BEVERLY HILLS (CBSLA.com/AP) — Former American competitive swimmer and MGM movie star Esther Williams died Thursday at the age of 91.
Williams, who had been declining in health, died in her sleep in Beverly Hills, according to her publicist, Harlan Boll.
The Inglewood native became one of Hollywood’s biggest moneymakers in the 1940s and ’50s, appearing in spectacular “Aqua Musicals” that capitalized on her wholesome beauty and perfect figure, film critic and historian Leonard Maltin told KNX 1070.
Such films as “Easy to Wed,” ”Neptune’s Daughter” and “Dangerous When Wet” followed the same formula: romance, music, a bit of comedy and a flimsy plot that provided excuses to get Esther into the water.
The extravaganzas dazzled a second generation via television and the compilation films “That’s Entertainment.” Williams’ co-stars included the pick of the MGM contract list, including Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Red Skelton, Ricardo Montalban and Howard Keel.
She retired from the film industry in the 1960s.
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