Dolores del Río: Beauty in Light and Shade

By Linda B. Hall | Go to book overview

2
Mexican Princess

[T]he theater of modern fame is frequently an alternative to the
more restrictive roles of the social world.
Leo Braudy, The Frenzy of Renown:
Fame and Its History
1

Once upon a time, at the beginning of the [twentieth] century, in a
city—Durango—luxurious stone dwellings of two or three stories,
European-style mansions, symbols of wealth inhabited by powerful
and aristocratic families, filled the center of town and many of its
principal streets.

David Ramón, Dolores del Río2

DOLOR ES DEL RÍO was born on August 3, 1904, though she claimed later dates at various times. Her family usually gave a date of 1906, although as she aged she would sometimes shave off a few more years, even on official documents. The question of age, apparently, was an important one, as when she first went to Hollywood—in 1925—it was expected that a young actress’s career would not last into her thirties. Regardless of age, however, her career lasted as long she wanted it to, almost until her death in 1983. So did her beauty. Two of her biographers, David Ramón and Paco Ignacio Taibo, believe that she was born in 1904, and extant documents confirm that date.3 Most current websites list 1905.4 The 1904 date seems to me likely; if we accept 1906 we also accept that her family permitted her to marry at the age of fifteen, rather than seventeen.

What is not at issue is that she was born into highly respectable Mexican society, though her parents do not seem to have been dazzlingly wealthy.

-21-

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Dolores del Río: Beauty in Light and Shade
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Note on Translation and Orthography xiii
  • 1 - Beauty, Celebrity, and Power in Two Cultures 1
  • 2 - Mexican Princess 21
  • 3 - Hollywood Baby Beauty 43
  • 4 - Unwelcome Triangle 70
  • 5 - Pushing the Envelope 92
  • 6 - