Esther Williams, former swimmer and film star, dies aged 91 in Los Angeles
Esther Williams, a former champion swimmer and subsequent film star, has died at the age of 91 in Los Angeles.
Harlan Boll, her publicist, announced that Williams died “peacefully in her sleep”.
Williams graced the Technicolor musicals of the 1940s and 50s, becoming known for aquatic adventures such as Dangerous When Wet and Million Dollar Mermaid – the film she named her autobiography after.
In 1939, Williams, age 17, won three gold medals in the national championships and earned herself a place on the United States Olympic team.
In the autobiography, the swimmer’s showbiz career was dubbed “a consolation prize,” to the Olympic gold medal she missed out on having a chance of competing for after the 1940 Olympic Games were cancelled.
The star later signed a contract with American media company MGM who were seeking a sporting champion to star in their films. She went on to make 27 films.
In the early 1950s, Williams attempted to expand her acting horizons to non-swimming roles but was met with resistance from her studio paymasters.
When her autobiography was released in 1999, she told reporters “I guess what MGM found was that my audience wanted that bathing suit.
"And you know, when Cinemascope came in and you've got that water all wrapped around you and they'd do big close-ups of me... I think it had too much pleasure connected with it for them to change it."
She is survived by Edward Bell, a professor of French Literature; a daughter, Susan Beardslee; her son, Benjamin Gage; three stepsons, actor Lorenzo Lamas, Anthony Bell and Tima Alexander Bell, three grandchildren and eight stepgrandchildren.
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
- 2 Scottish independence: Learn from Quebec's mistakes and beware of promises. Vote Yes.
- 3 'Necrophilia-obsessed' girl among double murder accused in three-way sex case
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Revealed after 75 years of secrecy: 'Fifi' the glamorous WW2 special agent who tested British spies' resolve
Laurie Lee's Rosie: What is it like to inspire a writer's work and be immortalised forever on the page?
Doctor Who series 8: Time Heist pictures revealed ahead of episode 5
The Walking Dead season 5 air date, trailer and season 4 recap
Star Wars 7 leaked set photo of Adam Driver changes everything
Pharrell Williams says 'Blurred Lines' criticism is out of context
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'