Biographical Dictionary of Mexican Film Performers

"N" and "O"


Nájera, José: character actor of the 1970s and '80s, often seen as bureaucratic types, cold and efficient. In Salto al vacío (1994), for some reason, Nájera is billed as "José Zambrano."

Name, Hernando: see DIRECTORS

Natera, José (also Pepe Natera): moustached, bushy-haired comedian, mostly seen in support in "videohomes"--usually sexy-comedies--of the 1980s and 1990s. Also does TV and stage work.

Nava, José "Pepe" (?-1976): gawky, moustached supporting actor usually in semi-comic roles, from the '30s until his death in the '70s.

Navarro, Carlos (1921-1969): handsome leading man who started out in the theater in the mid-1940s, then moved into films as a leading man. His period of greatest popularity was the 1950s, when he made pictures like Doña Perfecta (1950, with Dolores del Río), Luis Buñuel's La ilusión viaja en tranvía (1953), and El monstruo resucitado (1953). Navarro won the Best Male Co-Star Ariel for Doña Perfecta. His film career declined in the 1960s as he spent more time on TV, prior to his death at the end of the decade.

Navarro, Martha [Martha Navarro Cayón] (1937--): Martha Navarro studied acting at the Instituto de Bellas Artes, then made her professional debut as a stage actress. She began working in films in the '60s. Since that time she has won two Ariel awards: as Best Actress for La pasión según Berenice (1975) and a shared Best Supporting Actress prize for Rosa de dos aromas (1989). She was also nominated as Best Actress for El jinete de la divina providencia.

Negrete, Jorge [Jorge Alberto Negrete Moreno] (1911-1953): Jorge Negrete was born in Guanajuato; his father was an officer in the federal army, who later retired from military service and became a teacher. Jorge attended the Colegio Militar and was commissioned as an officer; he planned to study medicine and become an army doctor, but financial considerations prevented this. In 1931, Negrete made his debut as a radio singer; after resigning from the army, he spent the next few years as a struggling performer--including an extended period in New York City--before making his film debut in 1937 (La madrina del diablo). However, it was not until the success of Ay Jalisco, no te rajes! that Jorge Negrete became a star (prior to this film, he had specialized in operatic and popular music, not rancheras). Handsome, aristocratic, and blessed with a fine baritone, Negrete was one of the most popular Mexican performers for the next decade, touring internationally and making films in Hollywood (Fiesta, a color Hal Roach featurette in 1941) and Spain in addition to his many Mexican pictures. Negrete was one of the founding members of the STPC union, when it split off from STIC in 1945; he also served as Secretary General of ANDA, the actors' union. Elisa Christy, a dancer and actress (the daughter of actor Julio Villareal), was Negrete's first wife, but his longest romantic liaison (a decade) was with actress Gloria Marín (although they were never legally married). When Marín and Negrete finally split up, Negrete married María Félix. However, the marriage was cut short by Negrete's death of liver trouble in November 1953.

Nieto, Carlos: supporting actor in many films of the 1960s. At one time married to actress Lulú Parga.

Nieves, María Antonieta de las, "La Chilindrina" (1950--): one of the "Chespirito" stock company of Roberto Gómez Bolaños, María Antonieta de las Nieves has played the freckled, obstreperous "Chilindrina" for over 25 years. Despite the demise of the "Chavo del Ocho" program, Nieves continues to portray her signature character on stage and the occasional film (La Chilindrina en apuros). She made her acting debut in 1956, and her first film in 1957 (Pulgarcito); she has appeared in a number of other pictures in non-Chilindrina roles.

Noriega, Eduardo (1917 or 1918?--): rather stolid leading man of the late 1940s and 1950s (after a decade of extra roles and bit parts), who later moved into avuncular character roles (where he continues today, primarily on TV). Thanks to his English-language skills, Noriega received roles in a number of Hollywood productions over the years. His son is actor Ricardo Noriega.

Noriega, Manuel "Manolo" (1880-1961): Spanish actor, familiar to Mexican filmgoers for his roles as frail-appearing, grandfatherly types. However, Noriega had a long and fruitful stage career in the early 20th century--in Spain, Mexico, Cuba, and New York, among other countries--and directed a number of silent films. He was married to Hortensia Castañeda; their daughter married Tito Guízar. Noriega earned a Best Supporting Actor Ariel nomination for Pepita Jiménez.

