Rita Hayworth's struggles with alcohol and Alzheimer's set to be brought to life in stage play
A new play based on the life of Rita Hayworth will be brought to life with costumes by Zac Posen.
Private Dancer, which explores the behind-the-scenes drama of the late Forties star who battled alcoholism and Alzheimer's disease off-screen, opens ...
When Hayworth and Dick Haymes first met, he was still married and his singing career was waning. When she showed up at the clubs, he got a larger audience. Haymes was desperate for money, as two of his former wives were taking legal action against him for unpaid child support. His financial problems were so bad he could not return to California without being arrested. On July 7, 1954, his ex-wife Nora Haymes got a bench warrant for his arrest, because he owed her $3,800 in alimony. Less than a week prior, his other ex-wife, Joanne Dru, also got a bench warrant because she said he owed $4,800 in support payments for their three children. Hayworth ended up paying most of Haymes's debts.
Haymes was born in Argentina, and did not have solid proof of American citizenship. Not long after he met Hayworth, U.S. officials initiated proceedings to have him deported to Argentina for being an illegal alien. He hoped Hayworth could influence the government and keep him in the United States. When she assumed responsibility for his citizenship, a bond was formed that led to marriage. The two were married on September 24, 1953 at the Sands Hotel, Las Vegas, and their wedding procession went through the casino.
From the start of their marriage, Haymes was deeply indebted to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). When Hayworth took time off from attending his comeback performances in Philadelphia, the audiences sharply declined. Haymes's $5000 weekly salary was attached by the IRS to pay a $100,000 bill, and he was unable to pay his pianist. Haymes' ex-wives demanded money while Hayworth publicly bemoaned her own lack of alimony from Aly Khan. At one point, the couple was effectively imprisoned in a hotel room for 24 hours in Manhattan at the Hotel Madison as sheriff's deputies waited outside threatening to arrest Haymes for outstanding debts. At the same time, Hayworth was fighting a severe custody battle with Khan, during which she reported death threats against their children. While living in New York, Hayworth sent the children to live with their nanny in Westchester County. They were found and photographed by a reporter from Confidential magazine.
After a tumultuous two years together, Haymes struck Hayworth in the face in 1955 in public at the Coconut Grove nightclub in Los Angeles. Hayworth packed her bags, walked out, and never returned. The assault and crisis shook her, and her doctor ordered her to remain in bed for several days.
Hayworth was short of money after her marriage to Haymes. She had failed to gain child support from Aly Khan. She sued Orson Welles for back payment of child support which she claimed had never been paid. This effort was unsuccessful and added to her stress.