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Margarita Carmen Cansino was born on October 17, 1918, in Brooklyn, New York. Little Margarita began dancing at the age of six. Her father was Latin dancer Eduardo Cansino and at twelve years of age, she joined her father’s stage act. She appeared in nightclubs and caught the eye of film directors, which led to her success in B-rated pictures.

In the early 1930s while dancing in her father’s act, Rita Hayworth was noticed by the head of Fox Studio, Winfield Sheehan. He signed Miss Hayworth to a contract, and Hayworth soon made her film debut in "Dante’s Inferno" in 1935. After appearing in five small roles, her contract was dropped. During this time, she was married to her first husband, Edward Judson. Through his constant promotion, Edward soon had his beloved bride signed to a contract with Columbia. Studio head Harry Cohn changed Margarita’s name to Rita Hayworth and had her sent for electrolysis to raise her hairline. After appearing in thirteen bit parts, Miss Hayworth was on loan to Warner Brothers where she got her first film break in the movie "The Strawberry Blonde," which was released in 1941. Before this, the young star dyed her hair red, which helped to get her career launched for larger roles. Her marriage to Edward Judson came to an end.

In the 1940s, Hayworth co-starred with both Fred Astaire and Gene Kelley in films. She was a natural in front of the camera. She was cast in musicals although the singing voice was dubbed and as time went on, she was cast in more mature roles.

For a short duration, Hayworth was a pin-up girl like Betty Grable. This came to a screeching halt because she was involved in a romantic scandal in 1949. She was involved with Prince Aly Khan, whom she eventually married; the marriage lasted approximately five to six years. The movies Miss Hayworth made after her divorce to the prince were touted as the best performances she had ever given.

During the 1960s, most of Hayworth's film work was in Europe. When she filmed a movie in the United States, her roles were small bit parts. She was married five times. This was around the same time she was being affected by an early onset (at age 42) of Alzheimer’s Disease. The diagnosis wasn’t made until 1980, but because of the progression of the disease, Miss Hayworth was given smaller roles. In 1981, Rita Hayworth was no longer able to take care of herself. She died on May 14, 1987, in New York at age sixty-eight.