Biographical Dictionary of Mexican Film Performers

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Aceves Castañeda, Luis (1913-1973): stocky Aguascalientes-born character actor with a demented grin, often cast in villainous roles, such as mad scientist "Dr. Krupp" in the "Aztec Mummy" series. He was also notable in "serious films," including five for director Luis Buñuel, such as Abismos de pasión ('54), and Subida al cielo (1952--for which he received an Ariel nomination as Best Male Co-Star). Won the Best Supporting Actor Ariel for Sentenciado a muerte ('50). Lost an eye while making a film in the early '60s. Castañeda was also a talented professional painter.

Aceves Mejía, Miguel (1916 or -'17?--): short, stolid ranchera singer--immediately identifiable by the white streak in his black hair, and his ability to change to a falsetto in the middle of a chorus--who had musical spots in films as early as 1947, and was elevated to second lead and leading-man status in the late 1950s and early 1960s, particularly in rancheras, Westerns and comedies like Viva Chihuahua! (where Aceves Mejía was born) and Camino de la horca (both 1961). Largely absent from the screen after the '60s, but he continues to work as a singer.

Acosta, Armando (1922 or '25?-76): rotund, moustached actor who can be seen in very minor roles as early as the 1940s. Continued to work in supporting roles through the 1970s, earning hundreds of credits playing bartenders, barbers, policemen, etc.

Acosta, Rodolfo (1920 or '21?-1974): mean-looking actor, born in Chihuahua (other sources say El Paso or El Chamizal, Sonora), usually typecast in slick, sinister roles, as in Salón México ('48). Made his film debut in '46. Over the years Acosta would balance his Mexican film work with appearances in Hollywood films and TV shows. He died in Los Angeles.

Adame, Alfredo: handsome, clean-cut actor of the 1980s-90s. Mostly popular in telenovelas, but has also made some film appearances.

Adriana, Beatriz: see "Beatriz Adriana" (in "B")

Agosti, Carlos (1922--): Spanish actor who, after a substantial screen career in his native country in the 1940s, relocated to Mexico in the '50s and amassed numerous credits well into the '80s, often playing crafty-looking villains. Well-known as the sinister vampire "Count Frankenhausen" in Invasión de los vampiros and El vampiro sangriento ('61). Agosti received an Ariel nomination as Best Supporting Actor for La escondida ('55).

Aguilar, Amalia [Amalia Rodríguez Carriera] (1924--): Cuban "rumbera" who came to Mexico in 1944; on-screen from the late '40s through the early '50s, mostly in comedies where her feisty but good-natured personality could be utilized to best advantage. Retired from performing in the late 1950s to get married; moved to Lima, Peru to raise a family. Came back to Mexico but did not resume performing until the mid-1970s. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Aguilar made guest appearances in several movies, including "Dame tu cuerpo."

Aguilar, Antonio (1919, '22 or '26?--): Antonio Aguilar was born in Villanueva, Zacatecas. After working on a ranch and studying in the United States, Aguilar returned to Mexico and began a singing career, getting his big break on the famous radio station XEW in 1950. Aguilar made numerous film appearances as a pop "crooner" (billed as "Tony" or "Toni" Aguilar) in light comedies of the early 1950s like Mi papá  tuvo la culpa (1952), then switched to Westerns with the "Mauricio Rosales, El Rayo" series, followed by a long string of rancheras. Aguilar was one of the most powerful figures in the entertainment industry from the 1960s through the 1980s and is practically a legend today, still touring with an elaborate musical spectacular that includes numerous performers and a LOT of horses. He produced many of his own films, alternating tales of the Mexican Revolution--including Emiliano Zapata (1970), at the time the most expensive Mexican film ever made--and comedy rancheras. Aguilar has the distinction of having portrayed both Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa, as well as other historical and legendary characters. Aguilar was at one time the husband of actress Otilia Larrañaga, and has been married to actress/singer Flor Silvestre (his frequent co-star) since the '60s. Aguilar's sons Antonio Jr. and José have both had film and recording careers, although their popularity does not approach that of their father.

