Esther Williams

Esther Jane Williams was born August 8, 1921, in Inglewood, California. She set multiple national and regional swimming records in her late teens. She was elected to the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

Although she made many, many movies, my favorite were Million Dollar Mermaid and Pagan Love Song. Many of her movies contained elaborately staged synchronized swimming scenes. These were not without risk to Williams. She broke her neck filming a 115 dive off a a tower during a climatic musical number for the Million Dollar Mermaid and was in a body cast for seven months. Her many hours spent submerged in a studio tank resulted in her rupturing her eardrums numerous times. She also nearly drowned after not being able to find the trap door in the ceiling of a tank. Williams was only pulled out because a member of the crew realized the door wasn't opening.

My Top Five

Cousin Kathy and I Pretend

The Esther Williams movies bring back memories of Cousin Kathy and I. For a period of time, my cousin Kathy Kimmel and I were very close friends and cousins. She was the daughter of my dad's sister Vera and her husband Ray

Once in awhile her mom would invite me to accompany them to Hillcrest Country Club as a guest. I was enthralled with the big and very fancy club house. We could order food and take it right out on the patio by the swimming pool. Best of all, we could go swimming any time. Kathy liked to swim almost as much as I loved to swim. We would pretend we were in an Esther Williams movie and do the water ballets. We did have a lot of good times together during my preteens and early teen years.

Kathy and I parted ways when we moved to Orchard Street. When I married Don, we lost total track of each other. I learned she married a man with children and lived on the west coast. Kathy died several years ago. I do not even have the details of where she is buried, etc. Her brother Larry is still living and is somewhere in Texas.