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Lupe Velez Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (2)  | Spouse (1)  | Trade Mark (2)  | Trivia (20)  | Personal Quotes (10)  | Salary (1)

Overview (5)

Born in San Luis Potosí, San Luis Potosí, Mexico
Died in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA  (suicide)
Birth NameMaría Guadalupe Vélez de Villalobos
Nicknames Mexican Spitfire
Lupita
Height 5' (1.52 m)

Mini Bio (2)

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.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Denny Jackson

Together with Dolores del Rio, Ramon Novarro, and José Mojica, Lupe Velez was among the few Mexican people who made history in the early years of Hollywood. Vélez's career began in Mexico City, where she lived with her mother and sisters. In 1925, while working in a clothing 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, especially because hours before her first show she was forbidden to act on stage (she wasn't considered a "first-class" actress by the Mexican actors guild). Vélez bravely took a seat in the auditorium, and after the curtain rose she explained her situation to the public. This act of courage 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 actors, such as Valentino, Del Río and Novarro, drew the attention of Hollywood mogul Hal Roach, who offered Vélez a contract to make movies. After two bit parts, she got the lead in The Gaucho (1927) with Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. The start of her Hollywood career can be considered the most successful of all Mexican stars of that era. She had no trouble transitioning from silents to talkies (her most memorable films are those from the the "Mexican spitfire" series of the late '30s). On the other 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 by the age of 34. When she committed suicide at age 36, 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)

Trade Mark (2)

Vibrant personality
Luminous, vivacious brown eyes

Trivia (20)

Pregnant at the time of her death, in her suicide note she 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, who was an opera singer, first showed her what stage life was like.
Was best friends with Mrs. Jack Oakie and former silent movie star and Estelle Taylor, who was the last person to see her alive. Taylor co-starred with Velez in Where East Is East (1929); she played the mother of Velez's character.
Velez's estate, valued at $125,000 and consisting mostly of her Rodeo Drive home, two cars, jewelry, and personal effects, was left to her secretary, Beulah Kinder, with the remainder held in trust for her mother, Mrs. Josephine Velez.
More than four thousand people filed past her casket during her funeral.
Has a star (honoring her work in motion pictures) on the Hollywood Walk of Fame since 1960.
During her involvement with Gary Cooper, she acquired a parrot, which called her future husband, Johnny Weissmuller, "Gary". During one fight in which Lupe admitted to having lied about killing his dog, Weissmuller killed the parrot in retaliation and then left her for good. Weissmuller would recall years later the many times he had to "persuade" Lupe to return home from Cooper's house.
Was briefly engaged to western star Guinn "Big Boy" Williams. They were visiting close friend Errol Flynn when she broke the engagement off--by hitting Williams over the head with a framed photo of himself (which Flynn alleged she also later urinated on).
On August 14, 2018, she was honored with a day of her film work during the TCM Summer Under The Stars.
Not related to actress Luna Lauren Velez.
Wampas Baby Star of 1928.
Was chosen by Edwin Carewe to portray Katyusha Maslova in his sound remake of Lev Tolstoy's last novel: Resurrection (1931). She also starred in the Spanish-language version: Resurrección (1931). The part had previously been played by fellow Mexican actress Dolores del Rio in Resurrection (1927), a silent film directed by Carewe.
Her work in Lady of the Pavements (1929) was named one of the Best Performances of the Month in the February 1929 issue of Photoplay. She was the only cast member of the movie to receive the honor.
According to her Mexican birth certificate, she was born "Guadalupe Villalobos y Vélez" in the city of San Luis Potosí on 18 July 1909 at 2:30 a.m.
Daughter of Col. Jacobo Villalobos Reyes and Josefina Vélez Gómez, an opera singer. They married in 1901 in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico.
Paternal granddaughter of Jacobo Villalobos Cuadriello, a lawyer, and Luisa Reyes Manrique. They married in 1875 in San Luis Potosí, Mexico.
Maternal granddaughter of Silverio María Vélez Suárez, a printer, and his wife Carmen Gómez Galaviz. They married in 1881 in San Luis Potosí, Mexico.
Paternal great-granddaughter of Mariano Villalobos Aguiar, a lawyer, and his wife Inés Cuadriello Proa.
The inscription on her tomb reads: "Lupita, rest in peace. You will live in everyone's heart. We, your mother, siblings, and nephews and nieces remember you with affection" ("Lupita, descansa en paz. Vivirás en el corazón de todos. Recordándote con cariño tu madre, hermanos y sobrinos").

Personal Quotes (10)

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 - it stinks.
One English word I never learn - "can't." I can do anything - not so very good, but I do it - swim, ride, act, anything. Anything except show my feet. Those are ugly. Bare feet I stop at. Nothing else.
[1927] I will never fail. If one will not be beaten there is always a way to success. I am so happy. I make my whole family happy - my mother, my brother, my sister, my six Chihuahua dogs.
If I fail at one thing I have no time to cry. I'll try something else.
[on Resurrection (1931)] I've never cared for any part I've had before. Not even that wild one I played with Doug Fairbanks in The Gaucho (1927). Those other parts were easy. They didn't affect me. I was myself. Now, I'm Maslova. I'm suffering terrific agony. I've been hurting inside for weeks. And yet, with all the hurt, I love what I'm doing.
At fourteen I went to work. I was a shop-girl. My father, a colonel in the Mexican army, was killed during a revolution. My mother was an obscure opera singer. There were three sisters and a brother. We lived in a small town, San Luis Potosí, two days' travel from Mexico City. One day I shook the dust of that little town from my feet, turned toward Mexico City, and said: "Here I am, world. You've got to like me."
[on playing the role of Katyusha in Resurrection (1931), a sound remake of an earlier silent version] I was frightened. I thought the part was too big for me. I thought of Dolores [Dolores del Rio] and came to the conclusion that I couldn't possibly achieve the heights she had reached [in Resurrection (1927)]. I thought I would be an anti-climax.
[describing her first stage appearance in Mexico City] I was so afraid that I shook all over. I was so scared that I did the shimmy better than I have ever done it. I shake all over. I shake my arms and my legs and my hands. And then all stood up and shouted and shouted and yelled my name and threw things - money and flowers - on the stage. I forgot the words of the song. It was "Charlie, My Boy." Charlie, my boy, oh, Charlie my boy, la da da, oh, Charlie, my boy! But they didn't know the words and they didn't know I forget and they scream and clap and I danced and sang again and again and again.
Mother, she pray, and I pray, and we pray all the time, and we stay awake all night, and the next day I hear I am the one [to play the Mountain Girl in The Gaucho (1927)]. I love Hollywood. I want to stay here all my life!

Salary (1)

The Wolf Song (1929) $2,500 /week

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