Esther Jane Williams, former swimming champion and Hollywood star has died. She was 91 years old.
Born on the 8th of August 1921, Williams set multiple national and regional swimming records in her late teens. Later, she moved to San Francisco where she spent five months swimming alongside Olympic swimmer and Tarzan star, Johnny Weissmuller.
It did not take long for Williams to catch the attention of MGM studio scouts. After appearing in several small roles, she made a series of films in the 1940s and early 1950s known as “aquamusicals”, which featured elaborate performances with synchronised swimming and diving.
From 1945 to 1949, Williams had at least one film listed among the 20 highest grossing films each year. In 1952, she appeared in her only biographical role, as Australian swimming star Annette Kellerman in Million Dollar Mermaid, which would become her nickname while at MGM.
Williams left MGM in 1956 and appeared in a handful of unsuccessful feature films, followed by several extremely popular water-themed television specials, including one from Cypress Gardens, Florida.
Since her retirement from film in the 1960s, Williams has become a businesswoman, lending her name to a line of swimming pools and retro swimwear, instructional swimming videos for children, and serving as a commentator for synchronised swimming at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.