1. People & Relationships

The Marriages of Esther Williams

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Marriages of Esther Williams
Esther Williams in 1950

Swimming star Esther Williams poses for a publicity shot in Hollywood around 1950.

Photo: Transcendental Graphics / Getty Images
First Marriage - Leonard Kovner
Married: 1940
Children: 0
Divorced: 1944
More About Leonard and Esther

Second Marriage - Ben Gage
Married: 1945
Children: 3
Separated: 1952
Divorced: 1959
More About Ben and Esther

Third Marriage - Fernando Lamas
Married: 1969
Children: 0
Marriage Ended: 1982, his death
More About Fernando and Esther

Fourth Marriage - Edward Bell
Married: 1994
Children: 0
Marriage Ended: 2013, her death
More About Edward and Esther

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Esther Williams Information:

Born:
Esther Jane Williams aka Ester Jane Williams: August 8, 1921 in Inglewood, California.

Died:
Esther: At the age of 91, Esther died in her sleep on June 6, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California.

Children:
Esther had three children with her second husband, Ben Gage. After the death of Fernando Lamas, Esther and her children reconciled.

  • Kimball Austin Gage: Born in 1950. Kimball died on May 8, 2008 from a cancerous brain tumor.
  • Susan Tenney Gage: Born in 1953.
  • Benjamin Stanton Gage: Born in 1949.
Susan Gage: "Mom was always there within touching distance, but she was very busy and Fernando was very difficult," said her daughter, Susan, who grew up mostly living with an aunt and her father and is now an administrator at a nonprofit counseling center in the San Francisco area. "We used to meet in grocery store parking lots and talk. Fernando wouldn't let us come to the house. Once I got older and was able to confront him and ask him why he did that, he was very clear: we were the evidence that my mother had slept with another man."
Source: Todd S. Purdum. "At Home With: Esther Williams; Swimming Upstream." NYTimes.com. 9/02/1999.

Occupations:
Esther: Competitive swimmer, actress, author, model, businesswoman. Esther was especially famous for her aquamusicals "featuring elaborate synchronized swimming sequences and spectacular diving."

Residence:
Beverly Hills, California

Quotes About Esther Williams' Marriages:
Susan King: "TCM just announced a 24-hour Williams movie marathon on June 13 [2013]. It will be a pleasure to dive back in."
Source: Susan King. "Esther Williams, a 'Bathing Beauty' like no other." LATimes.com. 6/06/2013.

Esther: "'I'll bet if I compare notes with Junie Allyson and Debbie Reynolds and anyone else who's had more than one marriage, the fact is that you fall in love and it's so wonderful to think about something other than yourself and whether the script's right for you and who's going to be your leading man, that you don't really ask yourself questions about the fellow. He's just wonderful looking and he dances well and you have a wonderful time and it's fun to go out, and all of a sudden you're in a lifelong marriage.'"
Source: Todd S. Purdum. "At Home With: Esther Williams; Swimming Upstream." NYTimes.com. 9/02/1999.

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