Rita Hayworth: 100 Years of ‘the Love Goddess’ with Rare Pics

The great Rita Hayworth was born 100 years ago today!

Hayworth's final public appearance (Image by Alan Light)

Considered one of Hollywood's top stars of all time, she appeared in a short in 1926, working steadily from the '30s through the '60s, and gave her final TV performances in 1971 and her final film performance in 1972.

Over the years, Hayworth — whose iconic images have included her 1941 boudoir pic for Life Magazine and her striptease from Gilda (1946) — has become synonymous with both glamour and the opposite of glamour: Alzheimer's disease. The horrendous affliction affected her for at least the last 10 years of her life, striking her down at just 68 in 1987.

Here's to one of the greats.

View this post on Instagram

Hollywood great Rita Hayworth was born 100 years ago today! The flame-haired bombshell was known as “the Love Goddess,” becoming a top WWII pinup and starring in such films as “Only Angels Have Wings” (1939), “The Strawberry Blonde” (1941), “Blood and Sand” (1941), “You’ll Never Get Rich” (1941), “You Were Never Lovelier” (1942), Cover Girl” (1944), “Gilda” (1946), “The Lady from Shanghai” (1947), “The Loves of Carmen” (1948), “Miss Sadie Thompson” (1953), “Pal Joey” (1957), “Separate Tables” (1958) and many more. She appeared on “Laugh-In” and “The Carol Burnett Show” in 1971 and in her final film in 1972. Her five marriages — including to Orson Welles (1915-1985), Prince Aly Khan (1911-1960) and Dick Haymes (1916-1980) — were tumultuous and shaped her career and image. She died in 1987 after a long slide into early Alzheimer’s disease, her last public appearance coming in 1980; her family, including Princess Yasmin Aga Khan (b. 1949), have used their mom to bring much awareness to the scourge of Alzheimer’s. #alzheimers #ritahayworth #movies #classicmovies #gilda #thelovegoddess #pinupgirl #celebritybirthdays #gr8erdays

A post shared by Gr8erDays (@gr8erdays) on

One of Hayworth's final interviews on camera. She was just 57 here and already exhibiting signs of confusion:

My pal Alan Light, a longtime film buff whose photography of celebrities in the '70s, '80s and '90s is a marvel, sent me some long-lost images of Hayworth, taken at a 1977 National Film Society function in Washington D.C. that was one of her final public appearances. She was already suffering from the early effects of her disease, but of course the public was in the dark about that. She looked wonderful:

(All images by Alan Light)

As a bonus, check out this National Film Society gala from 1979, also by Alan Light. Can you recognize the (many more!) famous faces in attendance?

1 Response

  1. JCW

    “Me?… Sure… I’m decent.” Perhaps one of the best entrances into a film any actress has ever made.


Leave a comment