Aguilar, Elizabeth [Hilda Elizabeth Aguilar] (1964?--): attractive brunette actress from the 1970s onward. The first "Mexican Playmate" (she appeared in the first issue of the Mexican edition of "Playboy" magazine).

Aguilar, Luis (1917 or '18? -1997): sturdy actor/singer, born in Hermosillo, Sonora. Brought to the screen by Raúl de Anda in 1943. Appeared most comfortable in Westerns and rancheras, but was occasionally cast in other genres. Moved into character leads in the late '60s, then was off-screen for a number of years before returning in character roles in the '80s. Appeared in over 150 films. Retired from singing in the mid-'80s, but continued to act in films and in telenovelas until his death, of a heart attack, in October 1997. Won an Ariel as Best Male Co-Star for his role in Los años de Greta (1991), and received a special award in 1996. His second wife was actress Rosario Gálvez.

Aguilar, Luz María (1935 or '37--): Chihuahua-born blonde with an overbite who became one of the more popular actresses of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Also active on television into the 1980s, including eight years with Sergio Corona on the sitcom "Hogar, dulce hogar." Won the Best Juvenile Performer Ariel for Con quién andan nuestras hijas? (1955).

Aguillón, Pedro de: comic actor, from radio and TV, who had supporting roles as harried and/or wise-cracking sidekicks, agents, and other functionaries from the late '40s on. Won the Best Supporting Actor Ariel for El inocente ('55), and was also nominated for Isla de mujeres ('52).

Aguirre, Alma Rosa (1929--): sister of Elsa Aguirre, on-screen from the late '40s. Usually played naive or spoiled young women. Only occasionally on screen after the '50s.

Aguirre, Beatriz [Beatriz Ofelia Aguirre Valdez] (1926--): Beatriz Aguirre, born in Coahuila, made her debut in 1944. Often cast as a sensitive, serious young woman, then moved into wife and mother parts. Continued in character roles into the 1990s; also on television. Won the Best Actress Ariel for Los años de Greta (1991).

Aguirre, Elsa [Elsa Irma Aguirre Juárez] (1930 or '31--): after making her debut (billed as Elsa Irma Aguirre) in El sexo fuerte in 1945, the smoldering beauty Elsa Aguirre--a native of Chihuahua-- almost instantly moved into leading roles. Continued to work on stage, on TV, and in films into the '90s. Her sister Alma Rosa Aguirre is also an actress.

Aguirre, Hilda [Hilda Leonor Aguirre Ontiveros] (1944, '48 or '49?--): Hilda Aguirre was born in Tabasco; she attended the ANDA acting school and made her professional debut in the mid-'60s. Specialized in ingenue roles in the late '60s and early '70s, then matured into supporting roles.

Aguirre, Rubén: character actor best known for his role as schoolteacher "Profesor Jirafales" (Professor Giraffe) on the TV show "El Chavo del 8," with Robert Gómez Bolaños, but who made a number of films in the '70s and '80s as well. Originally studied agronomy, then became a radio announcer and actor, as well as a TV host and bullfight journalist, before turning to acting.

Alba, Luis de: pudgy comedian, on-screen from the 1970s, first in support then starring in pictures like El apenitas ('78). Very popular in the late '80s and early '90s.

Alcaraz, Eduardo [Alfredo Vergara Morales] (1915-1987): Chilean-born, portly, balding, moustached character actor, mostly in comedies. Frequently cast as a pompous banker or businessman, but also had some good roles as snide butlers, in films like Escuela de vagabundos ('54).

Alcocer, Víctor (1917-1984) [Víctor Alcocer Gómez]: stocky character actor, born in Mérida (some sources cite Monterrey), distinguished by his excellent speaking voice (he was a former radio actor and announcer, and also dubbed films in New York). Usually cast as blustering villains, overbearing fathers, or corrupt politicians. On screen from the late '40s.

