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Hollywood Aquatic Star Esther Williams Dies at 91: VIDEO

Williams

Esther Williams is dead at 91, the AP reports:

Williams' publicist Harlan Boll says she died early Thursday in her sleep.

Williams became one of Hollywood's biggest moneymakers in the 1940s and '50s, appearing in spectacular swimsuit numbers that capitalized on her wholesome beauty and perfect figure. Such films as "Easy to Wed," ''Neptune's Daughter" and "Dangerous When Wet" followed the same formula: romance, music, a bit of comedy and a flimsy plot that provided excuses to get Esther into the water.

A spectacular scene from "Easy to Love" (1953), AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. WTF?!? In all due respect to the recently departed, how is this news relevant? This site is becoming more like the Huffington Post.

    Posted by: Boston | Jun 6, 2013 1:09:02 PM


  2. Well, it's relevant to people like me who love a) movie stars b) movie musicals c) anything else. Life is made up of a lot of things and a lot of different pleasures. Ms Williams and her era is one of mine. I'm sorry to see her go, and I'm glad to have been informed. Thank you Towleroad.

    Boston, I assume you are between the ages of 12 and 35. Too bad for you.

    Posted by: tinkerbelle | Jun 6, 2013 1:20:36 PM


  3. awwww. loved her MGM glories!


    she wasn't just an actress or musical star or "swimmer" - she was a bonafide Stuntwoman. seriously, some of those aquatic numbers are mindblowing.

    enjoy a well-earned rest, and thanks for the memories!

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jun 6, 2013 1:26:38 PM


  4. I'm with you, Tinkerbelle.

    I didn't know she was still alive. They tell me that Olivia DeHaviland and Joan Fontaine are both approaching 100 years old. Now, that's big news, aint it, Boston?

    Answer me!!!

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jun 6, 2013 1:27:47 PM


  5. Ms. Williams was an integral part of American pop culture. Her passing is indeed news. RIP Neptune's Daughter.

    Posted by: Mona | Jun 6, 2013 1:27:50 PM


  6. Was just talking about Ester Williams a few nights ago at a dinner party.
    (Busby Berkley, elaborate musical numbers, synchronized performers, June Taylor dancers) We had a bit of trouble coming up with Ester's name and had to look it up.

    RIP Ester

    Posted by: JONES | Jun 6, 2013 1:28:24 PM


  7. Those old movies are just a sunday afternoon pleasure. RIP Esther.

    Posted by: greenfuzz | Jun 6, 2013 1:31:52 PM


  8. how did that head piece stay on after that dive anyway?

    Posted by: northoftheborderguy | Jun 6, 2013 1:40:33 PM


  9. Was just talking about Ester Williams a few nights ago at a dinner party.

    Someone brought up old time Hollywood which led to elaborate musical performances (Busby Berkley, synchronized everything including swimming, June Taylor Dancers). When someone asked about the Olympic caliber swimmer that went on to film success everyone knew who we were talking about but no one could come up with her name. We got stuck on Johnny Weissmuller so we had to look her up.

    Bet she had a lot of good stories.

    RIP Ester

    Posted by: JONES | Jun 6, 2013 1:42:46 PM


  10. Sorry for the double posts. They're not showing up for a while and I thought it was lost.

    Posted by: JONES | Jun 6, 2013 1:44:30 PM


  11. Oh good old days! She was a legend. RIP.
    @Derrick from P, both ODH and JF are alive, ODH has lived in Paris for decades, she is still the only one with the resume reading starring role in Gone With The Wind.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Jun 6, 2013 1:48:08 PM


  12. I didn't know she was still alive either. RIP Esther, and thanks for all the spectacular water fun! Really a unique niche in movie entertainment. (And I loved how some of those aquatic spectaculars would end with a pull-back to an actual indoor theater full of applauding audiences - as if the entire thing had been done on stage. Hahahaha. Oh, well, at least until "O.")

    Posted by: Zlick | Jun 6, 2013 2:16:23 PM


  13. What a talent! I've seen all of Esther's films.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jun 6, 2013 2:23:54 PM


  14. Well, the majority of the comments are a big "Boo sucks!" to whoever thought the demise of Miss Williams isn't newsworthy! I don't know whether to be more offended that you critize Andy's site or that you're ignorant about one of the truly legendary stars of the silver screen...

    For my part, I loved her films and reading about her and the *real* stars of Hollywood in my mum's movie annuals when I was growing up was an inspiration to this gay kid.

    It is so sad to see that generation of movie stars slipping the mortal coil. While I enjoy current films, will we remember so many of the present "crop" in fifty years' time in the same way? I don't think so somehow.

    Thank you for all you've done to entertain us Esther!

    Posted by: SeanR | Jun 6, 2013 2:39:16 PM


  15. I will always love Esther!

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jun 6, 2013 2:40:16 PM


  16. I am available to comfort you Lorenzo!

    Posted by: David Hearne | Jun 6, 2013 3:12:31 PM


  17. Never ceases to amaze me how many of these people are still alive. I always assume they're long gone... RIP Esther!

    Imagine trying to build a fan base around a swimming movie star in today's movie scene. They wouldn't get past the first pitch meeting.

    Posted by: johnny | Jun 6, 2013 3:45:13 PM


  18. I guess the shock for most people is that she was still alive. Her performances were always technically amazing but conceptually weird. The water of course helped enable the diving and jumping to be more dramatic, and diving allows people to "disappear" under water. I think there was a whole documentary about the swimmers and what they had to go through.

    Posted by: anon | Jun 6, 2013 4:06:14 PM


  19. I remember one spectacular scene where she emerges out of the water, hair beautifully in place and columns of flames all around her. We learned many years later that the studio reversed the film when it was edited. The scene as originally shot had Esther and her dry, coiffed hair and flames actually descending into the water.

    Posted by: shanestud | Jun 6, 2013 4:39:18 PM


  20. Oh, Esther! Oh, dear me, no!

    Oh, Olivia! Oh, Joan! Hang on a little longer, please!

    Oh Judy, oh Bette, oh Joan.....RIP, girls.

    Oh Barbra, oh Bette, oh Cher, oh Liza, oh Madonna....live on forever, girls!

    Oh Gaga, oh Beyoncé, oh Miss Whoever-of-the-Future.....keep that flame burning!

    Oh great pu$$ies of pop history, oh high and mighty divas who give our lives its only meaning, oh bitchy man-hating icons whom we worship like the goddesses you are......Ohhhhhh, bless you all for all eternity!

    Ohhhhhhh!


    Posted by: Rick | Jun 6, 2013 5:31:54 PM


  21. Rick,

    you're a sorry excuse for a prick.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jun 6, 2013 5:37:37 PM


  22. Williams was one of Hollywood's most unique stars. Her aquatic numbers are truly dazzling( and is there anything gayer than those chorus boys in tight yellow shorts?!) Actually many talented gay people worked in front and behind the camera to create those classic MGM musicals.

    Posted by: jaragon | Jun 6, 2013 6:42:18 PM


  23. @ shanestud:
    The scene you are referring to is from Million Dollar Mermaid, with lit sparklers emerging from the water: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQj0Saj3L4s

    While filming a high dive for Million Dollar Mermaid she broke her neck and spent 7 months in a body cast recovering.

    Posted by: Ruddigore | Jun 6, 2013 8:24:50 PM


  24. She sure sure knew how to get in and out of a pool like no one else! Fabulous. RIP.

    Posted by: Tony | Jun 6, 2013 8:51:32 PM


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