in Argentina, and didn't have solid proof of American citizenship. The authorities initiated proceedings to have him deported back to Argentina for being an illegal alien not long after he met Hayworth. He hoped, however, she could influence the government and keep him in the United States. Haymes manipulated the situation, exploiting Hayworth for publicity at every opportunity and getting her to throw herself publicly behind his case. When she assumed responsibility for his citizenship, a bond was formed that led to marriage. The two were married on 24 September 1953 at the Sands Hotel, Las Vegas, their wedding procession marching through the casino itself.

From the start, their wedding was in trouble with Haymes deeply indebted to the Internal Revenue Service. When Rita took time off from attending his comeback performances in Philadelphia, crowd numbers plummeted and when Haymes's $5000 weekly salary was attached by the IRS to pay a $100,000 bill he was unable to even pay his pianist. Meanwhile ex-wives continued to hound Haymes for money while Hayworth publicly bemoaned the lack of alimony she was receiving from Aly Khan. At one point, the couple were effectively imprisoned in a hotel room for 24 hours in New York at the Hotel Madison as sheriff's deputies waited outside threatening to arrest the hysterical Haymes for outstanding debts. All of this happened against a backdrop of death threats to Hayworth's children and an ongoing custody battle she was fighting with Khan. During this time, while she was living in a hotel in New York, Hayworth sent the children to live with their nanny in deprived area of Westchester. There they were found and photographed by a reporter from Confidential magazine. That the photographer had been able to access them easily at the time of death-threats to them was one thing, the article also depicted them "in a trash littered backyard, playing among an assortment of loaded ash cans." The article caused a national scandal, highly damaging to Hayworth, bringing charges of neglect and bad parenting against her.

Hayworth and Haymes's world descended further into a maze of litigation, injunction and Haymes's verbal and physical violence. After a tumultuous two years together Haymes overstepped the mark when in 1955 he struck her in the face in public at the Cocoanut Grove night club in Los Angeles. It was the final straw in their relationship. Hayworth packed her bags, walked out, and never returned.

The extreme event leading to Hayworth's separation shook her so badly she had a "severe emotional shock," according to her doctor, who ordered her to remain in bed for several days. Hayworth also found herself very short of money after her marriage to Haymes and having pursued Aly Khan for child support money throughout her marriage to Haymes, she now sued Orson Welles for back payment of child support she claimed had never been paid. As well as being ultimately unsuccessful, this only added to her stressed condition and on the set of Fire Down Below she was seen tearing up her bundle of mail and scattering the scraps in the sea. On being told one of these letters may have contained money she remarked "more trouble than money".

5) James Hill

After Haymes, Hayworth began another relationship with a man keen to exploit her for his own gain, Raymond Hakim, who embarked on an ill-fated attempt to take her to Europe to star in a film based on the life of Isadora Duncan; then film producer James Hill who she went on to marry. By his own account, Hill started with the best intentions but would up 'as anxious to use her as all the rest.' On February 2, 1958, Hayworth married Hill, who put her in one of her last major films, Separate Tables. On September 1, 1961, Hayworth filed for divorce from Hill, alleging extreme mental cruelty. He later wrote the book Rita Hayworth: A Memoir in which he suggested their marriage collapsed because he wanted Hayworth to continue making movies while she wanted both of them to retire from the Hollywood scene.

Charlton Heston, in his book, In the Arena, sheds some light on Hayworth's brief marriage to Hill. Heston had never met her when he and his wife Lydia joined Hayworth and Hill for dinner in a restaurant in Spain with director George Marshall and Rex Harrison, Hayworth's co-star in The Happy Thieves. Heston, who was in Spain making El Cid, writes on page 253 of his memoir (HarperCollins paperback version) that "it turned into the single most embarrassing evening of my life," describing how Hill heaped "obscene abuse" on Hayworth until she was "reduced to a helpless flood of tears, her face buried in her hands." Heston writes how they all sat stunned, witnesses to a "marital massacre" and though he was "strongly tempted to slug him" (Hill), he instead simply took his wife Lydia home when she stood up, almost in tears herself. Heston ends by writing, "I’m ashamed of walking away from Miss Hayworth’s humiliation. I never saw her again."

She never married again.

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rita_Hayworth

Find a Grave: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=1253

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000028/

Filmography

As Rita Cansino

   * Anna Case in La Fiesta (Short subject, 1926, Unconfirmed)
   * Cruz Diablo aka The Devil's Cross (Uncredited, 1934)
   * In Caliente (1935) (scenes deleted)
   * Under the Pampas Moon (1935)
   * Charlie Chan in Egypt (1935)
   * Dante's Inferno (1935)
   * Paddy O'Day (1935)
   * Human Cargo (1936)
   * Meet Nero Wolfe (1936)
   * Rebellion (1936)
   * The Dancing Pirate (1936)
   * Old Louisiana (1937)
   * Hit the Saddle (1937)
   * Trouble in Texas (1937)

As Rita Hayworth

   * Criminals of the Air (1937)
   * Girls Can Play (1937)
   * The Game That Kills (1937)
   * Paid to Dance (1937)
   * The Shadow (1937)
   * Who Killed Gail Preston? (1938)
   * Special Inspector (1938)
   * There's Always a Woman (1938)
   * Convicted (1938)
   * Juvenile Court (1938)
   * The Renegade Ranger (1938)
   * Homicide Bureau (1939)
   * The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt (1939)
   * Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
   * Music in My Heart (1940)
   * Blondie on a Budget (1940)
   * Susan and God (1940)
   * The Lady in Question (1940)
   * Angels Over Broadway (1940)
   * The Strawberry Blonde (1941)
   * Affectionately Yours (1941)
   * Blood and Sand (1941)
   * You'll Never Get Rich (1941)
   * My Gal Sal (1942)
   * Tales of Manhattan (1942)
   * You Were Never Lovelier (1942)
   * Show Business at War (1943) (short subject)
   * Cover Girl (1944)
   * Tonight and Every Night (1945)
   * Gilda (1946)
   * Down to Earth (1947)
   * The Lady from Shanghai (1947)
   * The Loves of Carmen (1948)
   * Champagne Safari (1952)
   * Affair in Trinidad (1952)
   * Salome (1953)
   * Miss Sadie Thompson (1953)
   * Fire Down Below (1957)
   * Pal Joey (1957)
   * Separate Tables (1958)
   * They Came to Cordura (1959)
   * The Story on Page One (1959)
   * The Happy Thieves (1962)
   * Circus World (1964)
   * The Money Trap (1965)
   * The Poppy Is Also a Flower (1966)
   * L'Avventuriero (1967)
   * I Bastardi (1968)
   * The Naked Zoo (1971)
   * Road to Salina (1971)
   * The Wrath of God (1972)
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Rita Hayworth's Timeline

1918
October 17, 1918
Brooklyn, NY, USA
1937
May 29, 1937
Age 18
1943
May 24, 1943
Age 24
September 7, 1943
Age 24
1944
1944
Age 25
Santa Monica, CA, USA
1949
May 27, 1949
Age 30
1953
September 24, 1953
Age 34
1955
December 12, 1955
Age 37
1958
February 2, 1958
Age 39