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Hollywood's Most Beautiful Actresses, Triumphs and Tragedies.

Updated on March 21, 2014

Young Dolores Del Rio

Mexican Actress Lives Hollywood Dream

Long before Salma Hayek, Dolores Del Rio was the most beautiful Mexican Actress in Hollywood.

The Latin movie glamor queen was born Lolita Dolores Martinez Asunsolo Lopez Negrette in Durango, Mexico on August 3, 1905. She lived in Durango on a huge family-owned ranch until she was four years old. Her father was a prominent banker who was forced to flee with his wife and daughter to Mexico City to escape the revolutionary Pancho Villa.

Dolores was educated in Mexico's capital city at the Convent of Saint Joseph and, was the custom among the class-conscious, was presented to the king and queen of Spain while on a European trip in 1919.

Two years later Dolores married Jamie Del Rio, an attorney eighteen years her senior. Soon after, Hollywood director Edwin Carewe, saw her dancing at a home party and offered her a chance to act in his film Joanna in 1925. It was unheard of for a girl of her background to consider a theatrical career, but her mother and husband thought it might be fun and interesting.

Only Dolores took the idea seriously. She was brokenhearted when most of her footage was edited out of her first two pictures. She was treated much better in her next two: Whole Town's Talking in 1926, and Pals First . Then she won the role of Charmine in the blockbuster What Price Glory. Although it was a man's film she did not go unnoticed. Even in an industry and city steeped in glamour and beauty Dolores Del Rio was a standout. She appeared with Rod La Rocque in Resurection, and slowly gained recognition.

By the time she played the lead in Ramona she had succeeded in becoming an important star while at the same time her marriage had come apart and her director had fallen in love with her. Carewe's wife was suing him for divorce, and Hollywood expected him to marry Dolores. But before she could obtain a divorce from Del Rio he died suddenly. Many felt Del Rio's spirit had been broken by his role as Dolores Del Rio's husband. Dolores made Evangeline in 1929 with Carew and then broke with him completely.

In talkies, Dolores's weakness as an actress was somewhat more obvious but she more than made up for that shortcoming with her beauty and voice, which was also heard in song. Some of her American sound films were Bird of Paradise, Flying Down to Rio and Wonder Bar. In 1930 she married the renowned set designer Cedric Gibbons. It was during this time that her look greatly improved. In the silent days her style was that of a Mexican peasant girl. After her marriage to Gibbons, she created a highly polished and sophisticated style that undoubtedly led to more movie parts.

Her ten-year marriage to set designer Cedric Gibbons ended in 1941, whereupon she entered into an affair with Orson Wells. She made Journey into Fear in 1942 with him as costar and director, but their relationship ended shortly after when he married Rita Hayworth.

One of my favorite Dolores Del Rio movies was the Spanish 1946 movie called La Otra. One can easily see that Dolores Del Rio was not just a beautiful face anymore. She was a fine actress. The story was about identical twins, both played by Dolores, one married to a wealthy man and the other a struggling manicurist. The manicurist kills her spiteful, rich sister and takes her place. The story was filmed for American theaters decades later with Bette Davis in the lead role. The American version was called Dead Ringer.

In the next eighteen years Dolores made only one Hollywood film, The Fugitive. Although she was very active in South American and Mexican productions. In 1960 she played Elvis Presley's mother in Flaming Star. Since her return to Hollywood she appeared several times on such television series as Marcus Welby M.D., and More Than a Miracle.

Dolores Del Rio traveled a great deal and remained a big star in Mexico.

Strict abstinence from smoking, drinking and overeating are what Del Rio always said were her secret to eternal youth. She was always asked by interviewers how she managed to retain her looks and Dolores often answered that she was a yogi. She also claimed to sleep 12 hours per night.

In 1959 she married to Lewis Riley, an American who produces movies in Latin-American countries. Their home was a two hundred year old house on a large estate in Coyacan, and exclusive suburb of Mexico City surrounded by lush gardens and containing art.

Although her acting skills improved considerably in the last 20 years, Dolores is best remembered by fans for her dazzling beauty, most of which she retained to a degree that bordered on the uncanny. Del Rio appears to have been one of the few stars from the Glory Days of Hollywood to have engaged in celebrity plastic surgery. Although she was beautiful up until the day she died, she appeared slightly unnatural and pulled, as many modern stars appear. She is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful silent stars of all time.

She passed away from liver disease in 1983 at the age of 77.

Dolores Del Rio in the 1930's

Dolores Del Rio in the 1950's

Dolores Del Rio Classic on Amazon/ La Otra

The Tragic Story of Lupe Velez

When one thinks of the early Mexican movie goddesses, Dolores Del Rio is queen in every way. Her life was beautiful, respectful, and fulfilled, Lupe Velez was unable to follow in Dolores' dignified footsteps and fell into Hollywood Babylon.

Lupe Velez was born on July 18, 1908 in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. She began her career as a dancer before moving the America to star on the vaudeville stage. She was quickly noticed by top stage stars of the day who insisted that she try her luck in film. Lupe made her first movie in 1924 and within 10 years she was a Hollywood star. When talkies came in Lupe excelled in comedy, but her flighty personality refused to find happiness with a skyrocketing movie career because she only wanted to play dramatic parts. Due to her Hollywood disappointment Lupe went to New York in effort to find more dramatic parts on the Broadway stage, she also married Johnny Weissmuller, Olympic swimmer, and future Tarzan. Modern medicine would most probably diagnose Lupe with chronic depression, as she had more than what most people ever achieve in life. She was earning top dollar during a dime when most Americans were hoping to put food on the table, she was beautiful and admired, and married to a handsome man. But Lupe was restless.

