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The Real Woman Behind Rita Hayworth (Her Tragic Secret)

Rita Hayworth is one of the most famous sex symbols of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Her appearance is so iconic that it plasters on the side of an atomic bomb! She forces into dancing by her abusive father and then coerced into a career in entertainment by her first husband. Rita becomes one of the most lusted-after actresses of her day thanks to her appearances. It’s in the films Gilda and Pal Joey. Throughout all of Rita’s successes, there’s always a dark undercurrent of dependency and mental instability. It prevents her from finding peace until the very end. Join Facts Verse as we explore the real woman behind Rita Hayworth (her tragic secret).

Rita Hayworth In Brooklyn

Rita Hayworth was born on October 17, 1918, in Brooklyn. At the time of her birth, her name is Margarita Cansino. Her name will remain as such until the start of her Hollywood career. Rita’s father was a dancer, and he chose Rita to join in his career with him at a young age. While her siblings were playing games, Rita was performing with her father professionally. Rita would later confess to her second husband Orson Welles that her father had been sexually abusive towards her. Rita wants to escape from the grasps of her father. So, she runs into the arms of the first man that offers marriage to her. She married a car salesman by the name of Ed Judson at the age of only 18. He was nearly 40, and he didn’t love Rita so much as see potential in her.

Apparently, it was Ed’s desire to make his new wife a star. According to Rita, her first husband considered her to be more of an investment than a spouse. Ed can be largely credited with coming up with Rita’s Hollywood image, alongside Columbia Pictures’ studio head, Harry Cohn. Numerous alterations to Rita’s appearance, and her name changes from Margarita Cansino to her more famous stage name. Given that Rita didn’t have very many pleasant memories with the name, she didn’t much mind. Physical alterations did to Rita including such minute things as dying her hair red. As well as more invasive procedures such as electrolysis to alter her hairline. These changes were made to make Rita appear more American.

Rita Hayworth And Ed Judson

Rita Hayworth and first husband, Ed Judson, married in 1937. Ed then began taking Rita all around Hollywood in the hopes of making her a star. Rita’s first husband coerces her into having sex with powerful men in the industry so that she can get ahead. For this reason, Rita came to consider Ed to be more of a pimp than a husband. Rita comes into the marriage with love in her heart. Ed is simply looking to make a quick buck off of her good looks.

Rita is shy during her days in Hollywood, though her first husband forces her to make the rounds and do publicity to show. Ed Junson found an unlikely ally in studio head Harry Cohn, and they conspired together to alter the burgeoning star’s appearance. The actress subsequently signed with Columbia Pictures, and it was only a short time before she was a star! Once she becomes a star at Columbia Pictures, Harry Cohn expects that Rita will perform sexual favors for him. When Rita refuses, it initiates a feud between her and the studio head that lasts until her final days with the studio.

Hayworth In Columbia Pictures

Rita Hayworth works for Columbia Pictures for two decades, over which time Harry Cohn makes her life a living hell because she refuses to hook up with him. Rita and Harry fight over numerous things, including contracts, approval for scripts, and the actress’s own personal life. Her final film with Columbia Pictures is Pal Joey, which releases in 1957. Finally, Rita was free from Harry’s grip!

By the time Rita Hayworth is free from Harry Cohn and Columbia Pictures, she divorces from first husband Ed Junson for well over a decade. Rita divorced Ed Junson in 1942, the same year that she met her second husband. Up until Rita’s death, she claimed that her second husband was the great love of her life. Her second husband was Orson Welles. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! Also, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!

Rita Hayworth And Orson Welles

After divorcing first husband Ed Junson in 1942, Rita Hayworth married Orson Welles in 1943. According to Rita, Orson was the great love of her life. The couple was incredibly happy during the early days of their marriage, though it would end up falling apart for a variety of reasons. Firstly, there was the fact that the two simply didn’t have very much in common. Rita was the much flashier of the two, while Orson was more of a reserved intellectual. Rita tried her best to immerse herself in the world of her new husband, and was madly in love with him. However, Orson soon seemingly fell out of love with his new wife. When Orson began becoming more elusive in the relationship, Rita found solace in substance abuse and alcohol dependency.

