Thursday, June 6, 2013

Esther Williams, 1921-2013

The death has been announced of actress Esther Williams at the age of 91. Williams was a championship swimmer who went into acting when World War II canceled the 1940 Olympics. Williams eventually got a contract at MGM, who played to her talents by putting her in a whole bunch of escapist musicals with aquatic numbers. For a good example of the escapism, you could do much worse than Princess Mermaid, which has Williams swimming with two of MGM's bigger stars: Tom the cat and Jerry the mouse:

Then again, if Gene Kelly could dance with Jerry in Anchors Aweigh, why not have Esther Williams swimm wiht him? As for Williams, I have to admit to not having recommended too many of her movies, mostly because those swimming musicals aren't quite my thing. Or, as I called them when I mentioned On An Island With You in Ricardo Montalbán's obituary "frothy romps". The one movie of hers I did blog about at length is The Hoodlum Saint, where she stars opposite William Powell and Angela Lansbury. Well, I've also briefly mentioned Easy to Wed a couple of times, since it's a remake of Libeled Lady.

I'd presume TCM is going to preempt some of their programming to honor Williams, but I haven't heard of any programming changes yet since her death was only very recently announced.

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