Sometimes luminaries in popular culture are called 'legends'. A legend is a story that has been handed down and is popularly regarded as historical but not authenticated. The legend of Annette Kellerman goes like this -- born in Marrickville, she recovered from polio as a child, invented the one-piece swimsuit, was arrested in Boston for wearing it and became a Hollywood movie star.
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I am still looking for my chest of gold in a cool dripping sea cave -- though a professional mermaid for the movies, I still wait to see my first real one sitting on a damp grey rock combing her long green hair.1 The exhibition Million Dollar Mermaid: Annette Kellerman features a visual installation projected onto a set, creating an immersive, sensory environment.
Despite being a huge star for MGM in the 1940s and 50s, Esther Williams’ most famous connection to Australia is arguably her role in the film Million Dollar Mermaid where she portrayed the early life of Annette Kellerman.