|Deathplace:||Newport Beach, California, |
|Birthname:||Maria de los Dolores Asúnsolo y López Negrete|
Dolores del Río (August 3, 1905 - April 11, 1983) was a Mexican film actress. She was a star of Hollywood films during the silent era and in the Golden Age of Hollywood. She became an important actress in Mexican films later in her life.
Born María de los Dolores Asúnsolo y López Negrete in Durango, Mexico, del Río was the second cousin of actor Ramón Novarro and the actress Andrea Palma (Actress). She was born into an Mexican family of Spanish-Basque descent. Her parents were Jesus Leonardo Asúnsolo Jacques, director of the Bank of Durango and Antonia Lopez-Negrete, members of the Porfiriato (explain) in Mexico. The family lost all its assets during the Mexican Revolution, and settled in Mexico City. A desire to restore her comfortable lifestyle inspired Dolores to follow a career as an actress.
Dolores studied at a French college in Mexico City. From childhood she had shown a great passion for dancing, and was a fan of the Russian dancer Anna Pavlova. She would dance for gatherings of rich Mexicans, and at one of these dances, she met Jaime Martinez del Rio, a representative of one of Mexico's most important families of the age. Despite being 18 years older than her, Jaime and Dolores fell in love. In 1921, at the age of 16, she married him. The couple spent three years in Europe. In 1924, they returned to Jaime's ranch in Durango. Dolores and Jaime moved to Mexico City, where Dolores was discovered by movie producer Edwin Carewe at a soireè organized by Adolfo Best Maugard in Salvador Novo's house. Struck by the beauty of Dolores, Carewe gave the couple work in Hollywood, she as an actress and he as a screenwriter.
With the surname of her husband, Dolores would make her debut in the movie "Joanna", directed by Carewe in 1925. Hollywood first noticed her appeal as a sex siren, but she struggled against the "Mexicali Rose" image initially pitched to her by Hollywood executives. Despite her brief appearance, Carewe performed an exhaustive publicity for the actress. In her second film High Steppers, Dolores took the second female credit after Mary Astor. His films were not blockbusters, but helped increase the popularity of Dolores. Carewe's true intentions was transforming Dolores into a female version of Rudolph Valentino. In late 1926, director Raoul Walsh called Dolores to give her a role of the movie What Price Glory. With the character of Charmaine, Dolores achieved her desired success. Later, she was selected as one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars in 1926 (along with fellow newcomers Joan Crawford, Fay Wray, Janet Gaynor, and Mary Astor). She came to be admired as one of the most beautiful women on screen. After she gained fame, Carewe produced Resurrection, which was a box office hit.
In 1927, Raoul Walsh called Dolores for the second version of Carmen (the first was with Theda Bara). The Dolores's career flourished until the end of the silent era, with successful films such as Ramona (1928), and Evangeline (1929). But while Dolores's career was flourishing, his marriage with Del Rio declined. Jealous of his wife , Jaime moved to Germany, where he committed suicide in 1929. With the arrival of the talkies, Dolores forced a painful leaving of the custody of Carewe, who made several charges against her. With the support of United Artists, Dolores manages to escape the harassment of Carewe and debuted in the talkies with The Bad One in 1930.
In 1930, she married Cedric Gibbons, one of MGM's leading art directors and production designers, whom she met at a party organized by the businessman William Randolph Hearst and his lover, the actress Marion Davies in the fortress of Saint-Simeon. With the advent of talkies, she was usually relegated to exotic and unimportant roles. Carewe tried revenge on her in 1931 with a new version of Resurrection starring by Lupe Velez. Dolores scored successes with Bird of Paradise (1932, directed by King Vidor) (the film scandalized audiences when she turned out swimming stark naked with Joel McCrea), Flying Down to Rio (the film that launched the careers of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers) (1933) and Madame DuBarry (1934), Wonder Bar (1934) and the Busby Berkeley comedies In Caliente (1935) and I live for love (1935).
In the late thirties, Dolores's career declined. With the support of Warner Bros. she made a series of police films (such as Lancer Spy in 1937 and International Settlemen). She was marked as "box office poison", along with some comrades like Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, Katharine Hepburn and others.
