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Elena Verdugo Poster

Biography

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Overview (2)

Date of Birth 20 April 1925Hollywood, California, USA
Birth NameElena Angela Verdugo

Mini Bio (1)

Most baby-boomers remember actress Elena Verdugo from her pleasant, plain but rather dowdy Emmy-nominated role as "Consuelo Lopez", the altruistic assistant and sometime aide-de-camp to Robert Young's general practitioner for several seasons on the popular Marcus Welby, M.D. (1969) dramatic series. However, decades before donning her drab white nurse's hat, she was an alluring 40s Universal player who displayed her best assets in their "B" adventure yarns and horror opuses. One who was probably wise to keep a set of hoop earrings nearby at all times, Elena reliably hauled out a reliable number of gypsies, harem dancers, peasant girls, Indian maidens and senoritas over the years before TV instigated the second stretch of her career.

Elena was born April 20, 1925, in Paso Robles, California of Spanish parentage, and began putting on dance shoes as a kindergartener. At age 6, she made her movie debut in the western Cavalier of the West (1931) starring Harry Carey, but didn't come back to films until her teen years. She nominally provided exotic footwork for such movies as Down Argentine Way (1940) with Betty Grable and Carmen Miranda, the Tyrone Power starrer Blood and Sand (1941), and the war picture To the Shores of Tripoli (1942), among others. She received her first big break featured as the object of desire of George Sanders's impressionist painter Paul Gauguin in The Moon and Sixpence (1942).

Universal used her consistently in the mid- to late-40s, starting her off as the touching and vulnerable gypsy girl "Ilonka" in the multiple monster bash House of Frankenstein (1944) which featured the holy horror trinity of Dracula, the Werewolf and Frankenstein's Monster. A natural blonde who got plenty of wear out of the dark wigs handed to her for these kinds of roles, her best scenes in the movie were with the doomed lycanthropic "Larry Talbot", played by Lon Chaney Jr.. She went on to appear with Chaney again in The Frozen Ghost (1945). While filming the Abbott and Costello comedy Little Giant (1946), she met and married movie writer Charles R. Marion, who also wrote for the comedy duo's radio show. The couple had one son, Richard Marion, who later became an actor/director in his own right. A real trooper despite her stereotype, Elena forged on in nothing-special "easterns" (i.e., Song of Scheherazade (1947); Thief of Damascus (1952)) and westerns (i.e., El Dorado Pass (1948); The Big Sombrero (1949)) playing whatever ethnic the script called for.

Television became a reality in the early 1950s. She found herself in a major sitcom hit playing a Brooklyn-born secretary for four seasons on Meet Millie (1952), initially replacing Audrey Totter in the lead role on radio. Elena retired for a time after this but eventually returned to perform on the occasional musical stage and on the small screen. After her big success as the nurse/receptionist on the "Welby" series, she slowed down considerably, but she and Young did reunite on The Return of Marcus Welby, M.D. (1984), sans the other series' star, James Brolin, a decade later. Verdugo, who later married Charles Rockwell after her divorce from writer Marion, has since appeared occasionally at nostalgia-based film/TV conventions. In 1999, she suffered the loss of her only child to a heart attack. He was only 50.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (2)

Charles R. Rosewall (26 March 1972 - 20 March 2012) (his death)
Charles R. Marion (1946 - 1955) (divorced) (1 child)

Trivia (10)

Mother of actor/director Richard Marion.
Briefly in films as a child, she was stereotyped early in her career as an ethnic dancer, playing harem beauties, island girls, senoritas, and Indian maidens.
Sang briefly with Xavier Cugat's band in the early 40s and recorded the song "Tico-Tico".
Universal Studios, who hired her quite frequently, would not sign her to a studio contact because she refused their request that she lose weight.
When she married writer Charles R. Marion in 1946, actor Jack Oakie served as best man.
In July 2005, she appeared as a guest at the Western Film Fair in Charlotte, North Carolina along with Ty Hardin, Ed Nelson, Donna Douglas, Jo Morrow, Richard Anderson, Lorna Gray (aka Adrian Booth) and Henry Darrow.
Mother-in-law of Ruth Silveira.
Grandmother of Jessie S. Marion and Maggie Marion.
Grandmother-in-law of Dean Cameron.
Her last name Verdugo is Spanish for "executioner".

Personal Quotes (1)

I might have gone further with my career but I have no regrets.

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