Madison, Helene (1913–1970)

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Madison, Helene (1913–1970)

American swimmer . Born on June 19, 1913, in Madison, Wisconsin; died of cancer on November 27, 1970; married and divorced three times; first husband Art Jarrett (a band leader); second husband Billy Rose (a theatrical producer).

Selected championships and honors: named Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year (1931); won an individual gold medal in the 100 meters, a gold medal in the 400 meters, a team gold medal in the 4×100m free-style relay, all at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles

(1932); named to International Swimming Hall of Fame; named to U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

Called the queen of the waters, 6' free-styler Helene Madison was in a class by herself. In 1930, at age 17, she held 26 world free-style records in distances from 50 yards to one mile, and between 1930 and 1932, she won 14 world free-style championships at a variety of distances. At the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Madison won two individual gold medals, and a third gold as part of the world-record-setting relay team. An attractive, shapely blonde, the swimmer also had a brief career in show business, initially as a singer in her first husband's (Art Jarrett) band, and then as a star in the New York World's Fair Aquacade, produced by her second husband, Billy Rose (who also married swimmer Eleanor Holm ). In 1938, Madison ventured to Hollywood, playing Jane opposite Glenn Morris' Tarzan in Tarzan's Revenge. The actress was married and divorced three times. She died of cancer in 1970, at age 57.