Biographical Dictionary of Mexican Film Performers: "K"

Kamalich, Saby: Peruvian-born actress who gained fame as the star of the telenovela "Simplemente María" (she also starred in the film version). After working in her native land on TV, beginning in 1957, she came to Mexico in 1970 and made a number of films in the next several years, but has chiefly appeared on TV since. Rather like Marga López, she seems to have aged only up to a certain point and never gotten any older.

Karla: [real name: Nora Lárraga] attractive ingenue who started working in films in the late '60s, then appeared in a large number of pictures until the early '70s. She has shown up only infrequently since. Has been billed as both "Nora Lárraga" and "Karla."

Karloff, Boris [William Henry Pratt] (1887-1969): British-born actor who had a long career in films and other media, but of course most famous as the monster in Frankenstein (1931). Hired by Luis Enrique Vergara for four films in early 1968, Karloff was by this time mostly confined to a wheelchair and all of his scenes were shot in California, then combined with Mexican footage. These were last roles for the great star, who died the next year. The death of producer Vergara held up release of the Karloff quartet for several years, although they eventually saw theatrical release in some countries.

Kaufman, Famie "Vitola" (1927-2009) [name occasionally spelled "Kaufmann," "Kauffmann," and "Fanny"]: tall, thin comic actress who was born in Cuba; she made her debut as a performer in Havana in 1937; has lived and worked in Mexico from the 1940s to the present. Vitola frequently appeared with Tin Tan, in roles of varying importance, but was always a welcome, eccentric addition to the cast. In later years she played some dramatic roles as well, cf El valle de los miserables (1972). She was married and widowed twice; her second husband was ventriloquist Alex King. One of her sons by her first husband is actor Humberto Elizondo, former head of ANDA, the actors' union.

Kelly, John (?--1973): from the 1950s to the early 1970s, the moustached, balding John Kelly was one of Mexican cinema's "token gringos," appearing in small roles in a number of films, often Westerns and comedies. Kelly was often given sympathetic parts, as was his predecessor Cliff Carr, but the gringo-actors who followed them (like Roger Cudney) were usually relegated to villainous (or at least foolish and unflattering) parts. Kelly also worked in some Hollywood productions like Buck and the Preacher and Kid Blue, and was assistant director on Vanessa (1970).

Kerlow, Max (1928--): character actor who mostly plays curmudgeonly parts, on-screen from the '70s through the '90s. Recently received a fair amount of attention--and an Ariel Award--for his role in the critical success Por si no te vuelvo a ver.

King, Enrique "El Reintegro": stage comedian who made sporadic film appearances from the '40s through the '60s, mostly in films produced by Raúl de Anda and his extended family.

Klainer, Sergio (1936--): Argentine-born actor who came to Mexico on a theatrical tour in 1962, replacing Raúl Farell, who had died. Klainer has worked extensively on the stage and on TV, but has also appeared in a number of films, including Alejandro Jodorowsky's first directorial effort, Fando y Lis ('67). He has also taught acting and directed plays.

Kruger, Hilda [Katerina Matilda Kruger] (1912-?): blonde, German-born actress who worked for the Ufa company but lost her job when the Nazis discovered her then-husband had Jewish blood. She came to the U.S. looking for work but eventually wound up in Mexico in 1941, where she appeared in a handful of 1940s films and was allegedly the mistress of several Mexican government officials in succession (including Miguel Alemán, a future president of Mexico). By 1948, she was married to a gentleman named "Nacho" de la Torre, and still living in Mexico.

Kúkaras, Las: female comedy team, originally Hortensia Clavijo and Josefina Holguín; after Holguín's death, Lucha Palacios (sister of Manuel Palacios "Manolín") took her place. Although mostly a stage act, the team (in both incarnations) had minor roles in films from the '50s through the early 1990s.

Updated 1 June 2014 by Corrections and additions welcome.