Transcript for Esther Williams Dead at 91
And we have a passing to note tonight. Esther williams, a certified movie legend, and you can still see her splashing in those old movies on the cable channel. But something else she chiefed ripples across the decades. This hollywood store who put on sequins and swam like a torpedo. Don't be fooled by the lipstick, she was secretly one of the nation's top athlete. Diving 50 feet, and landing with precisi precision. Swimming under water over and over until he got it just right. We went to see her in 2007. ♪ when I hear that music, I'm back in the pool. She laughed about hollywood and the secret of that perfect hair and mascara. It's fascinating. They would see me in the morning, and they would say, here she comes. Dipping their hands. Dipping their hand in. Esther jane williams was eight years old when she learned how to swim and qualified for the olympics in 1940, but they got canceled because of the war. For an entire decade, she reigned as one of the biggest stars. Even though that 50-foot dive put her in a body cast, cracking her vertebrae as she hit the water. In this scene, she got trapped in the slam shell, unable to breathe when it wouldn't open. I said time for me to go, and I opened that clam shell, and i swam out. She was also one of the first stars to turn a trademark, those bathing suits, into a business. In part because of pressure from her, synchronized swimming became an olympic sport. She knew strength and daring when she saw it. And one of those little girls was a little girl in louisville, kentucky, who remembers being inspired by her, and thank you, miss williams, for our day at the pool.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.