Rita Hayworth was a shy Spanish dancer who was transformed into the titian-haired movie "love goddess" of the 1940s.
Hayworth's glamour was such that during World War II she was second only to Betty Grable as the GIs' favorite pinup. Columnists wrote that she was the woman Technicolor was invented for. She was on the cover of Life magazine four times, a record equaled only by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and her picture was pasted on the first atomic bomb exploded in peacetime, on Bikini Atoll in 1946.
In 1939, she made a splash in a supporting role with Cary Grant and Jean Arthur in "Only Angels Have Wings." Full stardom arrived two years later when she was teamed with Fred Astaire in "You'll Never Get Rich" and "You Were Never Lovelier."
By 1949, Miss Hayworth was one of Hollywood's highest-paid actresses—earning more than $375,000 a year. She was also a real-life princess, the wife of Aly Khan, whose father was the spiritual leader of 9 million Ismaili Muslims.
During a 37-year career, she made 61 films—about half of them before she achieved stardom in 1941 in the light musical, "You'll Never Get Rich," with Fred Astaire. They included "Blood and Sand," "Tales of Manhattan," "Cover Girl," "Gilda" (the seductive siren who became her film signature), "The Lady From Shanghai," "Salome," "Miss Sadie Thompson," "Pal Joey," "The Story on Page One" and "The Money Trap." Her last film was "The Wrath of God" in 1972.
Miss Hayworth had five husbands, including Orson Welles, singer Dick Haymes and Khan. She said her marriages failed because no man would give her what she really wanted—a quiet home life. She once explained the problem by saying, "Every man I knew had fallen in love with Gilda and wakened with me."