Lupe Velez was born on July 18, 1908, in San Luis 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 salesgirl 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 she kept a little for herself so she could take dancing lessons. With her mature shape and grand personality, she thought she could make a try at show business, which she figured was a lot more glamorous than dancing or working as a salesclerk. In 1924 Lupe started her show business 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 then 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 that she was better known for her stormy love affairs. She married one of her lovers, Johnny Weissmuller, but the marriage 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 jump-starting her career. She gained her best reviews yet in the Mexican version of Naná (1944). Bolstered by the success of that movie, Lupe returned to the US, where she starred in her final film as Pepita Zorita, 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.