Aldama, Julio (1931-1989) [Julio Augurio Aguado Turrubiates]: Coahuila-born leading man and occasional singer (his original speciality), who dropped his medical studies to appear mostly in Westerns, rancheras, and other rural films, from the late 1950s. Never developed into a major star, and by the end of the '60s was playing mostly character roles and heavies. Started directing films in the '70s, and continued until his death. Nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Ariel for Tizoc ('56). His son, originally billed as Julio Augurio, is also an actor-singer.

Aldás, Luis [Luis Aldás Luzarreta] (1910 or '14?-1990): dignified-looking leading man, often in comedies like La pícara Susana (1944) with Mapy Cortés, but also competent in dramas. Made his Mexican screen debut in '38 after reportedly working as an extra in Hollywood; returned to his native Argentina several years later and appeared in a number of pictures. Returned to Mexican cinema in 1943, and worked into the early '70s, then retired.

Alemán, Julio (1933 or '35?--): all-purpose leading man and occasional singer, born in Morelia. Made his theatrical debut at the age of 21, and his first film in 1957 (El zarco). By the '60s he was working with stars like María Félix (Amor y sexo), as well as starring in numerous comedies, Westerns, and melodramas. Active in union and political matters, Alemán served as a deputy in the national assembly, and as secretary general of ANDA, the actors' union (from 1990-94). Won a "Diosa de Plata" (Silver Goddess, given by the Mexican film correspondents' association) for his role in El tunco Maclovio (1969).

Allende, Fernando [Fernando Allende Arenas] (1952 or '54?--): handsome young leading man who had the leading role opposite Taryn Power (Tyrone Power's daughter) in María (1971). Became extremely popular in films and telenovelas in the latter part of the decade, then made an attempt to crossover to Hollywood, where he has has done some work on TV, but made little impression in films. Also sings after a fashion. In the '90s returned to telenovela work, although not for Televisa, where he had had such success earlier.

Almada, Fernando [Fernando Almada Otero] (1929 or '31--): although he made his screen debut as an extra in 1935's Madre querida, Fernando Almada did not appear in another film until the early '60s. After dropping his plans for an engineering career, Almada attended the ANDA acting school. Briefly flirted with being a ranchera singer, but made his mark in Westerns in the late '60s, then became a major action star--alongside his brother Mario--in the '80s. Has also directed at least one film, El hechizo del pantano ('75).

Almada, Mario [Mario Almada Otero] (1922 or '23?--): After appearing as a child with his brother in Madre querida ('35), Mario Almada left films for the next several decades. He and his brother were owners of the nightclub Cabaret Señorial in Mexico City, and when Fernando began acting in films, Mario got involved in the production side. In 1965, Mario was drafted into the cast of Los jinetes de la bruja (which he and his brother were producing, and in which Fernando was starring), after Bruno Rey was injured during shooting. By the end of the decade, Mario was co-starring with his brother in Westerns, and taking supporting roles in films like Emiliano Zapata. In the '70s Mario was a busy character actor, often in villainous roles, but at the end of the decade he suddenly became--with and without Fernando--a leading man in numerous action pictures. Even in the '90s, Mario continues to be a "marquee" name in "videohomes." He won a Diosa de Plata as Best Male Co-Star for El tunco Maclovio (1969), and has been twice nominated for Ariel awards: for La viuda negra ('77) and for Chido Guan--tacos de oro ('85).

Almazán, Humberto: young actor who received a big build-up when cast as Benito Juárez in El joven Juárez ('54)--immediately after appearing in Luis Buñuel's El río y la muerte. He'd actually been a stage and screen actor for several years; under the name "Juan Pérez," Almazán worked in European films directed by Roberto Rossellini and Jean Renoir, among others. However, these auspicious beginnings didn't do much for his career, and Almazán eventually joined the priesthood in the 1960s.

Alonso, Ernesto (1919 or '20?--): born in Aguascalientes, Alonso came to Mexico City and made his stage debut in 1939; he was a film actor from the 1940s on, often as character leads (as in Luis Buñuel's Ensayo de un crimen--for which he received a Best Actor Ariel nomination). A pioneer in television production, Alonso is the acknowledged king of telenovela producers and a vice-president of the telenovela division of Televisa. He made occasional acting appearances into the '90s.

