Trained to be an olympic swimmer, Esther Williams was known as America's Mermaid and she swam into the hearts of many with her lavish Aqua Musical spectaculars. When her family moved to California, she got a job counting towels at the local pool and got swimming lessons from the lifeguards.
After winning three US National championships in swimming, she trained for the 1940 Olympics but that year the Olympics were canceled due to WWII. Late, Esther Williams was working as a model and stock girl for a local department store. She was contacted to replace Eleanor Holm in the Aquacade show.
Louis B. Mayer was looking for an athletic leading lady and soon signed Esther Williams. During the war, she visited veteran hospitals and achieved pin-up status because her bathing suit promotional photos. She performed a skit where she would invite a GI read lines from a card to do a mock screen test, where she begged them to kiss her and the men (reading their lines) would refuse. She then tore her breakaway clothes and show off her swimsuit. Needless to say this was a hit with the soldiers.
Her first Aqua Musical was Bathing Beauty with Red Skelton. Later she appeared in Ziegfeld Follies as herself. She starred in many more films including blockbuster hit Take Me out to the Ball Game with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra.
She is most famous for staged synchronized swimming scenes, which were quite dangerous. While filming Million Dollar Mermaid she broke her neck and had to wear a body cast for seven months. He ears suffered damage and she nearly drowned.
On radio Esther Williams appeared in Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Command Performance, Duffy's Tavern, Fibber McGee and Molly, Philco Radio, and Lux Radio Theater in Million Dollar Mermaid.