My cinema relationship with Esther Williams helped shape my film interests.
I didn’t full watch any of her films until 2003 when my film appetite craved musicals.
When I was 15 I read her autobiography, “The Million Dollar Mermaid.” It’s my favorite film autobiography that I’ve read so far.
When I was 17, I bought one of her Esther Williams bathing suits.
Williams inspired me to practice swimming strokes and try to learn how to swim (I failed swimming lessons when I was five years old. How embarrassing).
I remember in 2004 when she was highlighted during TCM’s August Summer under the Stars series. I wasn’t looking forward to going back to school in August but my excitement of Esther Williams’ day out-weighed my dread.
But it’s not just how she affected my every day actions, but my film knowledge that makes her important to me.
To date, I have seen all but two of Esther Williams’ films: “A Raw Wind in Eden” and “The Big Show.”
Esther Williams’s films are a textbook example of the mid-1940s to early 1950s MGM musicals: brightly colored, beautiful clothing and lavish musical numbers that may include Williams swimming, Xavier Cugat and his band shaking maracas or opera singer Lauritz Melchior belting a tune.
Her films also introduced me to my biggest film crush- Van Johnson.
Something I have always found appealing about Williams is that she is very attainable.
Her beauty is natural and girl-next-door like and her figure is athletic, rather than actress anorexic. In her 1996 Private Screenings Interview with Robert Osborne, she said becoming a star was all an accident.