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Rita, the "Pin-up Girl"

Rita Hayworth was one of the most popular pin-up queens of World War II. Second only to Betty Grable, who was also number 1 at the box office. It may not have been an image Rita particularly relished, but when the war came along, there was no stopping GI's coast to coast and all over the world from plastering Rita's image on everything from barracks walls to bombers planes.

That famous pose

This was the most famous Hayworth pin-up picture. It was taken by Bob Landry and first appeared in a 1941 issue of Life magazine. It proceeded to become one of the most instantly recognizable pictures ever taken. Helen Gurley Brown, Editor-In-Chief of Cosmopolitan said of the picture "I never saw a better 'girl' picture, and that includes about a million from Cosmopolitan!"

Rita signing autographs When the United States was plunged into World War II, servicemen everywhere made Rita one of their favorite poster girls. The U.S. Navy named her, "The Red-Head We Would Most Like to be Ship-Wrecked with". She was so loved during this period that there was actually a record available with the sound of her heartbeat! Rita immensely helped the war effort by selling war bonds, being in broadcasts of the radio show especially for servicemen, "Command Performance" and appearing often at the Hollywood Canteen. She also took part in USO shows for the enlisted men, and of course, movies like Cover Girl were big morale boosters. Rita also entertained with her then boyfriend, and soon to be husband, Orson Welles. She was the assistant in his magic act, in which he would mystify the troops by sawing her in half! Rita may not have particularly enjoyed being a sex goddess, but if her picture gave a war-weary soldier overseas courage and helped him remember what he was fighting, she was all for it.

Pin-up pictures

Here are a few pin-up pictures of Rita taken around the time of World War II that made her so popular with American GI's, and indeed servicemen all over the world.

Betty Grable and Rita Hayworth

The two most famous shots of World War II. The picture of Betty Grable on the left was owned by 1 out of every 5 servicemen during the war.

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