Esther Williams Dies at 91: She Was the Original Pin-Up Beauty


Esther Williams, one of the original pin-up beauties, has died in her sleep at 91 years of age. She will stay a visual icon for her wholesome beauty, in or around a body of water. Despite the baseness of this attention, The Million Dollar Mermaid, as she called her self in her biography in 1999, will have a legacy that will exceed her former beauty in measures of pure Americana.

Williams lived the Hollywood dream, the former competitive swimmer was selling clothes in a mall in 1940 when she "got noticed" by a showman named Billy Rose to do modeling at the world’s fair. There, an MGM producer and agent spotted her and liked what they saw. What would follow was 27 year career in musical films, comedies, and basically any film that could plausibly have a scene where Williams could go into or get out of a pool. Her curvaceous figure in a bathing suit would be dotted all over Europe, printed for the barrack’s walls of American soldiers in the war. She had three whirlwind marriages, two divorces, and will be succeeded by her three children.