When Rita took to the bottle, it only made Orson Welles become that much more distant. Orson apparently began to despise Rita for her need to be loved by him, and despised her even more for her subsequent substance abuse. By the end of their relationship, Rita may have considered the director to be her great love, but he considered her to be a nuisance. It seems that Rita tried her hardest to mold herself in the image of who she thought Orson wanted her to be, while all he really wanted her to be was herself.

Her And Orson Welles Dying Marriage

Although Rita Hayworth added fuel to the fire of her and Orson Welles’ dying marriage with her substance abuse, Orson Welles wasn’t without his own faults. Instead of working on his marriage with Rita, Orson could be found fraternizing with mistress Gloria Vanderbilt in New York City’s social scene. The two fell in love while Rita was pregnant with Orson’s child. Another woman that Orson was involved with during the time that he was married to Rita was Judy Garland. Besides Gloria Vanderbilt and Judy Garland, Orson also had a penchant for soliciting sex workers.

Before his death, Orson Welles recalled how he was repulsed by Rita Hayworth’s reaction when she found out that her visage had been plastered on the side of an atomic bomb. Instead of finding humor in the situation, like her husband did, she was so angered that she began to actively plot to go campaign to congress to have the image removed. Harry Cohn had something to say about Rita’s outrage, saying that she needed to keep it to herself because the American audience would find it unpatriotic.

Rita Hayworth And Aly Khan

After divorcing second husband Orson Welles in 1947, Rita Hayworth went on to marry third husband Aly Khan two years later, in 1949. Aly was a Pakistani diplomat, and their marriage lasted until 1953. During the years that she was married to Aly, Rita succumbed further and further to drink. Rita had started out as a shy and innocent young woman that let others push her around. She developed a much bolder personality as she got older and became better about sticking up for herself, but she could also be incredibly defensive and lash out when it wasn’t called for. Her alcoholism made this behavior worse.

Following her divorce from Aly Khan in 1953, Rita went on to marry two other men over the course of the decade. The first was fourth husband Dick Haymes, while the second was fifth husband James Hill. After Rita and James Hill divorced in 1961, Rita never remarried. By that point, the actress was a much different person than the star that Hollywood had come to love, with much of the darkness of her past having damaged her past the point of no return. She spent her last two marriages in a disassociated state, and arguably never recovered from this state after her fifth divorce.

Her Alzheimer’s Disease In 1980

By the 1980s, Rita had begun acting considerably different. Most around her contributed this change in behavior to her alcoholism, and they were shocked when the actress was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at the beginning of the decade. Rita was diagnosed with the disease in 1980, and ended up passing away in 1987. During the final years of her life, Rita lived in an apartment adjoining her daughter’s. There, her daughter cared for her needs as she increasingly succumbed to her failing health. Old friends like Orson Welles would also drop in, with the Citizen Kane icon having long since forgiven her for her more dependent tendencies.

There were other men that Rita Hayworth was involved with during her time. She had an on-and-off romantic relationship with Glenn Ford, whom she starred with in the 1946 motion picture Gilda. Along with Orson Welles, Glenn Ford was one of the old friends that could be found visiting the actress during her final days. Another star that Rita Hayworth was romantically tied to during her career was Kirk Douglas. Rita reportedly hooked up with Kirk Douglas while still married to third husband Aly Khan.

Although Rita Hayworth was one of the most celebrated sex symbols of Hollywood’s Golden Age, she lived a life of tragedy and confusion that saw her rarely happy. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that Rita Hayworth considered Citizen Kane filmmaker Orson Welles to be the love of her life, and that she was forced into dancing by her abusive father when she was just a teenager? As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!

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