Norma Angélica [Norma Angélica Ladrón de Guevara] (1937-1962): originally trained as a dancer, Norma Angélica later attended the ANDA acting school and made her film debut in the late 1950s. Her parts gradually increased in size and importance; for her role in Tlayucan (1961), she won a Diosa de Plata. However, in December 1962 Norma Angélica's career came to an end when she committed suicide.

Norvind, Eva [Eva Johanne Chegodaleva Sakonskaja aka "Ava Taurel"] (1944--): Eva Norvind was born in Norway, but moved to France at the age of 15 when her stepfather died. Several years later, she traveled from Canada to New York, and finally wound up in Mexico at the age of 20. There she appeared in supporting roles in a number of films, including Santo vs. la invasión de los marcianos and Pacto de sangre; however, Norvind says she was blacklisted by producers for her outspoken feminist views, and eventually she returned to New York. Since that time she has had a variety of careers, most notoriously as "Ava Taurel," an S&M sex therapist. Didn't Do It For Love (1998) is a documentary about her life. Norvind's daughter, Nailea Norvind, is currently a young actress in Mexico.

Novara, Medea de [Herminne de Movarry]: Liechtenstein-born wife of director Miguel Contreras Torres. Novara starred in many of the director's films of the 1930s and 1940s, including several appearances as Empress Carlota. She also co-produced Lázaro Cárdenas (1985), the ill-fated final feature of director Alejandro Galindo.

Novaro, Tito [Octavio Novaro] (1918-1985? or '86): the handsome Tito Novaro started working in Mexican cinema in the 1930s as an extra and bit player, then progressed to featured player status by the mid-1940s. His acting career suffered a setback when he worked in an "illegal" (STIC) feature in 1947 and was subsequently suspended from films for two years. In the late 1950s Novaro became an assistant director at the América studios (he continued to act, although in smaller roles), and got his chance to direct in 1968 (one episode of a multi-story feature). In the 1970s and 1980s he directedn more than a dozen films; he also wrote scripts (including some under his real name), often in collaboration with Laura H. de Marchetti (his wife?).

Novarro, Ramón [Ramón Samaniego y Pérez Gavilán] (1899-1968): born in Durango, Novarro moved to the United States during the Mexican Revolution and became an extremely popular sex symbol in 1920s Hollywood (ironically, since Novarro was apparently very gay), appearing in hits such as Ben-Hur. Although he made a successful transition to sound (among his sound pictures was Mata Hari, with Greta Garbo), his career as a leading man ended in the mid-1930s. Novarro directed several Spanish-language movies in Hollywood, and later made some appearances as a character actor, through 1960. He acted in only one film in Mexico, La Virgen que forjó una patria (1942), directed by his cousin, Julio Bracho (he was also distantly related to Dolores del Río). Novarro was brutally beaten to death in his Los Angeles home in 1968.

Obregón, Claudio [Claudio Obregón Posadas] (1935--): born in San Luis Potosí, Obregón began his professional career as a radio announcer in the late 1950s, then worked in TV and on the stage. His screen career began in the 1960s, and he has continued to work in films, on TV and the stage ever since. Obregón was one of the actors who rebelled against the ANDA actors' union in the 1970s, forming the Sindicato de Actores Independientes, a rival group which eventually failed. He received a Best Actor Ariel nomination for De noche vienes, Esmeralda, and Best Male Co-Star Ariel nominations for El otro crimen and Actas de Marusia.

Ochoa, Diana: severe-looking character actress of the 1950s into the '70s, usually cast as disapproving neighbors, spinster aunts, etc.

Ochoa, Jesús: burly Sonora-born actor who appears in films, on TV, and the stage. Shared the Best Male Co-Star Ariel for Entre Pancho Villa y una mujer desnuda (in which he played Pancho Villa), and has been nominated as Best Male Co-Star for Bajo California, el límite del tiempo in the '99 Arieles.

Ochoa, Leonorilda (1939 or '40--): comic actress in films and on TV from the 1960s on. In movies, most often used as comic relief (cf Muñecas peligrosas, 1967); she repeated her best-known TV role in two '70s movies based on the series "Los Beverly de Peralvillo."

