Esther Jane Williams (August 8, 1921–June 6, 2013) was an American actress and swimmer. She appeared with Tom and Jerry in Dangerous When Wet.
Esther Jane Williams was born on August 8, 1921, in Inglewood, California. As a teenage swimming champion, she won three United States National championships. She eventually was spotted by an MGM talent scout while working in a Los Angeles department store.
She made her film debut with MGM in an "Andy Hardy" picture called Andy Hardy's Double Life (1942). She became Mickey Rooney's love interest in the movie, and her character was called Sheila Brooks. After this short movie, stardom was not far away. MGM created a special subgenre for her known as "Aqua Musicals". Her first swimming role was in Bathing Beauty (1944). Bathing Beauty was a simple movie compared to her later big splashes such as Million Dollar Mermaid (1952), co-starring Victor Mature and Walter Pidgeon. Williams was often called "America's Mermaid", as it appeared that she could stay underwater forever!
After the decline of the once lucrative MGM aqua musical, Williams attempted dramatic roles. The Unguarded Moment (1956) is one example of this new found dramatic confidence. It co-starred George Nader and John Saxon. Also, The Big Show (1961), co-starring Cliff Robertson and Robert Vaughn, was another dramatic role. Overall, Esther's acting skills were limited and, as a musical star in the audience's eyes, she was unsuccessful. She retired from the movie industry in the 1960s, returning as a guest star in That's Entertainment! III (1994) discussing her appearance in MGM films. She certainly is recognized today for bringing enjoyment, escapism and entertainment on the big screen. She also had a highly successful business in swimwear. Occasional television work discussing her contribution to the film industry is a treat for her fans from time to time.
Esther Williams died at age 91 in her sleep on June 6, 2013, in her home in Los Angeles.
- Official trailer for Dangerous When Wet featuring Tom and Jerry