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Rita Hayworth, World War Two

Updated Feb 11, 2024
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Rita Hayworth, World War Two
A photo of Rita Hayworth campaigning for the recycling of scrap metal in World War Two.

A large part of the home front war effort in World War Two was saving scrap metal that could be recycled into weapons for the war (also used for ships and aircraft). The caption on this photo from the National Archives says that Rita Hayworth "sacrificed her bumpers for the duration" (of the war). Rita Hayworth was a big movie star at the time and she also helped sell war bonds - her two younger brothers were both in the War. Most of Hollywood was involved in the war effort, either through promoting home front campaigns such as Victory Gardens, buying war bonds, rationing, or collecting scrap metal, or by service in the War overseas.

Margarita Carmen Cansino was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1918. She changed her name to Rita Hayworth for the stage and eventually was named one of the top 25 female motion picture stars of all time. Married and divorced 5 times (once to Orson Wells), her life was plagued with alcoholism. Later in life, she was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's and died at the age of 68 in 1987.
Date & Place: in California USA
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The beautiful and glamorous Margarita Carmen Cansino, helping the war effort in 1942. Of course, she wasn't known by her birth name - do you know her stage name?
Photo of Susan Birrell Susan Birrell
via Facebook
09/26/2017
Yes, I know...Rita
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Rita Hayworth
Margarita Carmen Cansino was known professionally as Rita Hayworth. Rita,'s parents were Spanish dancer Eduardo Cansino and Ziegfield Follies performer Volga Hayworth. She had two brothers, Eduardo Jr. and Vernon. Rita's mother wanted her to be an actress and her father wanted her to become a professional dancer. (Dancing was especially strong on her father's side, his father was renowned as a classical Spanish dance, popularizing the bolero), She took dance lessons beginning at the age of 3, at her father's insistence. Although she said later that "I didn't like it very much . . . but I didn't have the courage to tell my father, so I began taking the lessons. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, that was my girlhood". In 1927, her father took the family to Hollywood, hoping that dancing would become popular in the movies. He opened a dance studio, teaching stars like Jimmy Cagney and Jean Harlow. 12-year-old partnered with her father in 1931, dying her hair black (from brown). Because she was too young to work legally in California, they opened in a show in Tijuana. In 1934, Rita took a bit part in the film "Cruz Diablo" while she was still dancing in nightclubs with her father. She was seen in the "Caliente Club' by an executive at Fox Film Corp. and signed a contract with him as "Rita Cansino". Her first speaking role was as an Argentinian girl in 1935. Roles followed as a Egyptian and a Russian at Fox. At the end of her contract with Fox, the studio merged with 20th Century Fox with Darryl Zanuck at the head. Zanuck wasn't impressed with Rita and gave her next proposed role to Loretta Young ("Ramona") and did not renew Rita's contract. That's when Rita's first husband came into the picture, promoter Edward C Judson. He got freelance work for her at several small studios. Studio Head then signed her to a 7-year contract. After Judson persuaded her to change her surname from Cansino to Hayworth and suggested that she change her hair color to dark red (as well as getting electrolysis to 'raise her hairline and broaden the appearance of her forehead", Rita appeared in less "ethnic" and bigger roles. By 1940, she was starring in movies like "Music in My Heart" and "The Lady in Question". She returned to Columbia Pictures, evening making two films with Fred Astaire. Fred later said that his favorite dancing partner was Rita but he went on, "All right, I'll give you a name", he said. "But if you ever let it out, I'll swear I lied. It was Rita Hayworth. She fulfilled both parent's dreams - a dancer and an actor!" Read the statement by Ronald Reagan, a fellow actor and President of the United States, issued after her death at Rita Hayworth: Professions
Age in photo:
24
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