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LAPL Photo Roulette brings up Rita Hayworth at the roller derby in 1938

Rita Hayworth, Edward Judson, Doune McKay, and Gordon Oliver watching the Roller Derby at the Pan-Pacific Auditorium. Photograph dated July 23, 1938.
Rita Hayworth, Edward Judson, Doune McKay, and Gordon Oliver watching the Roller Derby at the Pan-Pacific Auditorium. Photograph dated July 23, 1938. Len Weissman/LAPL Herald-Examiner collection

It's my favorite computer game. Simply type a random keyword into the search engine of the LA Public Library's photo archive, and learn something new about your city.

After fruitless searches under chopstick and munchkin, hoi poloi, according to Wikipedia "the working class, commoners, the masses or common people in a derogatory sense," brought up the photo you see before you, by Len Weissman.

Here's the caption:

The thrilling Roller Derby now at the Pan-Pacific Auditorium is sure-fire excitement for society and film celebrities. Staid socialites have been seen yelling with the hoi-poloi and screen starlettes hoot and cheer with gusto. Pictured are Rita Hayworth, Edward Judson, Doune McKay and Gordon Oliver. Photograph dated July 23, 1938.

(Luckily, the archive is as bad at spelling as I am. There are no entries under the proper spelling, hoi polloi, with two L's.)

We're also treated to a short but dramatic biography:

Rita Hayworth (born Margarita Carmen Cansino in 1918) was a film actress and dancer who performed publicly for the first time at the age of 6. By the age of 8 she was featured in her first film for Warner Bros., and by 16 was working with Dolores del Rio.

In 1936, Harry Cohn, studio head for Columbia and her then-husband, Edward C. Judson, began working on her physical transformation, which would be dramatic and fruitful. Rita had electrolysis to raise her hairline, changed her hair color to dark red, and changed her name to Rita Hayworth, taking on her mother's maiden name. The transformation complete, the exotic foreigner had now become a classic "American" pin-up. As Rita Cansino, she made 14 pictures. As Rita Hayworth, she made 51, and became one of the eras top stars, winning critical acclaim for many of her films. She was featured on the cover of Life magazine 5 times.

She married 5 times, with all unions ending in divorce: Edward Charles Homgren Judson (1937-1942), Orson Welles (1943-1948), Prince Aly Khan (1949-1953), Dick Haymes (1953-1955), and James Hill (1958-1961); she had two daughters, Rebecca Welles (1944) and Yasmin Aga Khan (1949).

Hayworth struggled with alcohol throughout her life and had difficulty coping with the ups and downs of the business and with her personal life, causing her once stellar career to spiral downward. Her alcoholism hid symptoms of Alzheimer's disease (discovered in 1980), which went undiagnosed for approximately 20 years. In February 1987, Hayworth lapsed into a semi coma. She died on May 14, 1987 from Alzheimer's disease, and was interred in Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City.

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