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We were very sad to hear this morning of the passing of Esther Williams. The former competitive swimmer became famous during the Golden Age of Hollywood as the 'mermaid' of the movies, appearing as a featured swimmer, and then a top-billing star, in countless films, including 1944's Bathing Beauty - Hollywood's first swimming themed musical, choreographed by Busby Berkeley.

She died peacefully in her sleep, at her home in Los Angeles, aged 91.

During her long career, Williams starred alongside the likes of Mickey Rooney, Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly, and helped to carve out an entirely new niche in films, the so-called 'aqua-musicals' that saw her spending most of her time in swimming costumes, dancing and diving around elaborate sets. This vintage MGM video tells you much more than our words ever could...

Esther Williams' legacy will hopefully live on, not just in her many films, but also in her range of swimwear, inspired by the classic designs the star wore at the height of her career. The modest, retro styles have become popular with a whole new generation thanks to stores like ModCloth picking them up in recent years. Modcloth offers international shipping, or UK shoppers can pay homage to the star with selected styles available at For Luna.

[all images: Esther-Williams.com]