Monday, September 23, 2013

Transforming Rita

Back in the 1930's, a young actress named Rita Cansino, was having a hard time breaking away from small exotic roles, in part due to her name, and in part to the jet black hair of her Spanish heritage.

As a starlet at Fox Studios, Rita Cansino married salesman and promoter Edward C. Judson.  Judson knew potential when he saw it.  Not only was Cansino beautiful, she was a dancer with a charismatic stage presence, and a spark that Judson knew would propel her to stardom.

Judson got her the lead roles in several independent films and arranged a screen test with Columbia Pictures. Columbia studio head Harry Cohn signed Cansino to a long-term contract, then cast her in small roles in Columbia features.

Cansino appeared in several roles in the mid 1930s playing an exotic foreigner.  Cohn claimed that Cansino's image was too Mediterranean.  That reduced her opportunities to being cast in "exotic" roles, which were more limited in number. 

At Cohn and Judson's urging, Cansino changed her hair color to auburn and her name to Rita Hayworth. By using her mother's maiden name (Haworth), she allowed the public to see her British-American ancestry and became a classic "American" pin-up.

And the rest is history...Rita Hayworth became a screen siren superstar of the 1940s! 

My favorite Rita Hayworth movie is Gilda. What's yours? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!


Norma said...

I'd have to agree. Gilda!

William Kendall said...

I was wondering who that might be!

It's been a long while since I've seen any of her films.

Old Kitty said...

Awwww she's a total STAR!!!

Gilda - always and forever Gilda!! Put the blame on mame boys! Yay! Take care

Maria McKenzie said...

@Norma: Such a great movie--or at least Rita makes it great;).

@William: She doesn't look like the same person!

@Kitty: A STAR indeed!

Nas said...

She sounds like a wonderful person and a star! Thanks for sharing about her and for the introduction!

Maria McKenzie said...

Thanks, Nas!