Thursday, November 11, 2010

lupe velez

Lupe Vélez (July 18, 1908 – December 13, 1944) was a Mexican film actress. Vélez began her career in Mexico as a dancer, before moving to the U.S. where she worked in vaudeville. She was seen by Fanny Brice who promoted her, and Vélez soon entered films, making her first appearance in 1924. By the end of the decade she had progressed to leading roles. With the advent of talking pictures Vélez acted in comedies, but she became disappointed with her film career, and moved to New Yorkwhere she worked in Broadway productions.
Returning to Hollywood in 1939, she made a series of comedies. She also made some films in Mexico. Vélez's personal life was often difficult; a five year marriage toJohnny Weissmuller and a series of romances, were highly publicized. She is often associated with the nicknames "The Mexican Spitfire" and "The Hot Pepper"

Vélez's first feature-length film was The Gaucho (1927) starring Douglas Fairbanks. The next year, she was named one of theWAMPAS Baby Stars, the young starlets deemed to be most promising for movie stardom. Most of her early films cast her in exotic or ethnic roles (Hispanic, Native American, French, Russian, even Asian).
She worked under the direction of notable film directors like Victor Fleming in The Wolf Song (1929) opposite Gary CooperD.W Griffith in Lady of the Pavements (1928); Tod Browning in Where East is East opposite Lon Chaney and Cecil B. de Mille in The Squaw Man in 1931. By the end of the silent era the sparkling personality of Lupe rivalled that of the Flapper GirlClara Bow.
Within a few years Vélez found her niche in comedies, playing beautiful but volatile foils to comedy stars. Her slapstick battle with Laurel and Hardy in Hollywood Party and her dynamic presence opposite Jimmy Durante in Palooka (both 1934) are typically enthusiastic Vélez performances. She was featured in the final Wheeler & Woolseycomedy, High Flyers (1937), doing impersonations of Simone SimonDolores del Río, and Shirley Temple.
In 1934, Velez was one of the victims of the "open season" of the "reds" in Hollywood. With Dolores del RíoRamón Novarro and James Cagney, she was accused of promoting communism in California.
Vélez was now nearing 30 and hadn't yet become a major star. Disappointed, she left Hollywood for Broadway. In New York, she landed a role in You Never Know, a short-lived Cole Porter musical. After the run ofYou Never Know, Vélez looked for film work in other countries. Returning to Hollywood in 1939, she snared the lead in a B comedy for RKO Radio PicturesThe Girl from Mexico. She established such a rapport with co-star Leon Errol that RKO made a quick sequel, Mexican Spitfire, which became a very popular series. Vélez perfected her comic character, indulging in broken-English malaprops, troublemaking ideas, and sudden fits of temper bursting into torrents of Spanish invective. She occasionally sang in these films, and often displayed a talent for hectic, visual comedy. Vélez enjoyed making these films and can be seen openly breaking up at Leon Errol's comic ad libs.

In the mid-1940s, she had a relationship with the young actor Harald Maresch, and became pregnant with his child. Vélez, following her Catholic upbringing, refused to have an abortion. Unable to face the shame of giving birth to an illegitimate child, she decided to take her own life. Her suicide note read, "To Harald: May God forgive you and forgive me, too; but I prefer to take my life away and our baby's, before I bring him with shame, or killing him. Lupe." She retired to bed after taking an overdose of sleeping pills.[3] According to newspaper accounts, her body was found by her secretary and companion of ten years, Beulah Kinder.
Andy Warhol's underground film, Lupe (1965), starring Edie Sedgwick as Lupe, is loosely based on this fateful night, suggesting that she was found with her head in the toilet due to nausea caused by the overdose. Another report says she tripped and fell head-first into the toilet, knocking herself unconscious and drowning. However, Kinder reports finding Vélez having died peacefully in her bed.
In a poll of Mexican filmgoers, actresses like Marquita Rivera and Amalia Aguilar were chosen to star in a Hollywood film based on the life of the actress. However, due to the controversy over Vélez's suicide at that time, the film was never produced.
There is skepticism surrounding whether it was simply the shame of bearing an illegitimate child that led Vélez to end her life. Throughout her life she showed signs of extreme emotion, mania and depression. Consequently, it has been suggested that Vélez suffered from bipolar disorder, which, left untreated, ultimately led to her suicide. Rosa Linda Fregoso writes that Vélez was known for her defiance of contemporary moral convention, and it seems unlikely that she could not have reconciled an "illegitimate child."
Lupe Vélez was encrypted at the Rotonda de las Personas Ilustres in México City.

source: wikipedia,


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