Bathing Beauty

Esther Williams' Best Bathing Suits (PHOTOS)

In tribute to the Hollywood swimming legend, who passed away Thursday at age 91, we take a look back at her best vintage beach looks.

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Esther Williams

With the passing of Esther Williams, the teenage swimming sensation turned Hollywood starlet, we've compiled some of her best poolside looks. Williams set multiple records for the Los Angeles Atheletic Club swim team and would have competed in the 1940 Summer Olympics, were it not for the outbreak of World War II. She then went on to star in films alongside the likes of Mickey Rooney and Andy Hardy and even made synchronized-swimming musicals called aqua musicals.

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Esther Williams, 1945

Esther Williams poses at the edge of a pool, wearing an adorable floral bikini. 

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Esther Williams, 1939

Williams in a basic black racing suit with Los Angeles Athletic Club teammates after setting the 400-meter-relay record in the senior women's national AAU swimming meet in 1939 in Des Moines, Iowa. Their time was 4:46, a drop of 8.8 seconds from their previous outing.

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Esther Williams, 1942

Williams wore this classic white bikini (with those divine ’40s boy shorts) while posing as the theme girl of the first Los Angeles Swimming and Diving Contest in September 1942.

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Esther Williams, 1944

Williams sports a polka-dot pattern while rehearsing her underwater ballet for the motion-picture musical Ziegfeld Follies in Hollywood. 

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Esther Williams, 1945

Williams posing in a one-piece on the diving board at the Beverly Hills Hotel. 

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Esther Williams, 1948

Williams, in a voluptuous one-piece, smiles down at seven members of the Town Club in Chicago, who form a star in the pool for her. 

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Esther Williams, 1948

Williams in a one-piece sheath—a style that became associated with the bathing beauty—at her home in Hollywood, where her pool is a necessary addition. 

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Esther Williams, 1950

Williams in a tropical print, on location for the film Pagan Love Song.

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Esther Williams, 1954

Wiliams donned a Space Age swimsuit for her movie Jupiter's Darling.

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Esther Williams, 1955

Winsome in white, Williams poses for a portrait for the television program Omnibus.