• Rachel Davies - Retro Curator

The Hayworth "Love" Story

Margarita Carmen Cansino was born in Brooklyn, NY into a family of dancers. By the time she was twelve, Rita Cansino was an accomplished, mature looking, graceful dancer. She joined her fathers stage act and became his dance partner. The dancing Cansinos performed mostly on gambling boats in California and casinos in Tijuana.

Watching over her, Rita's father didn't allow her to have any dates until she was seventeen. Her first date was with a man that was 42 years old. A man, who a few months later, became her first husband. Eddie and Rita eloped when she was 18 much to her mother's disapproval.

Eddie Judson was car salesman who had connections in Hollywood. He was a man who knew how to mold a young and talented girl of unusual beauty into a glamorous figure that would attract the eye of the movie studios. It was he who convinced Rita to undergo electrolysis on her hairline and dye her hair red.

Miss Hayworth never spoke of her relationship with her first husband. "WHY MAGAZINE", a nationally known psychology magazine, in a thoughtful discussion of the Hayworth motivation, pointed out that Rita found little emotional security in this marriage. She never had the usual experiences with boys her own age. For all purposes, she had no adolescence. Then after marrying, she was directed solely towards stardom. She has said herself of her first marriage. “It wasn’t any fun."

By 1942, she was a star. A glamorous actress who earned $6500 a week. But something was missing in her life. She and her first husband, Eddie Judson drifted apart. The divorce was not friendly. As a matter of fact. Judson sued her for $12,000 and made several threats.

Orson Welles

Shortly after her divorce, Rita married Orson Welles in 1943. Welles pursued Rita after seeing the infamous LIFE photo of her. She fell for his advances and they formed a bond. Orson's strength and mental power seemed to satisfy her yearning for a man to love and adore. Someone to look up to, to comfort. And for a while it seemed that Rita had found her mate.

But there much intellect in Welles and Rita never learned of the world enough to gain the sophistication that would allow her to match Welles’ culture. So once again, Rita found sorrow not joy, hunger not fulfillment in her marriage. Soon Welles began to stay away at night and then for weeks at a time.

Even the birth of their daughter. Rebecca, made no difference and this dream ended in divorce in 1947. After her divorce she was seen about dating numerous fellows, including Howard Hughes.

Prince Charming? Then along came Aly Khan. Rita's prince charming had swept her off her feet. Handsome. rich, suave, traveled. There was nothing he lacked. Or so it seemed, to lonely love-hungry Rita Hayworth. All the longing for a mate, the endless search for true love was building up under the pressure of her success. These were the things that pushed the 28 year old Rita into her love affair with the reported "playboy" Prince Aly Khan. A love affair that took the ecstatic couple all over the world. The press eagerly noting every move.

Marriage #3 Comes to an End

Shortly after the marriage, their baby Yasmin was born. But soon we began to hear that things weren't going well. The royal tradition of service and responsibility to his position and people were too paramount for Rita. And Prince Aly struggled hard to achieve a balance that would satisfy her. In the beginning they were happy. But when the passion wore off, stresses' and strains developed. The social round of state luncheons,dinners and appearances kept Rita from the simple companionship she needed. Disheartened and homesick, Rita and her baby came back home to America. She soon filed for divorce.

Downhill Fast

After the divorce things started to go downhill fast for Rita. Custody battles with both Welles and Khan ensued. And her choice in male companions grew worse. She ended up marrying husband number four, Dick Haymes. Who ended up taking financially advantage of her. After suffering physical abuse, she filed for divorce.

She later started a relationship with produced James Hill, whom she married in 1958. Unfortunately this marriage also did not last and she filed for divorce in 1961.

Rita started drinking heavily and the early symptoms of Alzheimer's were beginning to take hold.

By 1962, she frequently would blank out and forget her lines. She even failed to recognize her ex husband Orson Welles and others.

In 1980 she was formally diagnosed with advanced Alzheimer disease at the age of 62. Her daughter Yasmin became her legal guardian and cared for her up until her death in 1987.

Allegations of Abuse

It was later reported in the biography, "If This Was Happiness" by Barbara Lemming, that Rita Hayworth was a victim of sexual abuse by her father. The claim, if true, leaves a heavy heart.

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#1940s #1950s #RitaHayworth


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