Alonso, José [José Alonso Zepeda Palacios] (1947 or '48?--): "hip" young leading man of the late '60s and early '70s, who moved on to serious dramatic work later in the decade. More recently, often cast in villainous roles, particularly on TV. Best Actor Ariel: En la trampa ('78). He was also nominated for La tarea ('91) and Bartolomé de las Casas ('92).

Alvarado, Crox [Cruz Pío Socorro Alvarado Bolado] (date of birth variously given as 1910, 1911, 1913 or 1915?-1984): Costa Rican born actor, came to Mexico and got work as an extra in the late 1930s. Had a brief period of stardom as a leading man from the mid-40s through the early 1950s, then quickly dropped into second leads and character roles until his death of a heart attack in 1984.

Alvarado, Manuel "Gordo" [Manuel Alvarado Lodoza] (1921 or '22?-1978): as his nickname suggests, the Sonora-born Alvarado was a moustached, heavy-set actor who usually played supporting roles, often as businessmen, in the 1950s and 1960s.

Alvarez, Miguel Angel "El Men": Puerto Rican performer of rather sinister appearance, but originally a comic actor. In Mexican films mostly in the latter 1960s, cf Pacto diabólico ('68), Un largo viaje hacia la muerte ('67).

Alvarez, Sofía [Sofía Alvarez Caicedo or Carmen Caicedo] (1905, 1913 or 1915?-1985 or '86?): Colombian-born singer and actress who was a popular stage performer from the early 1930s; on-screen in smaller roles from this period, but began receiving female leads in the 1940s. Continued to work in films into the '60s.

Alvarez Bianchi, Guillermo: very large, Spanish-born character actor from the '40s thru the early '80s. Sometimes billed as "Guillermo A. Bianchi." Equally at home with sinister, Sydney Greenstreet-type and sympathetic roles. Won the Best Supporting Actor Ariel for Cuarto de hotel ('52), and was later nominated for El buen ladrón ('56).

Alvarez Félix, Enrique (1934-1996): the only son of screen legend María Félix and her first husband, Enrique Alvarez. After graduating with honors in political science from UNAM (the national university in Mexico), changed his career plans and, at about the age of 30, decided his true vocation was acting. Obtained some small roles on television and made his screen debut in Luis Buñuel's short feature, Simón del desierto. In 1966, appeared with Julissa in Los caifanes, a popular and critical success. By the early 1970s he had switched his focus from films to television and the theatre. Alvarez Félix suffered a fatal heart attack just days after his character on the telenovela "Marisol" had perished in a similar fashion.

Amar, Leonora (1925--): beautiful Brazilian actress who appeared in Mexican films from 1945 through 1950, as well as Captain Scarlett ('53), a U.S. production filmed in Mexico.

Amaro, Blanquita: Cuban actress and dancer who was popular in the 1940s, especially in films shot in her own country. She had the lead in 1944's Bésame mucho, a Mexican production.

Ancira, Carlos (1929-1987): highly-respected stage actor and acting teacher whose film roles usually saw him cast as hunchbacked assistants to mad doctors, rat-faced henchmen, and other unsavory roles distinguished by physical and mental deformities, as in Misterios de ultratumba ('58) and Misterios de la magia negra ('57). Made his film debut in 1949's Lluvia roja, and continued to appear in films through the '80s, although with much less frequency as he devoted most of his time to stage work. Married to actress Karina Duprez. A daughter by a previous marriage is also an actress.

Anda, Agustín de (1933 or '35?-1960): son of producer/director Raúl de Anda, started with small roles in his father's films, then was groomed as a young leading man from the mid-'50s on. Was shot to death in May 1960 by the father of his fiancee, actress Ana Bertha Lepe.

Anda, Raúl de: see DIRECTORS

Anda, Rodolfo de (1943--): after the death of his brother Agustín, moved into films as a young leading man, chiefly in Westerns. By the end of the decade was appearing more frequently in contemporary dramatic roles, and by the '80s was mostly playing leads in action pictures. Has also directed and produced a substantial number of films. Best Actor Ariel nomination for Kino ('93). Brothers: Raúl de Anda Jr., Agustín de Anda, Gilberto de Anda, Antonio de Anda (all involved in film industry).

