Rita Hayworth was one of the biggest movie stars of all time. Thanks to her films and to her status as an iconic WWII pinup--the camera loved her to the point of obsession--she has secured her place in pop culture history.
Hayworth was also one of the first big names to be associated with Alzheimer's disease, which claimed her at the too-young age of 68 after a 10-year battle.
Today, my pal Alan Light, a longtime film buff whose photography of celebrities in the '70s, '80s and '90s is a marvel, sent me the above long-lost images of Hayworth, taken at a 1977 National Film Society function in Washington D.C. that may well have been her final public appearance. She was already suffering from the early effects of her disease, but of course the public was in the dark about that. She looked good! She was just about Madonna's current age at that time, which is interesting to note due to how women in their late fifties were viewed in 1977 as opposed to 2015. (There's more tension now since more of them are refusing the stately caftan route.)
As a bonus, check out this National Film Society gala from 1979, also by Alan Light. Can you recognize the (many more!) famous faces in attendance? (Hint: Una Merkel is up in this shizz!)