In the late 1930s she returned to Hollywood where her option was renewed and she was given a series of comedies to star in. Upset with her personal life, and divorce from Johnny, she made some Mexican films and dated and had flings with many men, including, Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, Gary Cooper and many others. She was her own worst enemy as she made other stars uncomfortable with her vulgar and obnoxious behavior. Dolores Del Rio was afraid of running into her because Lupe was a scrapper who mocked Del Rio at every opportunity. Her fights with co-stars, openly throwing herself at male actors and depressed attitude when things did not go her way were making Velez less and less desirable to work with or even be around by the 1940s, and although desperate to find a suitable man and settle down, Lupe was doing all the wrong things to earn herself a respectable lifestyle.

By the mid 1940s Lupe was deep in an affair with Harold Maresch and became pregnant with his child. Lupe was so distraught at the possibility of being an unwed mother that she committed suicide by taking approximately 80 Seconal pills, and left a note explaining that she would rather die than bring the baby into the word of her shame.

Lupe Velez; The Mexican Spitfire

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Ava Gardner Arrives in Hollywood

Ava Gardner

Ava Gardner was born December 24, 1922 in a farming community of North Carolina. She was the youngest of seven, and her parents were poor cotton and tobacco farmers. When her father died in 1938, while Ava was only 15, she began attending secretarial school while her mother ran boarding houses. Fortunately for Ava, her brother in- law, who was a professional photographer needed some photos to display in his photography studio in New York City and Ava posed for him. Not long after her photos were displayed in the photo studios window Eva was discovered by a talent scout who send her photos to MGM.

Ava was given a screen test immediately after MGM reviewed her photos. She was filmed walking towards the camera and arranging flowers. Her voice was considered unattractive and in need of work due to her heavy southern accent. Eva was given a contract and voice lessons to add polish to her image.

Gardner was in awe of Hollywood and was quickly romanced and then married to Mickey Rooney. The marriage was a disaster and lasted approximately one year. In that time Ava was becoming a star and Rooney was floundering in his old Andy Hardy image that would prove to keep him typecast for more than one decade.

Two years after her divorce from Rooney she married Artie Shaw, and her third marriage was to Frank Sinatra. Frank has left his wife Nancy for Ava. Their marriage was full of drama, Eva was pregnant twice and had two abortions. Eva later blamed Hollywood for her abortions, stating that having a baby would have ruined her career, but in retrospect many other stars had children, such as Lana Turner, and Rita Hayworth. It seems that the guilt and disappointment that sex goddesses endure after their abortions leads to a lifetime of guilt and excuses.

The Sinatra/Gardner marriage ended in divorce but the couple remained lifelong friends.

After decades of heavy smoking,Gardner developed auto immune disease and became a recluse. She died of pneumonia at the age of 67.

Linda Darnell

Linda Darnell, Beauty Queen

Linda Darnell was born in Dallas Texas in 1923. She was a model as a child and eventually progressed into a stage actress. Darnell on numerous beauty contests and was working in Hollywood by the age of 15. Although Darnell was extremely beautiful and quickly developed a talent for acting, she was emotionally unstable, leading her to alcoholism and numerous affairs and marriages.

in 1965 Darnell died from severe burns that she received in a fire. She had fallen asleep drunk with a cigarette in her hand and when she awoke to the blaze, rather than jump out the window as her friend had done, she ran to the door and was quickly engulfed in the blaze, burning over 90% of her body.

Gene Tierney

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Gene Tierney; A Tragic Beauty

Gene Tierney was the daughter of Howard Tierney and Belle Lavina Taylor, a well to do couple in Brooklyn, New York. He was a savvy insurance broker and her mother was a lady of leisure. Gene was sent to the best schools. Waterbury, connecticut, and later she was sent to Europe, Brillantmont International school in Lausanne, Switzerland. She want to charm school and learned to speak French fluently.

She was blessed with her mother's stunning looks and when she decided to try her hand in acting parts came to her without effort. She got a few small parts on Broadway and her wealthy father set up a corporation to help fund his beautiful daughter's career. She got numerous jobs modeling and very quickly began receiving major parts in Hollywood. Gene married Oleg Cassini in 1941 and it looked as though her life was evolving into a fairytale. Unfortunately, Gene's good fortune was over. She became pregnant and gave birth to a severely retarded daughter, her husband was cheating on her with numerous other women and Gene Tierney would never be the same again.

She fell into a deep depression by the 1950s and although she still got a few good parts in movies, her spark was gone on the screen and off. She did little in the way of public appearances from the 1950s until her death in 1991 of emphysema.

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      A dazzling beauty. I had forgotten that she played with Elvis. Great hub as always. Two to go for you my friend. Well done!

    • Skarlet profile image
      Author

      Skarlet 4 years ago from California

      Thank you billybuc,

      At point I am just trying to get it done.

      Funny, there are times that it just pours out of me, and I guess I am suffering from "writers block" right now.

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas

      Wunnerful, wunnerful -- I never saw Delores Del Rio in any of her pictures but heard her name ever since I can remember -- and her pictures -- well, she was indeed a gorgeous woman. Thanks for a marvelous read. Best/Sis

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 4 years ago

      She is beautiful! Orson Welles, you say? Elvis? Wow! I'd never heard of her..

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 2 years ago from London England

      Can't understand how Gene Tierney slipped into depression. The Hollywood actresses were so glamorous in those days. Perhaps there was something we don't know about

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