RITA HAYWORTH d1987. American actress and dancer. She achieved fame during the 1940s as one of the era's top stars, appearing in a total of 61 films over 37 years. The press coined the term "love goddess" to describe Hayworth after she had become the most glamorous screen idol of the 1940s. She was the top pin-up girl for GI's during WW2. She is perhaps best known for her performance in the 1946 film-noir "Gilda" opposite Glenn Ford, in which she played the femme fatale in her first major dramatic role. Fred Astaire (with whom she made two films) called her his favourite dance partner. Her greatest success was in the Technicolor musical "Cover Girl" (1944) with Gene Kelly. She is listed as one of the Top 25 female motion picture stars of all time in the AFI's 100 years and 100 stars survey. In 1980, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's which contributed to her death on May 14th 1987 at the age of 68. The public disclosure and discussion of her illness drew international attention to Alzheimer's (then a little-known disease) and helped to greatly increase public and private funding for its research. She was married and divorced five times (including to American actor Orson Welles between 1943-47). She is rumoured to have said ; "Basically, I am a good, gentle person, but I am attracted to mean personalities ..... "
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