Esther Williams, the beauty of ocean and the organic beauty products
From 1945 to 1949, Williams had at least one film listed among the 20 highest grossing films of the year. In 1952, Williams appeared in her only biographical role, as Australian swimming star Annette Kellerman in Million Dollar Mermaid, which went on to become her nickname while at MGM.
Williams left MGM in 1956 and appeared in a handful of unsuccessful feature films, followed by several extremely popular water-themed television specials, including one from Cypress Gardens, Florida.
Bathing Beauty was Hollywood’s first swimming movie, and it created a new genre that was perfectly suited to Esther’s beauty and athletic skills. A special 90-foot square, 20-foot deep pool was built at Stage 30 on the MGM lot, complete with hydraulic lifts, hidden air hoses and special camera cranes for overhead shots.
“No one had ever done a swimming movie before,” she explains, “so we just made it up as we went along. I ad-libbed all my own underwater movements.” Famous choreographer Busby Berkeley was responsible for the film’s elaborate water scenes – complete with fountains, flames, smoke and, as Williams herself admits, lots of pretty girls swimming around with bows in their hair. It worked. According to Williams, Bathing Beauty was second only to Gone with the Wind as the most successful film of 1944.
After her 1962 marriage to Fernando Lamas, her co-star in 'Dangerous When Wet,' she retired from public life.
She explained in a 1984 interview: 'A really terrific guy comes along and says, ''I wish you'd stay home and be my wife,'' and that's the most logical thing in the world for a Latin. And I loved being a Latin wife - you get treated very well. There's a lot of attention in return for that sacrifice.'
'I've been a lucky lady,' she said in a 1984 interview with The Associated Press.
'I've had three exciting careers. Before films I had the experience of competitive swimming, with the incredible fun of winning. ... I had a movie career with all the glamor that goes with it. That was ego-fulfilling, but it was like the meringue on the pie. My marriage with Fernando - that was the filling, that was the apple in the pie.'
She has died at 91.