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Esther Williams, RIP


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#1 dirac

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 09:37 PM

A reader of the board wrote in with the sad news that Esther Williams has died at age 91.

"Wet she's a star, dry she ain't" had some truth to it, but she was a very likable presence who provided some spectacular highlights for the "That's Entertainment!" series of feature films. She had a good head on her shoulders, too, and wrote an enjoyable autobiography. As sidwich observed on the Gene Kelly thread, definitely a star to have over for dinner. I get a kick out of "Jupiter's Daughter." RIP.


............In terms of star power, she was matched on screen only by Victor Mature, with whom she had an affair when they were making “Million Dollar Mermaid,” and by MGM’s all-American boy, Van Johnson, who wooed or was wooed by her in “Thrill of a Romance” (1945), “Easy to Wed” (1946), “Easy to Love” (1953) and “Duchess of Idaho” (1950).

“Just relax,” she recalled Mr. Johnson telling her after the first few days on “Thrill of a Romance.” “It’s your naturalness that’s going to make you a star.”



#2 sandik

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 09:47 PM

I just watched one of the numbers from Bathing Beauty -- she did excellent work in a very strange part of the film world.

#3 ascballerina

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 07:41 AM

Her movies plot-wise do little for me, but I like her very much on-screen as an actress and swimmer. May her soul rest in peace.

#4 Natalia

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 08:05 AM

I recently purchased and saw all 11 DVDs in the TCM boxed set of Esther Williams films (including Million Dollar Mermaid with Tallchief in a cameo as Pavlova) and spent a vacation weekend watching them all, back to back. Now that's entertainment! :) Williams was such a natural beauty & 'charmer' (that face and smile). The innovator of the 'water ballet' concept, it was so appropriate that she was on the Los Angeles 1984 Summer Olympics Committee that added synchorized swimming to the official sports; against naysayers' comments, it has never left the Olympic roster of sports. That says it all. RIP, Esther Williams.

#5 dirac

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 09:48 AM

You have a lot of stamina, Natalia. I would be so overwhelmed by the onslaught of low camp that hospitalization would probably be required.

#6 Barbara

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 09:55 AM

I mean no disrespect but I didn't like that she "outed" Jeff Chandler as a cross dresser in her autobiography when he had already passed and couldn't tell his side of the story. It wasn't her story to tell. jmo

#7 volcanohunter

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 10:04 AM

You have a lot of stamina, Natalia. I would be so overwhelmed by the onslaught of low camp that hospitalization would probably be required.


Oh, but she was so thoroughly charming, and the fact that she required big, tall leading men is one of those movies' big plusses. Though asking us to believe that she and Ricardo Montalban could be twins in Fiesta does stretch credulity. Watching Montalban dance with Cyd Charisse more than makes up for it, and the sight of Williams impersonating Montalban in the bullring is worth the price of admission.

#8 Natalia

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 11:28 AM

You have a lot of stamina, Natalia. I would be so overwhelmed by the onslaught of low camp that hospitalization would probably be required.


Oh but that's what I love. Ditto the old Busby Berkeley films with Ruby Keeler..."By the waterfall, I'm calling you-hoo-hoo-hooo..." Hey, didn't Berkeley also choreograph a couple of Williams' latter films? All of this is charming light fun which, for me, spells entertainment. Volcanohunter, I love Fiesta too, which is choreographed by Lichine, I think. (Don't have my boxed DVD set with me.) Even Balanchine's swimming-pool number with Zorina in Goldwin Follies seemed to portend the later Williams films.

p.s. One has to buy the full set to obtain the one DVD with Tallchief. So I can thank Tallchief for getting me into Williams. How sad that both ladies died this year, just a couple of months apart.

#9 sandik

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 02:10 PM


You have a lot of stamina, Natalia. I would be so overwhelmed by the onslaught of low camp that hospitalization would probably be required.


Oh, but she was so thoroughly charming, and the fact that she required big, tall leading men is one of those movies' big plusses. Though asking us to believe that she and Ricardo Montalban could be twins in Fiesta does stretch credulity. Watching Montalban dance with Cyd Charisse more than makes up for it, and the sight of Williams impersonating Montalban in the bullring is worth the price of admission.


I'll sit through any amount of plot twists to get to footage of Charisse dancing.

#10 dirac

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 03:10 PM

Good point about the tall drinks of water, volcanohunter. And of course Williams married one of them, the late Fernando Lamas. Charisse was so young in "FIesta" it took a couple of minutes for me to register that it was she....

I see what you mean, Barbara, but I think Williams wrote about the cross-dressing because Chandler was no longer around to be embarrassed by the revelation. She doesn't seem like the sort that would deliberately falsify the record to make someone look bad, and she writes about it rather amusingly.


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