Thursday, 6 June 2013


When Esther Williams, who has just died in Beverley Hills, aged 91, was once asked to name her favourite leading man, she replied 'the water'!

Despite being a member of the US Olympic squad, she never achieved the Gold Medal she coveted because Hitler invaded Poland and the 1940 Olympic Games were cancelled. However, she used to say, her 'consolation prize' had been her 10-year career as a top star at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, during which time she swam an estimated 1,250 miles for the cameras, endured ruptured eardrums and a broken back from a 50-foot swan dive into MGM's $250,000 custom-built swimming pool.

Her films, outrageous extravaganzas of Busby Berkeley-choreographed aquatic ballets included Bathing Beauty, Jupiter's Darling, Dangerous When Wet, On an Island With You and Million Dollar Mermaid were examples of Hollywood escapism at its most self-indulgent and gloriously absurd and despite a life that involved various tragedies and hardships Esther Williams left a legacy of cinematic spectacle that was unique and unforgettable.

Here are a few watery memories...


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