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.
"...One of the most alluring actresses of the twentieth century, was also one of Columbia Pictures’ most memorable movie stars."
THE LOVE GODDESS
"Rita begins to get better film offers from both Columbia and the other major studios..."
1937 RITA HAYWORTH BEGINS HER FILM CAREER
She begins 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.
1938 ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS
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.
1939 RITA'S POPULARITY SOARS
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.
1946 GILDA SHATTERS BOX OFFICE RECORDS
In 1946, Rita starred in GILDA, which shattered box office records and catapulted her to worldwide fame. Her next film, the fantasy musical DOWN TO EARTH, was also a huge success.
1948 THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI / LOVES OF CARMEN
In 1948, THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI, directed by Rita’s then-husband Orson Welles featured Rita with short blonde hair and though it did not do well at the time, it is considered a classic today. Columbia then renewed Rita’s contract, and in 1948 she also made THE LOVES OF CARMEN through her Beckworth Production company. The film featured several members of her family.
1951 AFFAIR IN TRINIDAD'S SUCCESS
After a four-year hiatus, Rita returned to the big screen in 1951’s AFFAIR IN TRINIDAD, which did so well it exceeded the box office revenue of GILDA. She then made SALOME, MISS SADIE THOMPSON, and FIRE DOWN BELOW.
1957 RITA'S 20-YEAR-CONTRACT ENDS
PAL JOEY, which partnered Rita with Frank Sinatra and Kim Novak, was the final film she completed under her twenty-year contract with Columbia Pictures.