Rita Hayworth

by ethnic on October 25, 2009

Birth Name: Margarita Carmen Cansino

Date of Birth: October 17, 1918

Place of Birth: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Death: May 14, 1987

Place of Death: New York City, New York, U.S.

*Spanish (father)
*English, Irish (mother)

Rita Hayworth was an American actress and dancer. Her father, Eduardo Cansino Reina, was a Spanish flamenco dancer, from Castilleja de la Cuesta, Andalusia, Spain. Her mother, Volga M. (Hayworth), had English and Irish ancestry.

Rita had two children, a daughter with her former husband, actor and filmmaker Orson Welles, and a daughter, philanthropist Yasmin Aga Khan, with her former husband, Prince Aly Khan.

Rita’s father was said to have Sephardi Jewish ancestry to some degree. It is not clear if this Sephardi Jewish ancestry has been verified/documented. Many people of Spanish origin have Sephari roots, and many people with the surname Cansino are of Jewish heritage. Rita is also sometimes described as having had Romani ancestry, without any particular evidence.

Rita’s paternal grandfather was Antonio Avecilla Cansino (the son of Avecilla Cansino and Montero).

Rita’s maternal grandfather was Allynn/Allyn Duran Hayworth (the son of Barnabas Hayworth and Sarah A. Peri). Barnabas was the son of Jeremiah Haworth and Elizabeth Cartwright.

Rita’s maternal grandmother was Margaret Ellen O’Hare (the daughter of Patrick O’Hare and Bridget M.). Margaret was born in Washington, D.C., to Irish parents.

Sources: Notes on Rita’s mother’s ancestry – http://www.haworthassociation.org

Genealogies of Rita Hayworth – https://www.wikitree.com

Genealogies of Rita Hayworth (focusing on her mother’s side) – http://www.findagrave.com

Rita’s mother on the 1900 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

by Mooki and Ethnic

Creative Commons License photo credit: Ballistik Coffee Boy

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

bablah April 17, 2017 at 4:27 pm
andrew June 7, 2016 at 5:40 pm
andrew October 15, 2015 at 6:03 pm

She is also sometimes described as having Romani ancestry.

Max April 28, 2015 at 2:56 pm

Any ideas?

Max April 27, 2015 at 8:33 pm

Well..well..well..wait a minut,U are talking about gypsy and sephardi,but all this things are not proved…or better supposed. But i wanna rise a NEW question. What about that Sara A.Peri with that italian Surname? Queite impossible since there was really few italian especially in indiana at those times…i really research a loto about it,i don’t think Rita had a drop of italian blood… What do U think people? Thank U for Your help! :-)

SpaniardIam May 2, 2015 at 7:29 am

All Spaniards have some Italian blood. Spain as a country is a legacy of the Roman Empire. They gave us their language very similar to Italian, his Catholic religion and blood. Many soldiers of the legions of Rome chose to retire to Spain after finishing their stay in the army. So Italians and Spaniards are very similar in physical appearance and culture.

SpaniardIam March 29, 2015 at 3:22 am

To say that Rita had Jewish ancestors is completely absurd . The family of her father was 100 percent Spanish Catholics . Please rectify it.

ashash March 29, 2015 at 11:54 am

A lot of Spaniards have Jewish ancestry. Rita was raised Catholic, but it is possible that she had an ancestor somewhere in there who was Sephardi Jewish.

Get over it, you anti-Semite!

SpaniardIam March 31, 2015 at 12:52 am

Many Spaniards have Roman ancestors. Many Spaniards have German ancestors. Many Spaniards have Muslim ancestors. Because we do not write that Rita could have ancestors Muslims, Italians, Germans …?. Your historical argument is completely absurd.

ashash March 31, 2015 at 8:58 am

It looks as if her father was related to a man who had a Sephardi Jewish ancestor. That is why it says that she possibly has some Sephardi Jewish ancestry. Rita’s father’s family was Catholic, though.

Yes, it is true that many Spaniards have all sorts of different ancestry.

SpaniardIam March 31, 2015 at 9:14 am

you think Rita’s father is Jewish because he looks like a Jew. That theory has is of scientific certainty … ZERO. I look like English but I am one hundred percent spaniard. You should be serious in your comments.

ashash March 31, 2015 at 10:39 am

Now you’re just talking crazy.

I don’t think Rita’s father is Jewish because of his looks. In fact, I have never seen a picture of the man.

Furthermore, even if he does have an identifiable Sephardi Jewish ancestor, that does not make him just Jewish. As I said, plenty of Spaniards have Sephardi Jewish ancestry. It’s part of their history and makeup.

I don’t see why you have such a problem with it. No one is saying Rita’s father wasn’t Spanish.

SpaniardIam April 2, 2015 at 2:39 am

I have no problem with Jewish heritage in Spain. I know that many Spaniards have that heritage. I’m just saying that there is no evidence that the father of Rita was Jewish. Famous Spanish characters were Jews, such as for example … Cervantes and St. Teresa of Jesus. But the father of Rita … NO.

Eyecansee April 22, 2015 at 8:38 pm

Rita Hayworth was likely a Crypto-Jew. I have no evidence of her being ethnically Jewish, but there are major clues that can be taken into consideration.

Her surname was “Cansino”, which is a Spanish-Jewish surname. Here’s the link below to prove it!

SpaniardIam April 24, 2015 at 2:05 am

That Jewish family “Cansino” that you have put in this link is a family of northern Africa, it was NOT a Spanish family. The “Cansino” name is a Spanish word that means “slow or heavy”. Many Spanish families have that name and they have nothing to do with the Jews. Rita’s father was deeply Catholic and he married an Irish Catholic because she was too. His theory is completely absurd.

Eyecansee September 6, 2016 at 12:35 am

Take a chill pill

JasonBaker January 7, 2015 at 1:11 pm

One of her father’s relatives is a Spanish writer, Rafael Cansinos.
According to this http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rafael_Cansinos_Assens , Rafael Cansinos discovered the Jewish heritage of his paternal family side, which deeply influenced him. If this is true, then Rita Hayworth is also Jewish, even if it’s just a distant heritage.

ashash November 29, 2014 at 2:51 pm


juan October 1, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Hate to dissapoint you lil vacha and Ban Viking…Rita was not a Sephardic Spanish jew. My family knew heres and we are from the same part of Spain which is andalucia! Her father was from Sevilla…she was 100 % andalucian spanish and not a spanish jew!

Furthermore for the record, many sephardic jews have spanish names or they sound similar since they had been there for many years, and some mixed. So again many people in spain have that surname and are christians, just like hernandez or gomez or espinoza or many others like garcia or sanchez..gee whiz..get educated!! Many of them took on spanish surnames to prevent discrimination, or they were converts and they had to take on their adopted names, thus not to be perseucted.

Real jewish surnames are ones that sound hebrew, for instance like Levy..of course that is without saying, or Cohen or Kohin. But come on really..do not show your ignorance. She was not a Spanish Jew… She was just a plain ole spaniard…spanish. And take it from me, my family knew her father and we were involved in music. Her father was involved in flamenco..not too many sephardics are involved in flamenco. Also it was not till most recent, that jews were welcome back, and no he was not a secret jew either!!

HotDog August 21, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Its never been proving that her dad was of Jewish descent.

LiL VACHA June 17, 2010 at 9:41 am


BAN VIKING! March 17, 2012 at 5:29 pm

I never knew she was Sephardic Jewish. All her life she would just say she was half Spanish. This is interesting and cool.

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