Dolores Del Rio

Dolores Del Rio
Elmer Fryer / Warner Brothers and First National Pictures


Dolores Del Rio
Film: East side of the 1600 block of Vine Street
Born Lolita Dolores Martinez Ansunsolo Lopez Negrette on Aug. 3, 1904 in Durango, Mexico
Died April 11, 1983 of liver failure caused by hepatitis in Newport Beach, CA

Dolores Del Rio was a legendary beauty who won fame playing exotic heroines in Hollywood films of the 1920s and '30s. She later returned to her native Mexico, where she reigned as queen of films.

Del Rio, born Lolita Dolores Martiniez Ansunsolo Lopez Negrette on Aug. 3, 1904, in Durango, Mexico, was educated in a Mexico City convent school. She was presented to the king and queen of Spain in 1919 and remained abroad, studying voice in Madrid and Paris.

In 1920, she married Jaime Martinez Del Rio, an attorney 18 years her senior, and became a wealthy society matron. But that changed in 1925, when film director Edwin Carewe persuaded her to accept her first screen role in "Joanna."

A 1926 role in "High Stepper" was followed by a triumph as Charmaine, the French heroine of "What Price Glory," in 1927.

She was a Russian peasant in Leo Tolstoy's "Resurrection," a half-Native American girl in "Ramona" and a young Polynesian woman in "Bird of Paradise," and by the early 1940s she was simply tired of it.

Her marriage to Del Rio had ended about the time she reached true star status in 1928, and a subsequent marriage to MGM chief art director Cedric Gibbons was also unsuccessful.

A love affair with Orson Welles, which began shortly after the breakup of her marriage to Gibbons, led her to make "Journey Into Fear" with him in 1943.

In 1947, she appeared in John Ford's "The Fugitive" and made "Cheyenne Autumn" for the same director in 1964.

She later married producer-director Lewis A. Riley, and their 23-year marriage lasted until her death.

Del Rio died at age 78 at her Newport Beach, Calif., home of liver failure resulting from hepatitis she had contracted many years earlier.

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