Spanish Diva Sara Montiel Dies

Spanish actress Sara Montiel (pictured) who was a popular actress in Mexican cinema and was the first Spanish actress to become a Hollywood star, died today at the age of 85 in Madrid.

Born Maria Antonia Abad in 1928, got her first role in film in the 1944 production Te quiero para mi which lead to a three-decade long film career where she featured in almost 50 films in Spain, Mexico and the United States.

After some films successes in Spain, Montiel was invited to Mexico to star in the film Furia roja in 1950 with Arturo de Córdova and Carlos López Moctezuma. What was supposed to be brief stay in the country, ended up being a six-year period in Mexico in which she made more than a dozen films.

Her more popular Mexican films were the ones she co-starred with idol actor Pedro Infante: Necesito dinero, Ahí viene Martín Corona and El enamorado (the three of them released 1952). It is during these years that Sara Montiel got the Mexican nationality.

In 1954, she rose to international fame when she got invited to act in the Hollywood western film Vera Cruz starring Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster and directed by Robert Aldrich.  She followed up with the musical Serenade starring Mario Lanza, Joan Fontaine, and Vincent Price, directed by Anthony Mann, with whom she married shortly after.

She returned to Spain where she made two of her most popular films El último cuplé / The Last Torch Song (1957) and La Violetera / The Violet Seller (1958), which became two of the highest grossing movies in Spanish cinema history. By the mid-seventies she had given up her film career and fully dedicated herself to music.

In Pedro Almodóvar’s 2004 film La mala educación / The Bad Education, Mexican actor Gael García Bernal plays three roles include that of a transsexual who sings Montiel’s popular song Quizás, Quizás, Quizás.