Three superb actresses Lupe Velez, Delores Del Rio and Katie Jurado all had one thing in common. They were Mexican.
That was really about all they had in common even though they would be labelled with the same ‘Latino’ brand and generally given roles which were appropriate to their dark smouldering looks. The three were actually from very different backgrounds, their acting styles varied greatly and each had their own unique destiny to full fill.
Lupe Velez’s family moved to California when she was still a girl and, after some thetrical training, Lupe began a career in Vaudeville. Her first big film was in ‘Wolf Song’ 1929 with Garry Cooper. She and Cooper began a torrid affair and her career went from strength to strength with films like ‘Strictly Dynamite’ and ‘Hollywood Party’. Velez was unpredictable and apparently had quite a temper. She attacked Cooper with a knife at a party and when he tried to leave her she tried to shoot him as he boarded the train. She was wonderful at doing impersonations of other film stars at parties and used to love lifting her skirt under which she wore no underwear. More famous for her personal life than for her films she married Johnny Weissmuller of Tarzan fame and after their divorce had an affair with a Hollywood film maker to whom she fell pregnant. When he refused to marry her Velez committed suicide in 1944.
Delores Del Rio was , by all accounts, a lady. She was charming, well bred and elegant. She had married into the Mexican aristocracy and was the first lady of Mexican society. Her first big Hollywood film was ‘What Price Glory’ which made her an instant star. Her first marriage failed soon after Hollywood success and she was pursued by producer Edwin Carawe. Because she would not encourage his advances a film she was to make titled ‘ Resurrection’ was given to Lupe Velez. In the 1930s she married Cedric Gibbons with who she used to give fabulous house parties. During this period she made ‘Flying Down To Rio’ with Fred Astaire and ‘Madame Du Barry Was A Lady’. She was probably most famous for ‘Bird Of Paradise’ with Joel McCrea in 1932 and ‘Journey Into Fear’ with Joseph Cotton. Del Rio returned to Mexico in the mid 40s ,after an affair with Orson Welles, where she starred in many Mexican films and in the 1950s was to star in a film called ‘Broken Lance’ but was branded a communist. The role was given to Katy Jurado. In 1949 she had begun dating millionaire Lewis Riley and they married in 1959. She would make a few more Hollywood films and appear in various T.V. series before retiring.
Katy Jurado was considered beautiful in Mexico. She was a strong and sensual presence in film and often portrayed a wisdom far beyond her years. Marlon Brando was amongst those smitten with her. She had an economically stable childhood but had not dreamed of becoming an actress. She had, actually , studied to become a lawyer. Jurado made many films in Mexico before, apparently, being spotted by John Wayne at a bull fight. In 1951 she starred in ‘High Noon’ with Garry Cooper and Grace Kelly and in 1954 was nominated for an academy award for the film ‘Broken Lance’ in which she had replaced Delores Del Rio. She was a serious actress mostly well known for westerns. Married to Ernest Borgnine for many years life was stable until he became overly possesive and jealous. She died at the age of seventy eight from heart disease
These three well revered actresses did Mexico proud and in today’s world would be considered intelligent, resourceful,hard working women who have every right to call America home. So there Mr Donald Trump.