Before and After
Spanish dancer Eduardo Cansino‘s daughter Margarita trained as a dancer from early childhood. At age 12, mature-looking Rita joined Eduardo’s stage act, in which she was spotted three years later by Fox studio head Winfield R. Sheehan, leading to her first studio contract and film debut at age 16 in Dante’s Inferno (1935). Fox dropped her after five small roles, but expert, exploitative promotion by first husband Edward Judson soon brought Rita a new contract at Columbia Pictures, where studio head Harry Cohnchanged her name to Hayworth and approved raising her hairline by electrolysis. After 13 mainly minor roles, Columbia lent her to Warner Bros. for her first big success, The Strawberry Blonde (1941); her splendid dancing with Fred Astaire in You’ll Never Get Rich (1941) made her a star.
Hayworth hailed from show business stock. Her father, the Spanish-born Eduardo Cansino, was a dancer, and her mother, Volga, had been a Ziegfeld Follies girl. Soon after their daughter was born, they shortened her name to Rita Cansino. By the time Rita was 12 she was dancing professionally.
Her stardom peaked in 1946 with the film Gilda, which cast her opposite Glenn Ford. A favorite of film noir fans, the film was chock-full of sexual innuendo, which included a controversial (tame by today’s standards) striptease by Hayworth.
The following year she starred in another film noir favorite,