Rita Hayworth (born Margarita Carmen Cansino) was an American actress and dancer. Often cast as the exotic foreigner, Hayworth (Cansino) appeared in several roles in 1935: in with Spencer Tracy; andPaddy O’Day, in which she played a Russian dancer. She was an Argentinian in Under the Pampas Moon and an Egyptian beauty in Charlie Chan in Egypt. In 1936, she took her first starring role as a “Latin type” in Human Cargo.
Hayworth appeared in five minor Columbia pictures and three minor independent movies in 1937. The following year, she appeared in five Columbia B movies. In 1939, Cohn pressured director Howard Hawks to use Hayworth for a small but important role as a man-trap in the aviation drama Only Angels Have Wings, in which she played opposite Cary Grant and Jean Arthur.
Cohn began to build up Hayworth in 1940 in features such as Music in My Heart, The Lady in Question, and Angels Over Broadway. That year, she was first featured in a Life magazine cover story. Cohn loaned Hayworth to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to appear in Susan and God opposite Joan Crawford. While on loan to Warner Bros., Hayworth appeared as the second female lead in The Strawberry Blonde (1941), opposite James Cagney.
Her success led to a supporting role in Blood and Sand (1941) opposite Tyrone Power and Linda Darnell with Fox, the studio that had dropped her six years before. In one of her most notable screen roles, Hayworth played Doña Sol des Muire, the first of many screen sirens.
In August 1941, Hayworth was featured in an iconic Life magazine photo in which she posed in a negligee with a black lace bodice. In 1944, Hayworth made one of her best-known films, the Technicolor musical Cover Girl (1944) with Gene Kelly. The film established her as Columbia’s top star of the 1940s, and gave her the distinction of being the first of only six women to dance on screen with both Kelly and Fred Astaire.
Her sexy, glamorous appeal, was most noted in Charles Vidor‘s film noir Gilda (1946) with Glenn Ford, which caused censors some consternation. The role, in which Hayworth wore black satin and performed a legendary one-glove striptease, “Put The Blame On Mame”, made her into a cultural icon as a femme fatale.
The fourth atomic bomb ever to be detonated was decorated with a photograph of Hayworth cut from the June 1946 issue of Esquire magazine. Above it was stenciled the device’s nickname, “Gilda”, in two-inch black letters.