Was Rita Hayworth Sexually Abused By Her Father

Rita Hayworth

Rita Hayworth was one of the most successful and desirable women in Hollywood. Her millions of fans had no idea that she was hiding a tragic family secret. For years she had been sexually abused and raped by her own father!

She was born Margarita Carmen Cansino on October 17, 1918, in Brooklyn, New York. Her Spanish father, Eduardo Cansino, was a professional dancer and her mother Volga had performed in the Ziegfeld Follies. When she was eight the family moved to Los Angeles and her father opened a dance studio. Rita took lessons and became a very talented dancer. Eduardo decided to pull her out of school and made her his professional dance partner. They performed in Mexican bars and casinos as "The Dancing Cansinos". Eduardo was a violent alcoholic who forced Rita to rehearse for hours. The twelve year old was dressed in sexy costumes and Eduardo referred to her his "wife". Sadly her father began sexually abusing her and raping her. Her mother, who was an alcoholic, knew about the abuse but did nothing to stop it. In 1935 she made her film debut in Dante's Inferno using the screen name Rita Cansino. Then she had small parts in Paddy O'Day and Charlie Chan In Egypt. At the age of eighteen she escaped her father's abuse by marrying her forty-one year old manager Edward Judson. He convinced her to lift her hairline with electrolysis and dye her hair auburn red. Unfortunately Edward became very controlling and stole her money.

Rita Hayworth With Her Father Eduardo CansinoRita Hayworth With Her Father Eduardo Cansino
Rita with her father Eduardo Cansino

Rita Hayworth 1939

Her career took off when she signed a seven year contract with Columbia pictures in 1940. She starred in a string of successful films including Blood And Sand, You Were Never Lovelier, and Cover Girl. Harry Cohn, Columbia's president, treated her terribly because she refused to sleep with him. The stunning redhead became a popular World War 2 pin-up and appeared on dozens of magazine covers. Life magazine declared she was "The Love Goddess". After divorcing Edward she dated Victor Mature, her costar in My Gal Sal. Rita married director Orson Welles in 1943. The following year they had a daughter named Rebecca. In 1946 she played a seductive femme-fatale in the film-noir Gilda. Her performance got rave reviews the movie became a huge hit. During filming she began a love affair with Glenn Ford that would last for decades. Orson directed her in the 1948 film-noir The Lady from Shanghai. As a publicity stunt he made her cut her trademark red hair and dye it blonde. The movie bombed and their marriage ended in 1947. Although she was one of the world's biggest sex symbols she was painfully shy and desperate to find true love. She started dating billionaire Howard Hughes and got pregnant. When he refused to marry her she had an abortion.

Rita HayworthRita Hayworth

Rita Hayworth 1941

Then she fell in love Prince Aly Khan, one of the wealthiest men in the world. Rita decided to give up her career so she could move to Europe and marry him. The only problem was that the Muslim Prince was still married to his first wife. When he announced he was getting a divorce so he could marry Rita there was a huge scandal. The press called her a homeworker and fans threatened to boycott her movies. On May 27, 1949 she and Prince Aly were married and she became Princess Rita Aly Khan. Seven months after the wedding she gave birth to their daughter Princess Yasmin. Unfortunately she found her new life in Europe boring and missed being an actress. Her father-in-law, the Aga Khan, became very upset when she refused to convert to their Muslim religion. She started drinking to escape the unhappiness of her marriage. To make matters worse Prince Aly had numerous affair and she caught him cheating with actress Joan FontaineRita filed for divorce in September of 1951 claiming "extreme mental cruelty". For the next two years they fought over money and custody of their daughter Yasmin. Aly offered her one million dollars if she would allow him to raise her Muslim but she refused.

Rita HayworthRita Hayworth Magazine Cover

She later said "All I wanted was just what everybody else wants, you know, to be loved." In 1952 she returned to Hollywood to star in the drama Affair In Trinidad. It became one of the biggest box-office hits of her career. Her success continued with the hit films Salome and Miss Sadie Thompson. Rita married singer Dick Haymes in September of 1953. Sadly he began physically abusing her and she left him after two years. She married her fifth husband, producer James Hill, in 1958. They formed a production company and made the film Separate Tables together. By the early 1960s her marriage to James was over and she had a serious drinking problem. She dated actor Gary Merrill but was never able to find a lasting relationship. As she got older she had trouble remembering her lines and her mental state began deteriorating. Eventually she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and had to retire from acting. Her final film was the 1972 drama Wrath Of God. Rita was cared for by her daughter, Princess Yasmin, until her death on May 14, 1987. She is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California. Princess Yasmin is now the President of Alzheimer's Disease International.

Rita Hayworth

Rita HayworthRita Hayworth

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