Photo of Esther Williams Esther Williams

A teenage swimming champ, statuesque beauty Esther Williams was born Aug. 8, 1921, in Los Angeles. Though her dream of Olympic gold was dashed by the advent of World War II, she caught the eye of an MGM talent scout while performing in Billy Rose's Aquacade and was soon on her way to fame.

Williams splashed onto the silver screen in 1942 with a supporting turn in Andy Hardy's Double Life and became a full-blown star two years later with the box-office smash Bathing Beauty. For the next decade, Williams appeared in a succession of aquatic-themed musicals, stepping out of the pool in 1949 to play opposite Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly in Take Me Out to the Ball Game. When her niche genre declined, she tried her hand at dramatic parts but failed to score with audiences.

After slowly fading from public view, Williams returned to spotlight in the 1980s with a lucrative line of women's swimwear. She died June 6, 2013.

Esther Williams in Ziegfeld Follies

Ziegfeld Follies

1946 NR

Winner of the award for Best Musical Comedy at the Cannes Film Festival, this star-studded production opens in heaven, with the late Broadway producer Florenz Ziegfeld looking down to earth and imagining a final lavish revue. A series of musical and comedy sketches follow, including dance numbers with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, an Esther Williams water ballet, a Red Skelton comedy routine and more. Lucille Ball and Judy Garland also appear.

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