Dangerous when Wet, Bathing Beauty and The Million Dollar Mermaid were just a few of the many movies Esther Williams stared in.  Born in Inglewood, California USA, on this day August 8, 1921 as Esther Jane Williamson.  At age 16 she was a member of the Los Angeles Athletic Club swim team and had earned three national championships in both the breaststroke and freestyle. She was on the 1940 Olympic team headed for Tokyo when e-williams.jpgWorld War II intervened, canceling the games, along with her hopes for the gold and international fame.  Luckily she was attracting attention in other ways. In the 1940’s, swimmers were frequently lined up for cheesecake photos for newspapers, flashing big smiles and lots of leg. With her stunning good looks and tall, well-muscled frame, Esther was a standout!  She was quickly noticed by lyricist and theatrical showman Billy Rose, who picked her to star in the San Francisco Aquacade review opposite Olympian and screen star Johnny Weismuller, who was later known for his role as Tarzan.  Esther was well on her way in the Hollywood in crowd with such stars as Judy Garland, Lana Turner and Donna Reed,  when she stared in Bathing Beauty,  Hollywood’s first swimming movie.  It created a new genre that was perfectly suited to Esther’s beauty and athletic skills.  It was all uphill from there.  Esther has lived a full happy life, she has 3 children and now has her name on a line of backyard swimming pools, sold from California to Maine. She also has licensing agreements with fashion swimwear manufacturers and her own Esther Williams Collection sold in many department stores.  In a not so recent interview, she was asked if she still swam, she laughed. “You know, I always get asked that. Of course I still swim. I’ll go in later when I have the pool to myself.”

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