In 1940, Dolores met Orson Welles, who at that time was up & coming in Hollywood. Feeling a mutual attraction, the pair began a romance. Welles fell madly in love with her, although he was 10 years younger. The affair was reported to have been the cause of her divorce from Gibbons in 1941. Dolores was with Welles for two years, during he which left his career. She was at his side during the filming of Citizen Kane, and during the attacks of Randolph Hearst against him. She collaborated with Welles in the film Journey into Fear in 1942. After the breaking of Welles with RKO, Dolores sympathized with him, though her character (a sexy leopard-woman) in the film, was reduced.
Since the late thirties, Dolores was sought on several occasions by the Mexican film directors. She was friends with noted Mexican artists, such as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, and maintained ties with Mexican society and cinema. After breaking off her relationship with Orson Welles in 1943, Dolores decided to try her luck in Mexico, disappointed by the "american star system". She was soon approached by director Emilio Fernández, and she began making Spanish-language films that brought her great success in Mexico and Hispanic America over the next twenty years. The production group Del Rio-Fernandez, together with the cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa and the actor Pedro Armendariz had international fame. Among her most successful films were Flor Silvestre (1942), Maria Candelaria (1943, winner at the Cannes Film Festival), Las Abandonadas (1944), Bugambilia (1945), The Fugitive (1947, directed by John Ford), and La Malquerida (1949). The Cinema of México found in Dolores a perfect representation of the Mexican female face around the world.
Over her contract with Films Mundiales in 1945, Dolores was given the opportunity to work with almost the best film directors in Mexico. Other important Mexican movies include La Selva de Fuego (1945), La Otra (1946), Doña Perfecta (1951), El Niño y la Niebla (1953), and others. In 1947 she filmed in Argentina a version of the Oscar Wilde's Lady Windermere`s Fan. In 1954, the Cinema of Spain called Dolores to film Señora Ama under the direction of Julio Bracho. In 1959, she married theatrical American businessman Lewis "Lou" Riley (a former member of the Hollywood Canteen), who she met in Acapulco ten years before.
In 1959, the director Ismael Rodriguez achieved the impossible: bring to Dolores del Rio and María Félix together in one film La Cucaracha . The two Divas of the Mexican Cinema are really close friends.
In 1954 the 20th Century Fox called Dolores to participate in the film Broken Lance. Unfortunately, the U.S. government denied her permission to work in the USA, accusing her of being a sympathizer of international communism. Despite all her influences, Dolores did not get permission, and the film was made by Katy Jurado. Probably her friendship with Diego Rivera and Charles Chaplin, and her romance with Welles was what led to Dolores to become one of the victims of the McCarthyism. Dolores' situation in the U.S. was fixed in 1956 when the actress was able to return to America to perform in the theater production of Anastacia with Lilli Darvas.
In 1960 Dolores returned to Hollywood. She starred with Elvis Presley in Flaming Star directed by Don Siegel. In this season of her career, Dolores alternated between films in Mexico and the USA, with television and theater. In 1961, before returning to Hollywood, she worked in Mexico with the Argentinan diva Libertad Lamarque.
In 1964, she appeared in Cheyenne Autumn directed by John Ford, with a cast that included Richard Widmark, Carroll Baker, James Stewart, Gilbert Roland and Ricardo Montalbán. In 1967, she performed for the first time in Italy, under the direction of Francesco Rossi and with Sophia Loren and Omar Shariff in the film More than a Miracle.
From the 1950s until the 1960s, she starred in theater classics like Anastacia (1956), Lady Windermere's Fan (1958) and Lady of the Camilles (1968), with great success in Mexico, Latin America and Europe. She also participated in some American TV series, acting with figures like Buster Keaton, Cesar Romero, Bill Cosby and others. Del Rio's last movie was The Children of Sanchez, alongside Anthony Quinn and Bette Davis.
During the seventies, Dolores became involved in union affairs of the actors of her native country and was the founder of the group known as "Rosa Mexicano". In 1974, she was the founder of the Estancia Infantil of the Asociacion Nacional de Actores in Mexico. Despite the passage of years, Dolores continued until the end to present an image of an educated lady, elegant and sophisticated, that despite her age still remained pleasant and desirable in the eyes of the public.
She was cremated and her ashes were interred in the Panteón de Dolores cemetery in Mexico City, Mexico. In 2005, on the centenary of her birth, her remains were moved to the Rotonda de las Personas Ilustres of Mexico City.
When she first achieved stardom, the press dubbed Del Rio the female counterpart of Rudolph Valentino.
She was considered by Marlene Dietrich "The most beautiful woman in Hollywood".
She was the first female latin american actress to achieve fame in Hollywood.