Andere, Jacqueline [Ma. Esperanza Jacqueline Andere Aguilar, OR Jacqueline Montes de Oca Aguilar (sources differ)] (1938 or '42?--): sophisticated blonde actress who began working in films and on TV in the late '50s and early '60s. Achieved stardom in the late '60s and early '70s, particularly in a series of dramas directed by her husband, José María Fernández Unsain (see DIRECTORS). From the 1980s on, mostly active in television and on the stage. Her daughter, Chantal Andere, is a beautiful and popular TV actress.

Anderson, Chuck: a bandleader and the artistic director of the Mexican division of Columbia Records in the 1960s, Anderson also made a number of film appearances in this decade, almost always as a "gringo." See, for example, Ven a cantar conmigo (1965).

Anel: real name, Ana Elena Noreña. U.S.-born actress, on-screen from the early 1970s. Married to singer José José for a time: their son, José Sosa, is an actor. Now works mostly on TV and stage.

Angélica María (1944--): real name, Angélica María Hartmann. Daughter of actress turned producer Angélica Ortiz and a U.S. musician, Angélica María began appearing in films as an extremely young child (debut in 1950), and literally grew up on screen. In the 1960s she developed into a major pop singer and screen actress; after the mid-'70s, appeared less frequently in movies but has maintained a high profile on TV. Married at one time to actor Raúl Vale: their daughter, Angélica Vale, is also an actress and singer. Best Child Actor Ariel for Mi esposa y la otra (1952). Known as "la novia de México" (The Sweetheart of Mexico), although ironically she was born in New Orleans.

Angely, Bárbara (1943--): aka Barbara Muné or Barbara Muller. Austrian-born actress who had a brief but very active film career in Mexico between 1966 and 1970 (24 appearances in 5 years). She was also involved in fashion and modeling, and ran a modeling school in Mexico City at least into the 1980s.

Aragón, Angélica: Born in Mexico City, studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. Ariel Awards: Best Supporting Actress for Novia que te vea ('93) and Pueblo de madera ('90). Has also appeared in a number of international productions, such as The Evil That Men Do ('84) and A Walk in the Clouds ('95). Aragón is the daughter of well-known performer José Angel Espinosa "Ferrusquilla."

Aragón, Luis (1906 or '13?-1972): character actor of the 1950s and 1960s, most often cast as irascible fathers, bosses, etc., but occasionally allowed to play sympathetic characters. Born in Oaxaca.

Araiza, Armando & Araiza, Raúl [hijo]: sons of director Raúl Araiza and actress Norma Herrera, in films and TV shows since the '80s, together and separately.

Arau, Alfonso: see DIRECTORS

Arenas, Miguel (1902-1965): Spanish-born character actor usually cast as pompous fathers or officials, but occasionally allowed to do comedy, on-screen from the mid-'30s. Father of actress Rosita Arenas.

Arenas, Rosita (1933--): beautiful actress who began working as a teenager in the early 1950s (in her screen debut--Anacleto se divorcia, 1950--she played the daughter of her real-life father, actor Miguel Arenas). Retired from acting in the early '60s when she married producer/actor Abel Salazar (she had previously been married to a Spanish aristocrat), but came back to films and TV after they were divorced, in the late '80s. Their daughter, Rosa Salazar Arenas, has worked in radio, TV and films.

Armendáriz, Pedro (1912-1963): one of the major figures of the "Golden Age" of Mexican cinema. Armendáriz won the Best Actor Ariel twice, for La perla ('45) and El rebozo de Soledad ('52), and was nominated four more times: Las abandonadas ('44), Enamorada ('46), Rosauro Castro ('50), La rebelión de los colgados ('54). Armendáriz was born in Mexico City, but spent much of his youth studying in the United States; his mastery of English would stand him in good stead in his acting career later, allowing him to work in Hollywood and all over the world, for directors such as John Ford, and with performers like Errol Flynn, Yves Montand, and Sean Connery. Armendáriz returned to Mexico in 1935, and soon became a popular leading man, particularly in "rural" roles. However, he was also capable of playing contemporary workers and even gangsters, military men, and so on. Upon learning that he had cancer, Armendáriz committed suicide in June 1963.

