August 3, 2021

One hundred years of Rita Hayworth, the icon that asphyxiated Margarita Cansino | Culture

One hundred years of Rita Hayworth, the icon that asphyxiated Margarita Cansino | Culture


Rita Hayworth, in 'Gilda'.

He did not do more than a handful of good movies. She herself claimed that she did not like Hollywood, and her comings and goings with the movies – in some cases of return, pushed by a husband – they showed it. She was an actress overcome by a myth, someone who complained bitterly that men loved their characters and did not want to know anything about her. "All the men I know lie down with Gilda, but he they raise with me, "she confessed, today Margarita Carmen Cansino would have been 100 years old, and there is almost no trace left of her, instead, the product that Hollywood turned her into, Rita Hayworth, One of the great stars of cinema, is immortal.

For the general public, and more for Franco's Spain, which always thought that censorship had cut a nude, it was Gilda, like that, dry, without a surname, like the movie she starred in. For moviegoers, his Elsa Bannister of The lady from Shanghai. Or as the favorite couple in dances of Fred Astaire In the official papers, and in his soul, Margarita Carmen Cansino, the daughter of a Sevillian dancer, a sad woman, devoured by Alzheimer's, hid her mood swings, her tantrums for 20 years were attributed to alcohol . With sorrow, her youngest daughter, Yasmin Aga Khan – who was her mother's legal guardian from 1981 until her death in 1987 – said that they wish they had known the diagnosis before.

Before Hayworth was Margarita Carmen Cansino, born in the New York borough of Brooklyn, on October 17, 1918. Her father, the Sevillian dancer Eduardo Cansino, emigrated with his wife, the also dancer Volga Cansino, and their children from the East Coast to the West of the United States in 1927, where he opened a dance school.

Orson Welles and Hayworth, in 'The Lady of Shanghai'.
Orson Welles and Hayworth, in 'The Lady of Shanghai'.

Life was not easy for the Cansino. In the crisis of 1929 they lost the academy, so Eduardo Cansino pushed his daughter, with great talent for dance, to start her career with 10 years. With 12 years the newspapers praised that "young woman of 14 years, of prominent bust and provocative aspect". The Dancing Cansinos, Eduardo and his daughter Margarita, toured the casinos of the Californian coast for years, and thus entered the world of cinema. In a camera test, Rudolph Maté saw it, with time the director of photography of Gilda, and he knew how to see the possibilities of the teenager Cansino. The result was that Fox hired Margarita to dance in The ship of Satan (1935).

Cansino's rise to stardom was long. Her physique-away from the canons of Hollywood-did not accompany her, so much for her weight for her face. And his surname, excessively Hispanic, which changed for his mother, Hayworth. At Columbia Pictures, presided over by Harry Cohn, he found his future. In May of 1937, less than four months after signing the agreement, Rita finished the filming of The Game That Kills and the next day she fled to get married in Yuma (Arizona), with Eddie Judson, who had mediated for her in Columbia. Judson put him on a regimen, signed him up for speech classes. and his forehead was shaved, delaying the line of the hair -which they also clarified several tones-, and leaving the line in the middle and entering the reign of the wavy mane that would give him fame. With this change came his great opportunity, Only Angels Have Wings, by Howard Hawks, in 1941.

Rita Hayworth, in 'Salomé'.
Rita Hayworth, in 'Salomé'.

Hayworth had a score of films when another external element catapulted him into the eyes of the public: the Technicolor Blood and Sand. Suddenly, the color and its interpretation of women object of desire here and in The redhead they made it a sexual icon for US troops in their entry into World War II. In his life appeared Orson Welles, who insisted and fought against his refusals to go out with her … until he succeeded. On September 7, 1943, while Hayworth was filming The models, with Gene Kelly, the couple got married in Santa Monica. And a year later, in December of 1944 they had a girl, Rebecca. With Welles he became involved in the Mercury Wonder Show, a circus show in which Welles enjoyed his passion for magic: his culminating act was to cut Rita Hayworth in two parts.

His career exploded with Gilda in 1946. At last Hayworth was in charge of his career. His next project was The goddess of dance, in which he embodied Terpsichore, the muse of Olympus dedicated to dance, and just after The lady from Shanghai, from and with Orson Welles, a film that Hayworth shot while separating from the genius, although deep down she still hoped to recover it. Welles himself warned against the character: the filmmaker had contacted the character with a French actress, Barbara Laage. Instead, Hayworth remembered the enjoyment of his work in the magic show and thought he could emotionally recover Welles. His ex-husband remembered that one night Rita told him: "The only happiness I've had in life has been with you." Years later, in an interview the filmmaker stressed: "If that was happiness, how had it been the rest of his life!". The idea of ​​the cut of hair and the dyeing in platinum blond was born of Welles, who thus promoted a different Rita. Hayworth herself supported him: "Orson was trying something new with me, but Harry Cohn wanted the Image … the Image he wanted me to keep until I turned ninety!"

All in all, the film was a disaster, and it did not save her or Hayworth's fame, the number 1 box office for Columbia, and whose career began to decline. While filming in 1948 The loves of Carmen, again with director Charles Vidor and with Glenn Ford -with the actor she collaborated in, she participated in five movies-, she became pregnant with the billionaire Howard Hughes. Hayworth aborted. He decided to move to Paris. And there she met Prince Ali Khan, who became her third husband in May 1949. She left the cinema voluntarily to dedicate herself to a marriage that also collapsed, and of which her second daughter, her favorite, Yasmin, was born. end of December 1949.

Margarita Cansino, in a 1936 promotional photo of the Fox studios.
Margarita Cansino, in a 1936 promotional photo of the Fox studios.

When she returned to Hollywood, Harry Cohn re-hired her, although for films below their potential and talent: with age she became a very good actress, and never made the mistake of embodying younger characters. And that wisdom appears in jobs like Salome, one of his favorite films, Separate tables (produced by her husband from 1958 to 1961, producer James Hill), The beauty of the Pacific, They arrived at Cordura, The trap of money or The fabulous world of the circus, in whose filming in 1966 he was no longer able to remember the dialogues.

Unfortunately, his Alzheimer's was not diagnosed until 1980, and that's why he appeared in poor condition on numerous occasions in public, before the press and on the sets. Of his latest films, they stand out The Route of the Salina, and the last one: The God's anger. Cared for by Yasmin, the actress died in New York on May 14, 1987. Margarita Cansino died, Rita Hayworth entered the Olympus of cinema.

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