Esther Williams - Later Years

Later Years

Williams retired from acting in the early 1960s and currently lends her name to a line of retro women's swimwear. "Women worldwide are fighting a thing called gravity," said Williams. "I say to women when I talk to them, You girls of 18 have until about 25, 30 at the most, and then you have to report to me. My suits are quality fabric." "I put you in a suit that contains you and you will swim in. I don't want you to be in two Dixie cups and a fish line."

She is also the namesake of a company that manufactures swimming pools and swimming pool accessories. She came out with a line of Swim, Baby, Swim videos, which helped parents teach their children how to swim. She also appeared as a commentator for synchronized swimming at the 1984 Summer Olympics. Williams met her fourth husband as a result of his calling her to coordinate her appearance. She co-wrote her autobiography The Million Dollar Mermaid (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1999) with popular media critic and author Digby Diehl.

In a 2007 interview with Diane Sawyer, Williams admitted that she had recently had a stroke. "I opened my eyes and I could see, but I couldn't remember anything from the past", she said. She has been recovering since then. In June 2008, Williams attended the funeral of Cyd Charisse, in a wheelchair.

In April 2010, Williams appeared at the first Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival in Hollywood, California, alongside two time co-star Betty Garrett. Her 1949 film Neptune's Daughter was screened at the pool of the Roosevelt Hotel, along with a performance of the Williams-inspired synchronized swimming troupe, The Waterlilies. South Beach Miami's 2010 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Swim, a showcase of designer swimwear, included a Williams suite, complete with a beach summer theme and sand palette with aqua accents.

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