Maria Montez. Who is she you ask? I was first struck by her fair skin and raven haired beauty. A combination you don't see often-a combination which happens to be mine as well. Then when I found out she was Dominican, my jaw dropped. I knew of Olga San Juan and Rita Moreno being Puerto Rican and that was rare for the time to have actresses/pinups from that Spanish speaking country. But Dominican Republic is a place I had not known of any classic film actors to be from. So I was immediately intrigued and enthralled especially having grown up in a primarily Dominican neighborhood as a child and teenager.
Maria Montez with three of her sisters.
Maria was born Maria Antonia Garcia Vidal de Santo Sila on June 6th, 1912. Typically in Spanish cultures most people have a first and middle name along with their mother's maiden name and father's last name. I tell you if I can to go by my birth name I would have five names! Maria was one of ten children-a typical sized family for Caribbean people.
It is in the mid-1930's that Maria's father is appointed the Spanish consulship in Belfast, Ireland. Maria marries a wealthy Irishman named William G. McFeeters. While he was away with his military duties she would often escape to Paris or London for excitement. Not too long after she informs him while visiting New York that she will not return to Ireland as his wife. She then pursues an acting career.
Maria appeared in twenty-six films and was dubbed "The Queen of Technicolor". Her roles were that of a Latin seductress and she was always bejeweled. One of her most famous roles was in 1944 in a film called Cobra Woman.
"Cobra Woman" Trailer (1944)
Maria with his husband Jean-Pierre
and their daughter Tina-1946
In 1943 Maria married French actor Jean-Pierre Aumont and the story goes that they kissed 112 times during the ceremony. Unfortunately, the very next day he left for war. They were said to have been happily married and very much in love until her untimely death in 1951. It is said she had a heart attack while in her tub and drowned-she was only thirty-nine years old!
Maria's grave in Paris, France.
Maria left a legacy of beauty and fantasy/adventure films for us to enjoy all of these years later. She would have been 100 years old this June 6th-Feliz Cumpleanos Senora Montez!
PS I am sorry I am posting this now in June although she was meant to be the Pinup of the Month for May. May was so jam packing with things that I totally forgot. I hope you enjoyed it!!