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Armando Calvo Poster

Biography

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Overview (3)

Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Died in Mexico City, Mexico  (heart failure)
Birth NameArmando Pascual Calvo Lespier

Mini Bio (2)

Spanish actor (although reportedly born in Puerto Rico) who relocated to Mexico in 1946 and became a popular leading man opposite stars like María Félix, María Antonieta Pons, and Gloria Marín. Calvo, the son of well-known Spanish actor Juan Calvo, began working on the stage at the age of 5. His Spanish film debut came in 1934, and in late 1945 he was hired by Mexico producer Gregorio Walerstein to appear with María Félix in La mujer de todos (1946). During the 1960s, Calvo returned to work in the Spanish film industry, but came back to Mexico in the 1970s, where he was a TV and stage regular and made occasional film appearances. During the last few years of his life, Calvo was something of a recluse, living in straitened circumstances in a Mexico City hotel and spending his time writing and painting. He suffered from emphysema and kidney trouble, and died of heart failure in July 1996.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Armando Calvo's mother was Minerva Lespier De Calvo, the wife of Juan Calvo, Armando's father. Hence, Armando's surnames in Spanish are "Calvo Lespier."

Juan Calvo met Minerva Lespier in Puerto Rico, where he performed as a baritone in Spanish operettas (zarzuelas). Minerva, who was about 16 when they married, gave birth to Armando in San Juan, Puerto Rico, at midnight on December 24, 1919.

Minerva was fond of recounting how, prior to Armando's birth, while on their honeymoon, she had accompanied Juan and the theatrical troupe of Venezuelans Jesus Izquierdo and Vicente Pellicer that Juan belonged to at the time, around South America, crossing the Andes by mule and having many novel experiences in Venezuela, Columbia, Panama, etc.

Two months after Armando's birth in Puerto Rico, the Calvo-Lespier family sailed to Cadiz, proceeding from that port on to Madrid. During that two-month interval "Armandito," a babe in arms, made his theatrical debut in a police comedy/drama in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. Shortly thereafter, at five months of age he appeared again on stage, this time in Madrid in the arms of a wet nurse in "Lecciones De Buen Amor." The family moved shortly after that to the coastal town of Alicante. Don Juan played in various theaters in that region. Armando's younger brother was born in Arenas De Mar, up the coast from Barcelona where Juan was performing at the time.

Armando played small theatrical roles while studying at the "Liceo Frances" in Alicante. The family relocated eleven years later to Madrid, where Armando attended the Colegio Hispano-Americano, pursuing his studies in singing and painting at the Conservatorio there, still doing theatrical parts while attempting to break into the movies. As the Spanish Civil War broke out, Armando, then sixteen, was filming exteriors near Jerez, far from home, while his father was directing a film in Cordoba. Subsequently, Don Juan worked his way through the fighting zone to Jerez where he joined Armando and the two proceeded to Seville where they headquartered until the end of the war. Minerva and Armando's younger brother Manolo remained in Madrid, separated from the other half of the family until the war ended when Armando and his father could finally reunite with them in the capitol.

There Armando's career really took off. As a young movie "galan," Armando went from success to success, finally starring in Pedro De Alarcon's "El Escándalo," which toured the Latin-speaking world with resounding acclaim. "El Escándalo" caught the eye of Mexican movie mogul, Gregorio Wallerstein, who promptly sent for Armando to star in a movie he was producing in Mexico. The whole family translated itself forthwith to Mexico City.

Juan's heart was unable to withstand the rigors of living at such a high altitude, and after a furious fight with Gregorio Wallerstein over the future of Armando's acting career in Mexico, Don Juan returned to Spain and lived on Cardinal Cisneros Street in Madrid until his death decades later. (Juan Calvo won the Palm d'Or at the Cannes film festival during that time for his actuation as the wise and jovial cook in "Marcelino, Pan y Vino.")

Armando occasionally returned to Spain to film, but principally playing roles in Mexican movies and TV. He starred in many TV dramas after Emilio Azcarraga opened Televicentro and appointed Armando's friend Luis de Llano to be manager of Channel 5. There was no teleprompter back in those days. And TV actors memorized their speaking lines just as they would in theater, which made for some pretty laughable moments at times - laughable for the audience, but not for the actors. There was one weekly one-hour show called "Teatro Bon Soir" (after the sponsoring firm, Bon Soir Perfumes) that required Armando, who played the lead in its dramas, to memorize a one-hour script every week. The whole family participated in cueing him as he went about learning his lines. The show was quite successful, but arduous for them all.

Later, Televicentro introduced prompters who spoke off-camera into a microphone that relayed the actors' lines through an earpiece attached to a wire that ran down the actor's back to a piece of equipment taped to the actor's waist. Occasionally, the batteries in this equipment would overheat and/or blow up, causing startled, out-of-context expressions to suddenly appear on an actor's face, especially disconcerting if the actor happened to be in close-up.

Minerva Lespier's father was of French origin, and was a renowned journalist in San Juan who married numerous times and had many children (between 30 and 40 of them, Minerva being one of the older daughters). He eventually died at the age of 109, not from old age, but from burns received when he passed out on his bed after drinking too much medically-proscribed rum (which he surreptitiously drank, disguising the rum by mixing it with Coca-Cola) even as he was smoking an equally forbidden cigar, which fell from his numb fingers setting him and his bed ablaze. Armando and Manolo enjoyed telling how their maternal grandfather had died, not of old age but accidentally at age 109.

While filming in Spain, Armando met his first wife, a young Swiss-Italian woman by the name of Maria Teresa Frigos Mosca. The daughter of a Russian father and Italian mother, "Terry" had been born in Switzerland, but reared in Rome during WWII. Married in Madrid, Armando brought his bride to Mexico City, but they divorced after about a year when she adamantly refused to bear him children. She eventually married a man named Pinto and stayed on in Mexico, returning to the continent for a yearly vacation in Switzerland from her home in the exclusive gated community of The Pedregal in Mexico City. She spoke German, Italian and Spanish; was quite beautiful - sort of a cross between Greta Garbo and Brigette Bardot; never bore children and was great friends with a number of then-powerful Mexicans figures such as multi-millionaire Melchor Perresquia ("the king-maker") and then-President of Mexico Miguel Aleman, sailing about on their yacht, La Costa Grande, when she vacationed in Acapulco.

Armando returned to Spain to film another movie shortly after their divorce and met a young German woman named Ursula. Again, he married in Madrid and brought his bride back to Mexico City where, this time, the marriage produced his first child (a boy). They returned to Madrid shortly after the child's birth and established their permanent residence in Madrid, where the couple's other sons were born.

Armando spent the rest of his life commuting back and forth between movie-making in Spain and the movie and TV industries in Mexico City, while Ursula stayed on in Madrid caring for his home and children.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Martha Kirk Brodie Forrest de Calvo Soeldner

Spouse (2)

Ursula (1961 - ?) (9 children)
Maria Teresa Frigos Mosca (1958 - 1960) (divorced)

Trivia (2)

Son of actor Juan Calvo
Armando sometimes appeared in film with his father Juan Calvo (Juan Domènech), like in "El Escándalo", "Espronceda" and "Los Últimos de Filipinas". Armando played the lead and Juan secondary roles. Armando and his brother Manolo made several movies together in Mexico, as "La Casa de la Troya", "Abismos de Amor", "La Vorágine" and "Acapulco".

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