Rita Hayworth, one of the most alluring actresses of the twentieth century, was also one of Columbia Pictures’ most memorable movie stars. Born Margarita Carmen Cansino in 1918 in New York City, Rita was taught to dance and perform at a very early age by her father, Eduardo Cansino. She became his dancing partner as they traveled the club circuit, where she was first discovered by a Fox Film executive.
She began her film career at Twentieth Century Fox performing in low budget movies before signing a contract with Columbia Pictures in 1937. She made a few more small pictures before changing her name to Rita Hayworth, taking on her mother’s maiden name. In 1938, she was cast alongside Cary Grant in ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS, giving a much-needed boost to her career and bringing heightened attention from studio head Harry Cohn.
Soon after that, Rita began to get better film offers from both Columbia and the other major studios and starred in fifteen motion pictures from 1939 to 1946 alone, including THE LADY IN QUESTION, ANGELS OVER BROADWAY, YOU’LL NEVER GET RICH, YOU WERE NEVER LOVELIER and COVER GIRL for Columbia. This was also the era of World War II, and in addition to making numerous USO appearances, Rita’s picture was one of the favorites of the troops.
Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles in THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI