Annette Kellerman won the world over as a swimmer.
Kellerman became known around the world as Australia's "million dollar mermaid" after learning the sport as treatment for a childhood condition that may have been mild polio. By age 15 she was performing in a Melbourne aquatic show in a tank with eels and fish.
She soon caught people's attention when she swam 17 miles down the Thames River and was given a contract from the London Daily Mirror to swim the English Channel, which she attempted three times.
In 1907, Kellerman caused a scandal in Boston by wearing a one-piece bathing suit in public. She was arrested for indecent exposure.
Kellerman is often credited for inventing the sport of synchronized swimming after her 1917 performance of the first water ballet in a glass tank at the New York Hippodrome. Eventually Kellerman took on the film world. She appeared in a series of silent films, including "Neptune's Daughter" and "The Daughter of the Gods."
She married James Sullivan, an American press agent.
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