Rita's Columbia Pictures family

with Clay Campbell in 'Cover Girl' We must not forget that behind every one of our favorite Rita movies was a team of experts that learned how make Rita look flawless (The picture at left is a scene from Cover Girl, with Clay Campbell making a cameo). In the days of the almighty studio system, almost everyone was under contract for a long period of time. Therefore, basically the same team, or at least part of the team, worked behind the scenes of all the films Rita made at Columbia during the 40's. This gave each studio's productions some distinct qualities, and if you watch enough classics, it can be recognizable. These hard-working individuals brought to life the magic with which audiences fell in love. Often referred to as the "eyes and ears of the studio", they were the ones that got to know the stars best. Rita not only trusted their skill, she came to trust them as her friends, so here you also see some of Rita's closest confidantes. They formed something of a family, and were always around if Rita wanted someone to talk to. Though many other crew members also worked regularly on Rita's films, these are the people who worked closest with her -the talents that transformed a shy girl named Margarita into a screen goddess:


Clay Campbell - Makeup Artist
This Columbia make-up man worked on a slew of Rita's movies. The job of creating otherworldly perfection on Rita's face was in his hands, and in just looking at his work in the picture above, he proves himself a master of his art.

Worked on: You'll Never Get Rich, Cover Girl, Tonight and Every Night, Gilda, Down to Earth, The Lady from Shanghai, The Loves of Carmen, Affair In Trinidad, Salome, Miss Sadie Thompson, They Came to Cordura.

with Bob Schiffer

Bob Schiffer - Makeup Artist
A personal friend of Rita's for many years. He got to know when she was unhappy, and on those days Schiffer recalled he would angle the lipstick in such a way where it would give her "a perpetual semi-happy look". Above he touches up Rita's makeup during the making of Down to Earth.

Worked on: Only Angels Have Wings, Angels Over Broadway, Cover Girl, Tonight and Every Night, Gilda, The Lady from Shanghai, Affair In Trinidad, Salome, Miss Sadie Thompson, Pal Joey, Separate Tables.

with Helen Hunt

Helen Hunt - Hair Stylist
Columbia's chief hair stylist, and another of Rita's closest friends, worked with her from the early part of her career at the studio, right up until They Came to Cordura, creating the luxurious styles of one of Rita's most admired features, her hair. As she did all of these individuals, Rita trusted Helen's skill. So much so that Helen often commented that Rita would rarely look in the mirror after they'd finish. She would just automatically say, "It looks great." They are shown above on the set of Miss Sadie Thompson.

Worked on: You'll Never Get Rich, Cover Girl, Tonight and Every Night, Gilda, Down to Earth, The Lady from Shanghai, The Loves of Carmen, Affair In Trinidad, Salome, Miss Sadie Thompson, Pal Joey, They Came to Cordura.

with Charles Vidor and Rudy Maté

Rudy Maté -Cinematographer
Rita was truly never lovelier than when in front of the camera lens of Rudy Maté. This respected European cameraman worked on Rita's first film, then during the 40's showcased the young starlet he remembered, who had since become the "love goddess", to perfection. He is here on the right with Rita and director Charles Vidor on the set of Cover Girl.

Worked on: Dante's Inferno, Cover Girl (for which he received an Oscar nomination), Tonight and Every Night, Gilda, Down to Earth, The Lady from Shanghai.

with Jean Louis and fellow Columbia actresses

Jean Louis -Costume Designer
Looking at some sketches surrounded by loveliness. Clockwise are Rita, Jinx Falkenburg, Evelyn Keyes and Janet Blair. To read about Jean Louis' work on Rita's films skip to: Jean Louis: a master and his muse.
with Helen Hunt and Bob Coburn

Bob Coburn - Photographer
The head still photographer at Columbia, and Rita's favorite. He was the one responsible for so many of your favorite pictures of Rita. In the photo above he readies Rita for another shot to be made for Affair In Trinidad while Helen Hunt touches up her hair.

with Jack Cole with Roselle Novello and Flora Jaynes

Jack Cole

Rita's natural dancing abilities were directed by this acclaimed choreographer in three films. He even joined her onscreen in Tonight and Every Night (shown here). Cole was responsible for some of the most sensual dance numbers from Hollywood's Golden Era -that often had trouble passing the censors. In addition to Rita, he worked with such legendary sex goddesses as Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell, Betty Grable and Lana Tuner.

Worked on: Tonight and Every Night, Gilda, Down to Earth

Roselle Novello
-Wardrobe Woman

As wardrobe woman, Roselle Novello tended to Rita's clothes on the set of her films, taking care of any mishaps involving the costumes, making alterations and fittings. She is on the left in the photo above.
Flora Jaynes
- Hair Stylist

Flora Jaynes worked with Rita often but as Helen Hunt was the studio's chief hair stylist, she received the screen credit, though they both handled Rita's famous mane. She is above on the right on location with Hayworth and Novello for The Lady from Shanghai.

with Charles Vidor and Glenn Ford

Charles Vidor - Director

Last but certainly not least I wanted to include Rita's favorite director, Charles Vidor, though he does not perfectly fit in with this page. He did work closely with Rita behind the scenes at Columbia Pictures, however, and that is what this is all about. He knew just how to bring out the best in her abilities. Some of his non-Rita films are A Farewell to Arms (1957) and The Joker is Wild (1957). Above he is alongside Rita and an on screen member of Rita's studio family, favorite co-star Glenn Ford, taking a break on the set of The Lady in Question.

Worked on: The Lady in Question, Cover Girl, Gilda, The Loves of Carmen

Previous Feature| Back to Features| Next Feature