Dynamite in the Water

I just read the sad news that Hollywood icon Esther Williams passed away today. She was 91.

The loss of classic film stars is inevitable, I realize. But I am truly saddened by Ms. Williams’ passing. She was a unique gem in Hollywood of any era, with a calling card that set her apart from any other beauty on screen. Esther Williams was never far from a pool in her films. And her pools usually came with a troupe of synchronized swimmers, fountains that erupted on cue, blazing fireworks emerging from the water and swimsuits more elaborate than my prom dresses. Gene Kelly danced with Jerry the mouse. Esther Williams swam with Tom and Jerry.

The epicness begins at 2:45. That move at 4:20? Amazing!

I love Esther Williams because my grandmother loved Esther Williams. She loved classic films – though I suppose to her they were just, you know, films – and all the stars that came with them. Gene Kelly. Fred Astaire. Bette Davis. Jimmy Stewart. Mae West.

But above all, she loved Esther Williams. She loved her perfect make-up, her dazzling smile and her ability to keep them both in place as a platform raised her in and out of the water. She loved the way she floated through the air, diving off boards, swings and pillars of water, weightless and as graceful as, well, as Esther Williams in the water.

I’ll tell anyone who’ll listen (and often do) that I credit my grandma with my love for movies and inspiring the career I am so happy with today. I miss her constantly, and in my own small way I’ll miss Esther Williams and her pools, too.