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Lupe Velez Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (2) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (8) | Personal Quotes (2) | Salary (1)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 18 July 1908San Luis Potosi, Mexico
Date of Death 13 December 1944Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA  (suicide)
Birth NameMaría Guadalupe Vélez de Villalobos
Nickname Mexican Spitfire
Height 5' (1.52 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Lupe Velez was born on July 18, 1908, in San Luis de Potosi, Mexico, as Maria Guadalupe Villalobos Velez. She was sent to Texas at the age of 13 to live in a convent. She later admitted that she wasn't much of a student because she was so rambunctious. She had planned to become a champion roller-skater but that would change. Life was hard for her family, and Lupe returned to Mexico to help them out financially. She worked as a sales girl for a department store for the princely sum of $4 a week. Every week she would turn most of her salary over to her mother, but kept a little for herself so she could take dancing lessons. By now, she figured, with her mature shape and grand personality, she thought she could make a try at show business, and it was a lot more glamorous than dancing or being a sales clerk. In 1924 Lupe started that career on the Mexican stage and wowed audiences with her natural beauty and talent. By 1927 she had emigrated to Hollywood, where she was discovered by Hal Roach, who cast her in a comedy with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Douglas Fairbanks cast her in his feature film, The Gaucho (1927), with himself and wife Mary Pickford. Lupe played dramatic roles for five years before she switched to comedy. In 1933 she played the lead role of Pepper in Hot Pepper (1933). This film showcased her comedic talents and helped her to show the world her vital personality. She was delightful. In 1934 Lupe appeared in three fine comedies: Strictly Dynamite (1934), Palooka (1934) and Laughing Boy (1934). By now her popularity was such that a series of "Mexican Spitfire" films were written around her. She portrayed Carmelita Lindsay in Mexican Spitfire (1940), Mexican Spitfire Out West (1940), The Mexican Spitfire's Baby (1941) and Mexican Spitfire's Blessed Event (1943), among others. Audiences loved her in these madcap adventures but it seemed, at times, she was better known for her stormy love affairs. She married one of her lovers, Johnny Weissmuller, but that only lasted five years and was filled with battles. Lupe certainly did live up to her nickname. She had a failed romance with Gary Cooper, who never wanted to wed her. By 1943 her career was waning. She went to Mexico in the hopes of giving herself a jump start. She gained the best reviews yet in the Mexican version of Naná (1944). Bolstered by that movie, Lupe returned to the US where she starred in her final film as Pepita Zorita in Ladies' Day (1943). There were to be no others. On December 13, 1944, tired of yet another failed romance, with a part-time actor named Harald Maresch, and pregnant with his child, Lupe committed suicide with an overdose of Seconal. She was only 36 years old.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Denny Jackson

Together with Dolores del Rio, Ramon Novarro, Lupe Velez and José Mojica as among the few Mexican people who made history in the early years of Hollywood. Vélez career began in Mexico City, where she lived with her mother and sisters. In 1925, while working in a clothes store, Vélez caught the attention of three theatrical managers who were impressed by her beauty and grace. Her debut at Teatro Principal was a great success specially because hours before her first show she was forbidden to act on stage (she wasn't considered a "first-class" actress by then Mexican actor's guild). Bravely, Vélez took a seat in the auditorium and, after the curtain rose, she explained her situation to the public. This act gave her instant support and caused her delayed debut to be expected by all Mexico. After that, she was adored by everybody attending musical theater in the capital of Mexico. Her great success, combined with the rising careers of other latin people like Valentino, Del Río and Novarro, called the attention of Hollywood mogul Hal Roach who offered Vélez a contract to make movies. After two bit parts, she got the lead in Gaucho, The (1927) with Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. Her Hollywood career can be considered the most successful of all Mexican stars of that age. She hasn't any trouble in the transition from silents to talkies (her most memorable films are those from the the "Mexican spitfire" series of late 30's). On another hand, her love life was a disaster: she never recovered from her failed romance with Gary Cooper, who never wanted to marry her. She was married to Johnny Weissmuller, but they divorced after five years. Drugs and alcohol destroyed her life at 34. When she committed suicide she was pregnant by young actor Harald Maresch.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Maximiliano Maza <mmaza@campus.mty.itesm.mx>

Spouse (1)

Johnny Weissmuller (8 October 1933 - 1939) (divorced)

Trivia (8)

Lupe wanted to be remembered; that was her one wish. Since she was not being remembered by her films, she decided to be remembered by her suicide. She had everything planned; the pretty silk night gown, and make-up, the position. She knew that picture would make front cover news the next day.
She was pregnant at the time of her death, and in her suicide note named Austrian actor Harald Maresch as the father.
The most popular Italian crossword weekly magazine, "La Settimana Enigmistica", which typically features the picture of a star on its cover page puzzle, had Lupe Velez on its no. 1 issue back in the '30s.
She had one brother and two sisters. When she was a child, her father, a Mexican Army officer, died during a revolution, and she had to work for a living. Her mother was an opera singer (though some say, she was a prostitute), with whom she first saw what stage life was like.
Was best friends with Mrs. Jack Oakie and retired actress Estelle Taylor and, who was the last person to see her alive.
Velez' estate, valued at $125,000 and consisting mostly of her Rodeo House home, two cars, jewelry, and personal effects were left to her secretary Beulah Kinder with the remainder in trust for her mother, Mrs. Josephine Velez.
More than four-thousand people filed past her casket during her funeral.
Has a star on the Hollywood walk of Fame.

Personal Quotes (2)

The first time you buy a house you think how pretty it is and sign the check. The second time you look to see if the basement has termites. It's the same with men.
[on divorcing Johnny Weissmuller] Marriage - eet stinks.

Salary (1)

The Wolf Song (1929) $2,500 /week

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