|Height:||174 cm (5' 9'')|
|Birth Day:||August 8, 1921|
|Death Date:||Jun 6, 2013 (age 91)|
|Birth Place:||Inglewood, United States|
As per our current Database, Esther Williams died on Jun 6, 2013 (age 91).
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
|174 cm (5' 9'')||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
She broke national swimming records while on the LA Athletic Club swim team.
Esther Jane Williams was born on August 8, 1921, in Inglewood, California. She was the fifth and youngest child of Louis Stanton Williams (January 19, 1886 – June 10, 1968) and Bula Myrtle (née Gilpin; October 8, 1885 – December 29, 1971). Louis was a sign painter and Bula was a psychologist. The two lived on neighboring farms in Kansas and carried on a nine-year courtship until June 1, 1908, when they eloped and set off for California. However, they ran out of money in Salt Lake City, Utah, and settled there. Esther's brother, Stanton (September 4, 1912 – March 3, 1929) was discovered by actress Marjorie Rambeau, which led to the family (including sisters Maurine and June and brother David) moving to the Los Angeles area to be near the studios. Louis Williams purchased a small piece of land in the southwest area of town, and had a small house built there. Esther was born in the living room, which was also where the family slept, until Louis Williams was able to add bedrooms. In 1929, Stanton Williams died after his colon burst.
In 1935, Bula Myrtle Williams invited 16-year-old Buddy McClure to live with her family. McClure had recently lost his mother and Bula was still grieving over the death of her son. Esther recounted in her autobiography that one night, when the rest of the family was visiting relatives in Alhambra, McClure raped her. She was terrified to tell anyone about the incident and waited two years before finally revealing the truth to her parents. Williams' mother seemed unsure about her story, claiming McClure was "sensitive" and was sympathetic towards him when he admitted his guilt. Bula Williams then banished him from her home, McClure joined the United States Coast Guard, and Williams never saw him again.
Her medley team set the record for the 300-yard relay at the Los Angeles Athletic Club in 1939, and was also National AAU champion in the 100 meter freestyle, with a record-breaking time of 1 minute 09.0 seconds. By age 16, Williams had won three US national championships in breaststroke and freestyle swimming.
During her senior year of high school, Williams received a D in her algebra course, preventing her from getting a scholarship to the University of Southern California. She enrolled in Los Angeles City College to retake the course. In 1939, Williams expressed interest in pursuing a degree in physical education in order to teach it one day. To earn money for tuition, Williams worked as a stock girl at the I. Magnin department store, where she also modeled clothing for customers and appeared in newspaper advertisements.
While Williams was working at I. Magnin, she was contacted by Billy Rose's assistant and asked to audition as a replacement for Eleanor Holm in his Aquacade show. Williams impressed Rose and she got the role. The Aquacade was part of the Golden Gate International Exposition, and Williams was partnered with Olympic swimmer and Tarzan star Johnny Weissmuller, who, Williams wrote in her autobiography, repeatedly tried to seduce her. Despite this, Williams remained with the show until it closed on September 29, 1940. Williams had planned to compete in the 1940 Summer Olympics but it was cancelled because of the outbreak of World War II.
Williams married four times. She met her first husband, Leonard Kovner, while attending Los Angeles City College. She later wrote in her autobiography The Million Dollar Mermaid that "he was smart, handsome, dependable ... and dull. I respected his intelligence, and his dedication to a future career in medicine. He loved me, or so he said, and even asked me to marry him." They were married in the San Francisco suburb of Los Altos on June 27, 1940. On their split she said "I found, much to my relief, that all I needed for my emotional and personal security was my own resolve and determination. I didn't need a marriage and a ring. I had come to realize all too quickly that Leonard Kovner was not a man I could ever really love." They divorced on September 12, 1944.
It was at Aquacade that Williams first attracted attention from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer scouts. MGM's head, Louis B. Mayer, had been looking for a female sports star for the studio to compete with Fox's figure skating star, Sonja Henie. Williams signed her contract with MGM in 1941.
For her contribution to the motion-picture industry, Williams has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1560 Vine Street. She left her hand and foot prints in front of the Grauman's Chinese Theatre on August 1, 1944.
She married singer/actor Ben Gage on November 25, 1945; they had three children, Benjamin Stanton (born August 6, 1949), Kimball Austin (October 30, 1950 – May 6, 2008) and Susan Tenney (born October 1, 1953). In her autobiography, she portrayed Gage as an alcoholic parasite who squandered $10 million of her earnings. Gage and Williams separated in 1952, and divorced in April 1959.
After filming was completed on Fiesta, Williams appeared in the romance This Time for Keeps (1947) with singer Johnnie Johnston. In 1948, Williams signed a contract with swimwear company Cole of California to appear as their spokesperson, and Williams and the other swimmers in her films wore Cole swimsuits. Since the aqua-musicals were an entirely new genre, the studio's costume designers had little experience creating practical swimsuits. William's plaid flannel swimsuit for This Time for Keeps was so heavy that she was dragged to the bottom of the pool, and had to unzip the suit, swimming naked to the edge of the pool to avoid drowning. Cole swimsuits used latex, which meant zippers were no longer necessary. While filming Skirts Ahoy (1952), Williams discovered that members of the WAVES program received thin, cotton, shapeless swimsuits as part of their uniforms. Williams modeled a Cole swimsuit for the Secretary of the Navy and explained that the new swimsuits helped support women's figures. The United States Navy ordered 50,000 suits immediately.