Ochoa, Yolanda: brunette actress in some action films of the 1970s, including El Látigo and El Cuatro Dedos.

O'Herlihy, Dan (1919--): Irish actor, originally in British cinema, who relocated to Hollywood in the '50s. O'Herlihy starred in Luis Buñuel's Robinson Crusoe (for which he received a 1954 Best Actor Oscar--not Ariel--nomination), and also appeared in Tehuantepec (1953: O'Herlihy played Eduardo Fajardo's role in the English-language version of the picture) and The Big Cube (1968) in Mexico.

Ojeda, Manuel (1940--): very prolific screen performer since the 1970s, both in character leads and supporting roles. Notable for his piercing stare and rather sinister looks. Ojeda, born in Baja California, studied acting at the Instituto de Bellas Artes and originally worked on the stage. He received a Diosa de Plata for his role in El apando (1975), and a Best Actor Ariel for El infierno que todos han temido (1979). Has also been nominated as Best Actor for Fuego en el mar, Ora si tenemos que ganar! and Muelle rojo, Best Male Co-Star for Salón México, and Best Suppporting Actor for El apando and Qué viva Tepito!. Also works in foreign films shot in Mexico, in "videohomes" and on TV. Not to be confused with Manuel R. Ojeda, who directed a number of movies from the silent era through the mid-'40s, then worked as an actor and production manager.

Olivares, Maritza (1955--): sexy nymphette actress of the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1990s she made a couple of comeback appearances, looking remarkably the same. Born in Tamaulipas, Olivares made her screen debut in Alberto Bojórquez's Los meses y los días (1970), for which she received a Best Actress Ariel nomination.

Olivares, Rubén "El Púas" (1947--): professional bantamweight boxer--a three-time world champion, with 78 knockouts among his 88 victories--whose career spanned the years 1964-80 (he had three additional bouts between 1981-88). Olivares appeared in a number of movies of the 1970s and 1980s more or less as himself, a good-natured, working-class fellow. Gained an extra measure of fame when Ricardo Garibay wrote his best-selling biography, "Las glorias del gran Púas," which was then made into a film with Olivares playing himself.

Olivier, Maricruz [María de la Cruz Olivier Obergh] (1935 or '38?-1984): extremely durable melodrama queen (both telenovelas and films) from the 1950s to the early '80s. A graduate of the ANDA acting school, Olivier also appeared on the stage. She won the Best Juvenile Performer Ariel for Orquídeas para mi esposa (1953), and was nominated as Best Female Co-Star for Esposa te doy (1956). Born in Puebla.

Olmedo, Raquel [Siomara Alicia Opama Leal] (1937--): strong-featured Cuban-born actress, originally an opera singer in her native land. She came to Mexico in 1959 and made her screen debut in the late 1960s. Olmedo made a fair number of films in the 1970s and 1980s, but has primarily worked on TV and the stage.

Orellana, Carlos (1901-1960): round-faced character-lead who frequently played Spanish emigrants (although he was born in Mexico City). On-screen from the 1930s through the '50s. Orellana also wrote and directed films.

Orci, Ramiro: muscular stunt-man and character actor in films from the 1960s on. Has played the occasional larger role, such as the lead in the Western El loco Bronco (1990).

Orea, Guillermo (1920? 29? or '30?-1991): character actor, trained at the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (INBA), who made his stage debut in 1949. From the 1950s through the '80s, Orea made many stage, TV, and film appearances--usually in comic roles, but not always--before his death of cancer in January 1991.

Orea, Mario: rotund character actor, notable as the mad scientist "Dr. Toicher" in Profanadores de tumbas, although he had actually been in films since the early 1950s.

Orol, Juan: see DIRECTORS

Oroná, Vicente: see DIRECTORS

Orozco, Regina [Regina Orozco Mora] (1964--): "plus-size" actress and singer of the 1990s, educated at INBA and the Julliard School of Music in New York. She made her professional screen debut in 1990; since then Orozco has been in some films--notably Arturo Ripstein's Profundo carmesí (1996), for which she won the Best Actress Ariel award--and also on TV. Additional Ariel nominations: Best Female Co-Star for Dama de noche and Mujeres insumisas.

