Rita Hayworth never wrote an autobiography. She thought it was vain and didn’t think she had enough to say. Asked if she was going to write an autobiography, Rita remarked:
A book! Me? Why? I have nothing to be ashamed of, and, in today’s market, if you’ve got nothing to be ashamed of, nobody would buy it. How do people write a whole book about themselves, anyway?
Only a few Rita Hayworth biographies have been written, and none of them were authorized by her. This is understandable given her reclusive nature and infrequent interviews with the media.
If This Was Happiness: A Biography of Rita Hayworth (1992) by Barbara Leaming
This book is the most intimate portrait of Rita Hayworth because the author was an Orson Welles biographer. Welles, once upon a time Hayworth’s husband, revealed secrets, including a few dark secrets Rita had never told anybody else, and presumably had no intention for the world to hear. However, since she never had the chance to confirm or deny the allegations, and the accounts were never corroborated, one cannot be sure if Welles was telling the truth.
Rita Hayworth: Portrait of a Love Goddess (1983) by John Kobal
This is a good biography. It doesn’t have a lot of sensational or scandalous material but it’s solid and interesting.
Rita Hayworth: The Time, The Place, and The Woman (1978) by John Kobal
It has for its cover the famous picture of Rita posing on a bed in her negligee.
Rita: The Life of Rita Hayworth (1983) by Joe Morella and Edward Z. Epstein
This is a decent effort by two celebrity biographers. The paperback came out a few years before Rita passed away. It is 263 pages.
The Glamour Girls (1975) by biographers James R. Parish and Don E. Stanke has Rita on the cover in a very sexy pose, but the 750-page tome is actually a collection of celebrity biographies for ladies popular from the 1930s to 1960s. There are 100 pages on Rita.
Rita Hayworth: A Pyramid Illustrated History by Gerald Peary
A wonderful collection of black-and-white publicity stills from many of Rita’s movies. Some are from her early films and quite rare.
Rita Hayworth: The Love Goddess (1983)
This is the only biopic movie about her. Lynda Carter (Wonderwoman) played Rita.
Some of the above bios are easy to find on abebooks.com for as little as one dollar.
The Barefoot Countessa
Hayworth was offered to play the lead in The Barefoot Countessa (1954), which some believed was loosely based on her life. But she turned down the offer, saying it seemed too much as if it were based on her life, and things in it she’d rather forget.