Friday 7 June 2013

And now it's Esther...

Another day, another death. This time it's aquabatic legend of the silver screen Esther Williams, plucked from us at the age of 91. Cheeta, that prince among chimps, devotes Chapter Eight of his classic autobiography to Esther Williams. It reads in its entirety:
'Chapter 8 has been removed on legal advice.'
The index of Me Cheeta is very much more forthcoming - as indeed is the chapter title in the Contents list. But hey, de mortuis nil nisi bonum. Here's a link to a rather lovely compilation of Williams moments. Enjoy!


  1. I wonder if Esther has requested burial at sea; well it makes sense.

    As you state Nige, another day, another death. Soon they’ll all be gone, with only Hollywood’s grizzled old equivalent of WW1’s Harry Patch as last man standing; the generation of stars who enchanted my generation as we sat there scratching ourselves in the local flea pit gazing spellbound at those technicolour beauties, and none more beautiful than Esther. In her autobiography she recalls the risks the stars had to take to help us escape, for a couple of hours, from fifties austerity:

    ‘The script for Million Dollar Mermaid included two water extravaganza scenes, and I pleaded with Merve to bring in Busby Berkeley to stage them because I knew he’d bring a real sense of showmanship to the film. Busby didn’t give much thought to my safety. He just expected me to do whatever he dreamed up for me. As a result, I risked my life every time he said “Roll ‘em.” All of a sudden this smoke was billowing up, and soon it was so thick I couldn’t see through it, but he wanted me to swing through this surrealistic universe of technicolor smoke. It was typical of Buzz that he never mentioned the smoke. He just assumed it was a production detail that I didn’t need to be concerned about. On the second great swing across the pool, I was to do a half gainer off the trapeze, but I couldn’t see the pool below. I was afraid I was going to dive headfirst into the cement. Of course, being nearsighted didn’t help. “I don’t see any blue down there, Buzz,” I called out. “What’s with all this smoke?”

    Buzz was up on the crane, armed with a bullhorn. “What’s your problem, Williams?” he yelled into the horn. “You know where the water is. You already looked. Just don’t dive in crooked.”

  2. Wow - thanks for that, John - some plucky dame! I wonder what Cheeta had against her - probably her claim that his hero Johnny Weissmuller persistently tried to seduce her while they were performing together.