Armendáriz, Pedro Jr. (1940--): son of Pedro Armendáriz and actress Carmelita Bohr, on-screen from the mid-1960s, after originally studying to be an architect. Played mostly second leads and some villainous roles until the 1970s, when he began to receive more mature, serious parts. Now something of an eminence gris himself, still active on TV and in occasional film roles. Has also appeared in a substantial number of Hollywood films and other international productions (such as Earthquake, 1974), in part because he--like his father--speaks excellent English. Won the Best Actor Ariel for Mina, viento de libertad ('76), and received nominations for Los pequeños privilegios ('77) and Rastro de muerte ('81)--both for Best Actor--and Best Supporting Actor for Dos crímenes ('94).

Armengod, Ramón (1909 or '11?-1976): Veracruz-born, sensitive-looking singer/actor; during the cabaretera era, specialized in playing unlucky composers whose lives go to hell as a result of women. Mostly off-screen after 1960, although he produced several films and had a cameo role in Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary (1975).

Arozamena, Amparo (1916--): actress who started as an ingenue in the 1930s, but is now best known for her character roles-- especially in comedies--from the 1960s onward. Daughter of actor Eduardo Arozamena.

Arozamena, Eduardo (1877-1951): veteran character actor from the variety stage, where he was a popular performer during the early years of the century. By the time sound films came in, he was playing kindly uncles, fathers, etc. Actress Amparo Arozamena is his daughter. Best Incidental Actor Ariel for Enamorada ('46); also received a nomination as Best Supporting Actor for Río Escondido ('47).

Arriaga, Felipe (1937-1988): ranchera singer and occasional actor in the 1970s. Pleasant but not really distinctive on-screen, played mostly secondary leads and leads in low-budget pictures.

Arriola, Armando "Arriolita" (?--1978): mousy character actor, on-screen from the very early '30s (Aguilas frente al sol, 1932, for instance). Often cast as mild-mannered clerks, barbers, and so on.

Arsu, Nono [Aron Sussely] (1925-1979): Chilean-born Mexican-TV personality ("El Profesor Colgate") who appeared in around 40 films from the 1950s to 1979's Mojado power. On U.S. TV, Arsu guested on "Chico & the Man," and other programs. He was married for 20 years to Mexican TV-radio personality Carmen González de la Vega. (thanks to Flora Sussely for this information)

Arvide, Manuel (?--1969): dapper character actor from the '40s through the '60s; frequently played police inspectors, government officials, military officers. Often used by Juan Orol, who gave him a rare leading role in Tania, la bella salvaje (1947).

Aspíllaga, Patricia [Patricia Aspíllaga Menchaca] (1946-2003): refined-looking Peruvian actress, on-screen from the late 1960s into the '70s. Nominated for a Best Actress Ariel for De todos modos Juan te llamas ('75). A serious airplane accident in the early 1980s left her in a wheelchair and cut her acting career short. She moved back to Peru and died in 2003.

Astor, Raúl (1919-1995): the genial, Argentine-born Astor (who had a small role in the Hollywood production Way of a Gaucho, 1952) came to Mexico and became an important producer-director-writer of 1960s telenovelas. He made a few appearances as an actor in the 1960s and early '70s, and was also a popular TV variety show host. Married to actress Chela Castro.

Augurio, Julio: young actor and occasional singer in mostly low-budget films from the early 1980s. In the 1990s mostly billed as Julio Aldama Jr. (after the death of Julio Sr.?), and now directs and produces direct-to-video features as well as starring in them.

Another version of this appeared in THE MEXICAN FILM BULLETIN Volume 4 Number 3 (October 1997). Contents (c) 1997 by David E. Wilt. Comments, additions and corrections welcome to dw45@umail.umd.edu

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Revised 8 April 2004; Created 21 October 1997.