"I haven't had everything from life. I've had too much." - Rita Hayworth
Rita Hayworth was born Margarita Carmen Cansino on October 17, 1918, in Brooklyn, New York. Her father was a dance instructor and Rita began performing with him when she was a teenager. She later confided to friends that her father had sexually molested her. In 1935 Rita made her film debut in the drama Dante's Inferno. Rita married her manager, Edward Judson, in 1937. He spent her money and encouraged her to sleep with powerful men in Hollywood. Rita dyed her dark hair red and had her hairline raised with electrolysis. She was offered a contract with Columbia pictures. Rita worked with Tyrone Power in Blood And Sand and with Fred Astaire in You Were Never Lovelier. Fred later said she was his favorite dancing partner. She became a popular pin-up and was nicknamed "The Love Goddess". Rita divorced her husband and became engaged to Victor Mature. She broke off the engagement and married Orson Welles in 1943. They had a daughter, Rebecca, the following year. In 1946 Rita was cast as a femme-fatale in Gilda. It became the most successful film of her career. Orson directed Rita in the 1948 film-noir The Lady from Shanghai. As a publicity stunt he made Rita cut her hair and dye it blonde.
Orson and Rita's marriage ended shortly after the movie was finished. She began dating billionaire Howard Hughes. Rita got pregnant and had an abortion when Howard would not marry her. In 1949 Rita quit making movies and became a real life princess when she married Prince Aly Khan. Their daughter, Yasmin, was born that December. Rita and Aly divorced in 1952 but they would continue to fight over custody of Yasmin until Aly's death in 1960. Rita returned to Hollywood appearing in movies like Affair In Trinidad and Pal Joey. In 1953 Rita married singer Dick Haymes. The marriage lasted just two years. It was reported that Dick abused Rita. She married producer James Hill in 1958. They formed a production company together but this marriage also ended in divorce.
She started seeing Gary Merrill, ex-husband of Bette Davis. Rita developed a serious drinking problem and often had trouble remembering her lines. In the early 1970s she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and retired from making movies. Rita was cared for by her daughter, Princess Yasmin, until her death on May 14, 1987. She is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California. Princess Yasmin, is now the President of Alzheimer's Disease International.