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
News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

News

Mets mascot Mr. Met target of Bill Clinton…

Mets mascot Mr. Met has told how he ended up in the crosshairs of a Secret Service sniper rifle. The man behind the Mr. Met…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Local

African couple claiming misidentification in robbery case to…

At a bail hearing today for Vickson and Lorfu Korlewala, charged in the robbery of an 80-year-old woman, bail was reduced from $1 million total to $500,000.

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

NHL

Rangers draw first blood against Flyers in Game…

Brad Richards and Derek Stepan scored power-play goals 47 seconds apart to lead the Rangers to a 4-1 win.

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.