Actress & Swimmer Esther Williams Passes Away

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Actress and champion swimmer Esther Williams passed away at the age of 91 this morning.

Born in Inglewood, Calif., in 1921, Williams took an interest in swimming at a young age and began breaking individual U.S. swimming records as a teen.

Williams was slated to represent the U.S. in the 1940 Olympics; however, she was unable to participate in the Olympics, which were hosted in Finland that year, as they were canceled due to the outbreak of World War II in Europe.

She then utilized another one of her talents, good looks, to become a model.

Then 18 years old, she drew attention from MGM scouts at the Aquacade, an aquatic spectacle, in San Francisco and was shortly thereafter signed to a contract.

Two years later, Williams made her film debut in the comedy Andy Hardy's Double Life, starring Mickey Rooney.

As she continued to refine her acting craft over the years, Williams landed starring roles in a slew of movies, including Neptune's Daughter, Take Me Out to the Ballgame alongside Frank Sinatra, and perhaps her most iconic film: Million Dollar Mermaid.

Williams officially gave up acting after starring alongside her future husband in the 1963 drama Magic Fountain and took up a career in the bathing suit and swimming pool businesses.

While she never made it to the Olympics as a swimmer, Williams was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1966 and was a commentator for synchronized swimming at Los Angeles' 1984 Olympics.

She is said to have died peacefully in her sleep Thursday morning.

The family has requested that donations be sent to The International Swimming Hall of Fame in lieu of flowers.