MGM/The Kobal Collection
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The swimmer-turned-actress died June 6 in her sleep at 91. A national champion in the 1930s, Williams had Olympic aspirations, but when World War II forced the cancellation of the 1940 Olympics, she turned to modeling and was discovered by MGM. Throughout the '40s and '50s, Williams starred in more than a dozen splashy Technicolor musicals, including Dangerous When Wet, Easy to Wed, Neptune's Daughter and The Million Dollar Mermaid, that capitalized on her swimming skills and pinup good looks. Her films, which featured elaborate synchronized aquatic numbers, are credited with popularizing synchronized swimming, so much so that it became an Olympic sport. Williams covered synchronized swimming at the 1984 Olympics and also had her own swimwear line.