Lupe Velez (Mexican Actress)

"I do not care what is printed about me, as long as it's the truth." ~ Lupe

 Lupe Velez was born Maria Guadalupe Velez on July 18, 1908 in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. She was such a troublesome child that at the age of thirteen her parents sent her to a convent. When her father went missing during the Mexican revolution she returned home to help support her family. In 1925 Lupe began dancing professionally and quickly became a popular stage star. After appearing in several Hal Roach comedy shorts she got her big break when she was cast opposite Douglas Fairbanks in The Gaucho. She was offered a contract at United Artists and was named one of the Wampas Baby Stars of 1928. Lupe's performances in The Wolf Song and Tiger Rose helped make her Hollywood's most successful Latin actress. She became known for playing fiery, exotic characters and was nicknamed "The Hot Tamale". Her high profile romances with John Gilbert, Clark Gable, and Gary Cooper kept her name in the gossip columns. In 1933 she married Olympic athlete and actor Johnny Weissmuller. They had a stormy relationship and divorced after five years together.

Lupe became frustrated with the roles she was being offered and spent several years working on Broadway. She returned to the screen in the 1939 low budget comedy The Girl From Mexico. The movie was a surprise hit and she appeared in a series of films playing the "Mexican Spitfire" character. In 1944 Lupe began dating aspiring actor named Harald Maresch. She became pregnant and was devastated when Harald refused to marry her. Lupe was a devout Catholic and she did not want to have an abortion or raise her baby alone. On December 13, 1944 she took her own life by overdosing on secanol pills. Lupe was only thirty-six years old. In her suicide note she wrote "May God forgive you and forgive me too but I prefer to take my life away and our baby's before I bring him with shame or killing him." More than four thousand friends and fans attended her funeral. She was buried at the Panteon Civil de Dolores in Mexico City. In the years following Lupe's death there were many bizarre rumors about what really happened to her. The book Hollywood Babylon claimed that she had been found dead with her head in the toilet. The truth is that Lupe was discovered in her bed wearing a nightgown.

A photo of Lupe in her coffin