Annette Kellerman

Active - 1914 - 2003  |   Genres - Adventure, Children's/Family, Fantasy, Film, TV & Radio [nf]

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Before there was Esther Williams, there was the "Diving Venus," Australia-born actress Annette Kellerman. An extraordinary beauty, Kellerman was a champion marathon swimmer and diver, who, as a youth, had a birth defect in her leg. To help correct it, she began to swim and took ballet lessons. Later she moved to England with her father. Kellerman gained most of her media attention when she successfully swam 30 miles down the Thames. Eventually, she went to the U.S. where she gained notoriety in 1907 for wearing a shocking one-piece bathing suit that revealed her arms and legs. She was in Boston at the time and was wearing the daring get up when the police arrested her for indecent exposure. Later the charges were dropped and she went on to have a stage career. Eventually she began working for Universal studios, starring in a number of aquatic films such as Neptune's Daughter (1909), A Daughter of the Gods (1916) and Venus of the South Seas (1924). In 1952, Esther Williams played Kellerman in the fictionalized biopic Million Dollar Mermaid.