In 1953, Williams had been on maternity leave for three months while pregnant with daughter Susan, and assumed she would go straight to work on the film Athena when she returned. However, production started without her, and the studio cast Jane Powell in the lead role, rewriting much of the premise that Williams and writers Leo Pogostin and Chuck Walters had come up with. The studio moved her to Jupiter's Darling. Two more films were planned, Bermuda Encounter and Olympic Venus, about the first Olympic swimmers; however, these were never made.
In 1956, she moved to Universal International and appeared in a non-musical dramatic film, The Unguarded Moment (1956). After that, her film career slowly wound down. She later admitted that husband Fernando Lamas preferred her not to continue in films. She would, however, make occasional appearances on television, including mystery guest appearances for What's My Line?, The Donna Reed Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, and two aqua-specials, The Esther Williams Aqua Spectacle (1956) and Esther Williams at Cypress Gardens which was telecast on August 8, 1960. More than half of all television sets in use in the United States were tuned in to watch the Cypress Gardens special. She starred in an aqua-special at Wembley Stadium in London. In 1966, Williams was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
In September 1959, Cary Grant told Look magazine that he had taken LSD under a doctor's supervision, and it had changed his life. Grant's therapist, Mortimer Hartman, described LSD as "a psychic energizer which empties the subconscious and intensifies emotion and memory a hundred times". Grant said that, with the help of LSD, he had "found that [he] had a tough inner core of strength", and that when he was young, he "was very dependent upon older men and women. Now, people [came] to [him] for help." Williams stated that she wanted to be one of those people. As she said in Million Dollar Mermaid, "At that point, I really didn't know who I was. Was I that glamorous femme fatale?... Was I just another broken-down divorcée whose husband left her with all the bills and three kids?" Shortly after reading the article, she contacted Grant. He called his doctor and made an appointment for her. Williams said LSD seemed like instant psychoanalysis.
She married her former lover, Argentine actor/director, Fernando Lamas on December 31, 1969. For 13 years, she lived in total submission to him, where she had to stop being "Esther Williams" and could not have her children live with her. In return, he would be faithful. They were married until his death from pancreatic cancer on October 8, 1982.
Williams was mentioned in the "Court Charades" sketch in the 1970 Monty Python's Flying Circus episode "The Spanish Inquisition" where Eric Idle mentions her to which Graham Chapman responds "How can you find the defendant 'Not Esther Williams'?"
She was also the namesake of a company that manufactures swimming pools and swimming pool accessories. She came out with a line of Swim, Baby, Swim videos, which helped parents teach their children how to swim. She also appeared as a commentator for synchronized swimming at the 1984 Summer Olympics. Williams met her fourth husband as a result of his calling her to coordinate her appearance. She co-wrote her autobiography, The Million Dollar Mermaid (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999), with popular media critic and author Digby Diehl. In 1994 she made her first new big-screen appearance in 31 years as one of the hosts of the retrospective That's Entertainment! III.
She resided in Beverly Hills with actor husband Edward Bell, whom she married on October 24, 1994.
In 2000 an account of Williams's life and career appeared in the Swedish book Esther Williams — Skenbiografin (Esther Williams — The Fake Biography) written by Jane Magnusson, in which the author shares with readers her own fascination for art swimming as a genre and, here, in particular, Williams as — to the author — both a bewildering and mesmerizing front figure and icon in this field.
In a 2007 interview with Diane Sawyer, Williams admitted that she had recently suffered a stroke. "I opened my eyes and I could see, but I couldn't remember anything from the past," she said. In June 2008, Williams attended Cyd Charisse's funeral, which she did while seated in a wheelchair.
In April 2010, Williams appeared at the first Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival in Hollywood, California, alongside two-time co-star Betty Garrett. Their film Neptune's Daughter (1949) was screened at the pool of the Roosevelt Hotel, along with a performance of the Williams-inspired synchronized swimming troupe, The Waterlilies. South Beach Miami's 2010 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Swim, a showcase of designer swimwear, included a Williams suite, complete with a beach summer theme and sand palette with aqua accents.
Esther Williams died in her sleep on June 6, 2013, from natural causes, in her Los Angeles home. She was 91. She was cremated, and her ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean.
Scarlett Johansson's character, DeeAnna Moran in the 2016 Coen Brothers film, Hail, Caesar!, shares several similarities with Williams, most notably being an aquamusical star who becomes pregnant during a production.
Currently, Esther Williams is 101 years, 1 months and 23 days old. Esther Williams will celebrate 102nd birthday on a Tuesday 8th of August 2023.
Find out about Esther Williams birthday activities in timeline view here.