Orraca, Juan (1906-1956): character actor, notably in dramas of the late 1940s and early 1950s. His face and general demeanor led to a number of gangster roles, but he occasionally had more sympathetic part (even as priests!).

Orta, Sergio: rotund, Cuban-born dancer, actor, and choreographer of the 1940s. Orta (who bears a very slight resemblance to Akim Tamiroff) can be seen in a dance number with Mapy Cortés in the Hollywood film Seven Days Leave (1942), and was also in Ziegfeld Girl (1941). In Mexico, he was notable in Naná with Lupe Velez, and Escándalo de estrellas opposite Pedro Infante.

Ortega, Héctor (1930 or '36?--): multi-faceted actor-writer-director. As an actor, he often appears in "quality" films, especially those directed by Alberto Isaac. Ortega joined Juan García and Pancho Córdova in the elite group of people who have received Arieles for acting and screenwriting. As an actor, he earned a Best Supporting Actor Ariel for Mariana, Mariana (he was also nominated in this category for El costo de la vida); other acting nominations: Best Actor (for Cuartelazo), and Best Male Co-Star (for El rincón de la vírgenes). He shared Best Original Story and Best Screenplay Arieles for El águila descalza, and received a Best Screenplay nomination for Cuartelazo. As a director, he made two films in 1976-- La palomilla al rescate and Vacaciones misteriosas--and has also directed TV and plays.

Ortín, Leopoldo "Chato" (1893-1953): one of the most popular film comedians of the late 1930s, Chato Ortín was born in Peru. He made his first film in Mexico in 1926, and after a number of comic relief roles, by the late 1930s was starring in screen comedies, generally playing rather dim-witted, stubborn characters. His popularity declined and in the '40s he played mostly supporting parts. Ortín was married to actress Aurora Campuzano. His son "Polo" Ortín is also a comic actor.

Ortín, "Polo" [Leopoldo Ortín Jr.] (1929--): son of comic actor Chato Ortín, on-screen since childhood. Ortín is primarily considered a comic actor--specializing in befuddled roles--but has done some dramatic work. Also appears on the stage and in telenovelas. Ortín was formerly married to Olga Rinzo; his burly son Jorge Ortín is also an actor, although usually seen in action films rather than comedies.

Ortiz, Alvaro: earnest-appearing young actor of the 1950s and early '60s; he was the cousin of Angélica María (and nephew of producer Angélica Ortiz). Received a Best Juvenile Performer Ariel nomination for Maldita ciudad (1954). Ortiz was given several leading roles--cf Guantes de oro--but his career never really took off.

Ortiz, Pepe [José Ortiz Puga] (1902-1975): Guadalajara-born bullfighter who appeared in a few films of the '30s and '40s (he also wrote the original story for Maravilla de torero, 1942). His wife was actress Lupita Gallardo, with whom he co-starred in El Tigre de Yautepec (1933).

Ortiz de Pinedo, Jorge (1948--): son of character actor Oscar Ortiz de Pinedo, began acting in the 1960s. Has had his greatest impact on television as the star of the "Cándido Pérez" series, and also hosted a popular late-night talk-variety show. However, Ortiz de Pinedo has made a fair number of movies (including several "Cándido Pérez" features) and also produces and acts on the stage. His current wife is the daughter of actress Saby Kamalich.

Ortiz de Pinedo, Oscar (1910 or '14?-1978): Cuban-born comic character actor, seldom seen on screen without a cigar. The son of acting parents, Ortiz de Pinedo made his stage debut as a child. Came to Mexico in the mid-'40s, and appeared in many films, TV shows, and stage presentations. Often cast as eccentric doctors or businessmen, as in La casa de terror (1959), and El que con niños se acuesta ('57), both in support of Tin Tan. Father of Jorge Ortiz de Pinedo.

Osés, Fernando (1922-1999): Spanish-born professional wrestler who came to Mexico in 1950. After a ring injury, Osés switched full-time to acting and writing. He was a major figure in the establishment of the lucha libre (wrestling-hero) genre, writing the stories for a number of Santo films (and playing villainous characters in many of them as well). In the 1970s, Osés branched out into producing (he even directed three features). He died of a heart attack in May 1999.


Posted 15 Sept 99, updated 7 Jan 2001 by dw45@umail.umd.edu

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