Posts Tagged ‘Lady From Shanghai’

Rita Hayworth is still one of the most iconic pop culture figures of the 20th century and one of the four or five most iconic ‘Hollywood’ stars of the last century.
A few weeks ago marked the thirtieth anniversary of her death in 1987, and I wanted to take a moment to draw attention to some of the curious things relating to Hayworth and also to generally reflect on her.

Her story is an extraordinary, though not particularly happy, one; one that straddles the ‘Golden Age’ of Hollywood and cinema, the Second World War, and even becomes a real-life story of a princess, is punctuated by high-profile marriages and dysfunctions, and eventually finishes as a sad story of early onset Alzheimer’s.

The fact that Hayworth developed Alzheimer’s very young – and a time when the illness wasn’t very well understood – is the saddest aspect of her story. For much of her final years, it is said she didn’t really even know what being ‘Rita Hayworth’ meant and didn’t fully even remember her past.

My own fascination with Rita Hayworth began not with any of her films, but with a feature-length documentary film about her life I remember seeing on TV a number of years ago. It was narrated by Kim Basinger and called simply Rita – The Biography of Rita Hayworth; I remember being entranced by it when it was on in the very late hours of Christmas Day (or early hours of Boxing Day) about twelve years ago. (more…)