Born Margarita Carmen Cansino in New York on 17 th October 1918, Rita took to the stage at the age of twelve and by the age of fifteen had been spotted by the head of Fox Studios. By the still tender age of sixteen she had debuted in the 1935 movie, ‘Dante’s Inferno’. However, she was released by Fox after just a handful of small performances.
With the help of her husband, Edward Judson, she soon secured a contract at Columbia. It was at this time that she changed her name to Hayworth, and was loaned out to Warner where she secured her first big hit in 1941 with ‘The Strawberry Blonde’. This was followed by smash hits such as ‘You’ll Never Get Rich’ and ‘Gilda’.In 1949 Rita married again, this time to Prince Aly Khan. The marriage was not a happy one, and soon ended in divorce. The onset of the Alzheimer’s that killed her started early on, when Hayworth was just 42 years of age. It was not diagnosed for a further twenty years, however. Rita died from the disease in New York on 14 th May 1987.
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