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Living as a Femme Fatale: Rita Hayworth's Ascent and Descent into an Archetype

Heather has a Bachelor's Degree in English from Moravian College and has been freelance writing for more than 13 years.

Born as Margarita Carmen Cansino an aspiring child dancer

With a talent that was all her own as she grew up and became a star

A product of parental abuse and manipulation to make her famous

Both wanted her to be a star in differing mediums

Followed her own path as she entered Hollywood with a dream

Forced to alter her appearance slightly to appear more marketable

Became known as "The Love Goddess" during the 1940s

Able to seduce men onscreen and off just by entering a room

Full of seductive charm and musical abilities that made her a joy to watch

Demonstrated a sense of ruthlessness in her characters sometimes

As her characters would often chew men up and spit them out

When they didn't serve a purpose to her anymore

When Ms. Hayworth entered the screen, many sat up and took notice

She offered two parts sex appeal and one part vulnerability

Softness, sweetness with just a touch of wickedness to get them guessing

Never knew which side you were going to get depending on the day

Off-camera she was vastly different from her most famous role of Gilda

A quiet and vulnerable creature who longed to be loved

Never accepted for anything beyond her big screen image

As the sexpot who loved adventurous romance

Her off-camera relationships always amounted to heartbreak and disappointment

Mistreated and used by some of her former husbands for their own gains

Orson Welles probably her best husband, but was too wild for marriage

Could never be tamed; despite her best efforts

Independent onscreen and rebelling against convention

Wanted to be taken care of and getting out of the spotlight in real life

Never being able to do so because her choice in husbands

Never amounted to any type of a stable homelife that allowed that option

Fed up with the image that studio created for her acting career

Wanted to shatter that stereotype, unable to do so due to contact obligations

Needed to make money to feed her family and maintain her lifestyle

Personal drama and ever changing trends in rising starlets left her career in neutral

Health problems left her image in tatters and forced her to pull back from spotlight

Diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease that devastated her memories and her present

Left her a shell of her former glories and forced to focus on single moments

Not remembering what came before or after

Departed at the age of 68 as an icon and awareness for a complicated illness

Beloved in her film roles for being more than just an image.

Hayworth striking a pose at the height of her success.

Hayworth striking a pose at the height of her success.

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