LOS ANGELES — Esther Williams, the swimming champion turned movie star, has died at age 91.
Williams’ publicist Harlan Boll says she died early Thursday in her sleep.
Williams became one of Hollywood’s biggest moneymakers in the 1940s and ‘50s, appearing in spectacular swimsuit numbers that capitalized on her wholesome beauty and perfect figure.
Such films as “Easy to Wed,” “Neptune’s Daughter” and “Dangerous When Wet” followed the same formula: romance, music, a bit of comedy and a flimsy plot that provided excuses to get Esther into the water.
The extravaganzas dazzled a second generation via television and the compilation films “That’s Entertainment.” Williams’ co-stars included the pick of the MGM contract list, including Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Red Skelton, Ricardo Montalban and Howard Keel.