The famous Hollywood Star Esther Williams, who jumped to stardom in the 40’s, passed away of natural causes in Beverly Hills, California according to her publicist Harlan Boll, she was 91.
Her image in swimming suits, perpetuated in many of her movies, were the favorite of American soldiers during World War II.
She was in a wheelchair due to an accident that broke her ankle, but she kept active and enjoyed her pool, explained her husband Edward Bell, in august of 2011 at her 90th birthday.
She spent a lot of time with her grandkid Jack (3 years old) teaching him…so he could tell people: do you know who taught me to swim?
“Swimming is the only sport that you can practice from your first bath until the last one. And without injuries” she told her husband by email.
She use to spend her time with her close family and friends looking at old movies, playing tennis and giving assists to her Science of Mind Spiritual Center.
“Esther Williams set multiple national and regional swimming records in her late teens as part of the Los Angeles Athletic Club swim team. Unable to compete in the 1940 Summer Olympics because of the outbreak of World War II, she joined Billy Rose’s Aquacade, where she took on the role vacated by Eleanor Holm after the show’s move from New York City to San Francisco. While in the city, she spent five months swimming alongside Olympic gold medal winner and Tarzan star, Johnny Weissmuller. It was at the Aquacade that Williams caught the attention of MGM scouts. After appearing in several small roles, alongside Mickey Rooney in an Andy Hardy film, and future five time co-star Van Johnson in A Guy Named Joe, Williams made a series of films in the 1940s and early 1950s known as “aqua musicals”, which featured elaborate performances with synchronized swimming and diving.”
From 1945 to 1949, Williams had at least one film listed among the 20 highest grossing films of the year. In 1952, Williams appeared in her only biographical role, as Australian swimming star Annette Kellerman in Million Dollar Mermaid, which would go on to become her nickname while at MGM. Williams left MGM in 1956 and appeared in a handful of unsuccessful feature films, followed by several extremely popular water-themed television specials, including one from Cypress Gardens, Florida.
Following her retirement from film in the 1960s, Williams became a businesswoman, and lent her name to a line of swimming pools and retro swimwear, instructional swimming videos for children, and serving as a commentator for synchronized swimming at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.” Quoted from Wikipedia.
Esther Williams was the protagonist of classic films like Ziegfeld Follies (1945), Neptune’s Daughter (1949), Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (1949), Ms William Swam (1949-1950), Jupiter’s Darling (1955), but Bathing Beauty (1944) was probably her biggest film.
At 16 she had beaten several national and regional records as member of The Los Angeles Athletic Club when she was chosen to participate at the Olympic Games of 1940, but they were cancelled because the World War II has already started.
She worked with Johnny Weissmuller (Tarzan) in the Billy Rose Aquacade where she called the attention of the big Hollywood executives and the Metro-Godwin-Mayer (MGM) and they adapted that show to the big screen.
She used to diminish importance to her talent saying that she did not know how to act, sing or dance but after decades she understood why she was so popular.
The aqua musicals where William was a protagonist were comedies with exuberant color, pompous songs and aquatic dancing shows with a lot of synchronized swimming. They were so popular that some people attribute this to the popularity of swimming pools in suburbia.
Esther Williams was born in Los Angeles on August 8 of 1921.
Written by Edgar Soto