After the success of The Strawberry Blonde (1941), Rita Hayworth returned to Columbia Pictures in the musical You’ll Never Get Rich (1941), another successful movie, opposite Fred Astaire. The pair reunited in the following year in another musical film, You Were Never Lovelier. In 1944, Hayworth became Columbia’s top star of the 1940s after the release of Cover Girl, one of her best-known films. It was also from 1944 that Hayworth was named one of the top movie box-office attractions for three consecutive years.
In 1946, Hayworth starred in Gilda, the film that significantly highlighted her sultry, glamorous appeal. Her performance of the song Put the Blame on Me in a black satin in the movie made her into a cultural icon as a femme fatale. It was during the release of Gilda that Hayworth received the news of her image being put on an atomic bomb as a reference to her bombshell status. Although meant as a compliment, the gesture was said to have deeply offended the actress.
Hayworth received critical acclaims for her performance in The Lady From Shanghai (1947). The film, however, was a box office failure, and part of the reason was due to Hayworth’s famous red hair being cut short and bleached platinum blonde. Her next film, The Loves of Carmen (1948), was Columbia’s biggest hit that year.
Take a look back at the icon in the ‘40s through 30 stunning vintage black-and-white portraits: