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Esther Williams, a championship swimmer who became one of the world’s most popular movie stars in the 1940s and ’50s by appearing in aquatic musicals featuring daredevil plunges from pedestals, trapezes and even a helicopter, died June 6. The place and cause were not reported. She was 91.
July 28, 1939 Esther Williams, right, poses with the Los Angeles Athletic Club — from left, Virginia Hopkins, Marian Hopkins and Eleanor Chamberlain — after setting a new 400-meter relay record in the Senior Women's National AAU swimming meet in Des Moines. (Their time was four minutes, 46 seconds.) The California-born model was invited to join the prestigious club when she was 15, and she established records in numerous national women's swimming competitions, including the national record for the 100-meter freestyle. When the 1940 Olympics in Helsinki were canceled because of the war, she turned to department-store modeling. AP