11:42 AM EDT 07/06/2014

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Esther Williams

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Swim Star Esther Williams Dies at 91 | Esther Williams

Esther Williams Dies at 91

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.

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