Dolores Del Rio

Who Is Dolores Del Rio?

Maria de los Dolores Asunsolo y Lopez-Negrete, also known as Dolores Del Rio, is an actress of Mexican descent. She is famous for being one of the very first Latin American actors to achieve Hollywood fame. Aside from starring in blockbuster films in the US from 1920s to the 1930s (during the silent era of film), she was also a major player in the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema. This happened from 1940 to 1950. Del Rio was also considered to be one of the most beautiful faces of Hollywood during her time.

Career Focus: Film, Television, Dance

Dolores Del Rio

Popular Work

What Price, Glory? (1926, Raoul Walsh), Resurrection (1927, Edwin Carewe), Ramona (1928, Edwin Carewe), Bird Of Paradise (1932, King Vidor), Flying Down To Rio (1933, Thornton Freeland & George Nicholls Jr.), Madame DuBarry (1934, William Dieterle), Journey Into Fear (1943, Norman Foster), Wild Flower (1943, Emilio Fernandez), Maria Candelaria (1943, Emilio Fernandez), Las Abandonadas (1945, Emilio Fernandez), Bugambilia (1945, Emilio Fernandez), The Unloved Woman (1949, Emilio Fernandez)

Date Of Birth: 03-08-1904 (Died: 11-04-1983)

Current State & Country: Newport Beach, California, USA

Nationality: Mexican

Home State & Country: Durango, Mexico

Height: 5’3”

Weight: 120 lbs.

Net Worth Income: Unknown

Educational Credentials

College Francais de Saint-Joseph. Del Rio received a Catholic education.

A sculpture dedicated to Del Rio, along with her fellow multi-ethnic actresses Mae West, Dorothy Dandridge, and Anna May Wong, can be seen along Hollywood boulevard. The sculpture was created by Catherine Hardwicke.

Career History of Dolores Del Rio

In 1925, Del Rio struck a friendship with American filmmaker, Edwin Carewe. Carewe invited her to work in Hollywood, with the promise that he could turn her into a movie star. Against her family’s wishes, Del Rio and her husband moved to the US by train. Carewe became her agent, director, producer, and manager, hoping to transform her into the female counterpart of Rudolph Valentino. Del Rio made her film debut in Carewe’s 1925 film Joanna, in which she only appeared for five minutes. She later appeared in a string of films which, although weren’t blockbusters, still helped her gain recognition amongst the public. Del Rio’s first starring role was in Carewe’s 1926 film, Pals First.

She soon became a star after her lead role in Raoul Walsh’s 1926 film, What Price, Glory?. Other films included Resurrection, The Loves of Carmen, and No Other Woman, all of which were silent films. Her first talking film was 1930’s The Bad One, directed by George Fitzmaurice. The film was a huge success – Audiences loved Del Rio, and her ability to sing and speak English with a Mexican accent.

In 1933, Del Rio starred in Thornton Freeland’s Flying Down To Rio. This also featured Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in their first appearance as dance partners. A year later, she appeared in the musical comedy Wonder Bar, directed by Lloyd Bacon.

Her career took a decline in the 40s, as the public started favoring newer actresses such as Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, and Jean Harlow. She returned to Mexico to start a film career after the death of her father in 1943. In her home country, Del Rio befriended artists such as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. She made her Spanish-language film debut in Wild Flower, directed by Emilio Fernandez. In the same year, she played the lead role in Maria Candelaria, also directed by Fernandez. It became the very first Mexican film to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival, and took home a Palme d’Or.

Del Rio joined the world of theater in 1956, making her debut in Marcelle Maurette’s Anastacia. In her later years, she had become a member of several organizations and charities. These included the Society for the Protection of the Artistic Treasures of Mexico, and the Cultural Festival Cervantino.

Dolores Del Rio

Personal Life of Dolores Del Rio

Del Rio was born into a wealthy Mexican family on August 3, 1904. Her mother, Antonia Lopez-Negrete, was the daughter of one of the richest Mexican families, and whose ancestry can be traced back to a Spanish noble family. Her father was Jesus Leonardo Asunsolo Jacques, the son of wealthy farmers. Del Rio’s father was also the director of the Bank of Durango, her hometown. She had famous cousins, namely filmmaker Julio Bracho, actor Ramon Novarro, and actress Andrea Palma. Other relatives included social activist Maria Asunsolo, and sculptor Ignacio Asunsolo.

Del Rio has been romantically linked to several actors and filmmakers, including John Farrow, Tito Junco, Archibaldo Burns, and Errol Flynn. Another rumored relationship was with writer, Erich Maria Remarque. Her most prominent relationship was with actor, Orson Welles. They were together for four years, despite his string of infidelities with other women. Even if they separated, Welles considered Del Rio to be ‘The great love of his life’, and as a living legend. In fact, Welles even thought of Del Rio while he was on his deathbed. Another admirer was Mexican filmmaker, Emilio Fernandez, with whom Del Rio made several films with back in her hometown. It was even said that Fernandez auditioned to be an extra or a bit player in several of Del Rio’s films, just so he could be near her. He was drawn to Del Rio’s beauty and elegance, and even claimed that he was in love with her, but kept shutting down his feelings.

Del Rio had three marriages: The first one was with Mexican socialite Jaime Martinez Del Rio, which lasted from 1921 to 1928. Del Rio used her husband’s last name when she entered Hollywood. Her second marriage was to MGM art designer Cedric Gibbons, which happened after her affair with Welles. Del Rio’s final marriage happened in 1959, to American businessman Lewis Riley. Del Rio and Riley met ten years prior to their marriage, in Acapulco. She was not advised to have any children, due to a miscarriage that happened early in her career.

Del Rio was diagnosed with Hepatitis B in 1978, after taking contaminated medicine. The illness later developed into cirrhosis, and she was admitted to Scripps Hospital in California. Del Rio died from liver failure on April 11, 1983.

Also See: Dimitri Portwood Kutcher

Net Worth of Dolores Del Rio

Since Del Rio became popular during the silent film era, not much is known about her current net worth, or her net worth when she reached the peak of her fame. But if she were alive and working today, she would probably have a net worth of (approximately) $100K to $1M. Her main source of income is through her work on film and television.

Controversial News on the Life & Career of Dolores Del Rio: During the McCarthy era of the 1940s, Del Rio, along with a host of other actors and actresses, were subsequently banned from Hollywood. This is due to their alleged sympathy and support of communism. It caused her to be denied permission to make more films in the US. A prominent example of this was when 20th Century Fox hired fellow Mexican actress Katy Jurado to replace Del Rio in the 1954 film Broken Lance. In 1956, the US issued a formal apology and fixed her situation by returning her working contract in Hollywood. Del Rio was able to perform in a theater production of Anastacia.

Rumors And Frequently Asked Questions About  Dolores Del Rio: There were also rumors of an ongoing rivalry with Mexican actress, Lupe Velez. Velez was rumored to have started the fight, and it was unknown why it even happened in the first place. Del Rio herself never understood the quarrel either – Even asking to meet up with Velez (who was known as ‘The Mexican spitfire’) so they can have a formal chat. It turned out that Velez was jealous of the prestige and respect that Del Rio had gained in Hollywood. Velez was known for wearing costumes in her own films, but they never really held a candle to the elegance that Del Rio had. Del Rio was also accepted in several Hollywood circles, something that Velez never really achieved, despite having loads of friends and fans.

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