The Word: ‘Million Dollar Mermaid’ Esther Williams has died

THE ESTHER WILLIAMS AQUA SPECTACLE -- Pictured: Actress/swimmer Esther Williams -- Photo by: Herb Ball/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
Esther Williams Credit: Herb Ball/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Actress and swimming star Esther Williams died in her sleep Thursday. She was 91.

Esther was a champion swimmer as a teen. She expected to go to the 1940 Olympics, but they were cancelled after the outbreak of World War II. But the sport’s loss was Hollywood’s gain. After she was discovered at a swimming show, she began starring in “aquamusicals:” romantic films with synchronized swimming musical numbers.

In 1952 Esther starred in the MGM musical “Million Dollar Mermaid,” which became her nickname in Hollywood. She married four times and had three children with her second husband, Ben Gage.

Although she ruefully admitted that the plots for her films were sometimes stretched thin to give her an excuse to get in the water, according to the Guardian, Esther was proud to showcase her athletic brand of womanhood. ”My movies made it clear it’s all right to be strong and feminine at the same time,” she said.

After retiring from film in 1960, Esther stayed connected to the swimming world. She had her own line of retro swimwear and provided synchronized swimming commentary for the 1984 Olympics.

Those who didn’t grow up in the 40s may remember Esther as one of Sally’s obsessions in Judy Blume’s classic young adult novel “Starring Sally J. Friedman as Herself.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Easter 2014: The year's best bonnets

It's Easter, and that means it's time for Fifth Avenue to turn into a veritable catwalk of bonnet-wearers. The annual march, which kicks off at…

Local

Woman arrested for attempted kidnapping of baby in…

Authorities said that a Queens woman behind an attempted kidnapping of an 8-month-old baby boy was arrested on Saturday.

Local

Hate crime charge in attack on Sikh Columbia…

A man has been arrested and charged with a hate crime after he allegedly pulled the beard of a Sikh Columbia University professor as part…

Local

NYPD arrest man after finding body inside plastic…

Police said they found a man stuffed inside a plastic container in a Brooklyn home. Authorities arrested Joshua Simser, 24, in connection to the death

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

The Word

Miley Cyrus cancels more dates, tweeting from hospital

Miley Cyrus is reportedly so sick that she's had to postpone more tour dates. We know this because she has been sitting in a hospital…

Music

Loop are, er, um, back in the loop

Experimental noise rock band Loop's three mid-1980s to early-1990s albums, “Heavens End,” “Fade Out” and “A Gilded Eternity,” were mercifully reissued.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.