12:49 PM EDT 12/22/2014
Originally posted 06/06/2013 01:00PM
The silver screen has long boasted many great beauties, but only one was ever worthy of the title "America's Mermaid." Esther Williams, MGM's great synchronized swimming star and box-office attraction of the '40s and '50s, has died. She was 91.
The star's publicist, Harlan Boll, told the Associated Press she died in her sleep Thursday.
Relatively removed from the public eye since the publication of her 1999 memoir, The Million Dollar Mermaid, Williams suffered some health setbacks in the past several years. In 2001, she fractured her ankle (which then became infected, necessitating the use of a walker) after a spill down some stairs in her Beverly Hills home. Then, in 2007, she suffered a stroke.
Top 5 Most Voted Stories
Anonymous Donor Offers $20,000 to Find the Person Who Stuffed a Starving Pit Bull in a Suitcase
A Day in the Life of Jennifer Lopez
California Father Arrested for Allegedly Killing His 3-Week-Old Daughter
Angelina Jolie Visits Kurdish Refugee Camp
Patrick Dempsey Said He Was 'Spread So Thin' Before Divorce
Top 10 News Categories
The most buzzed about stars this minute!
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
More On PEOPLE.com
Got a News Tip?
Send it to our People.com editors!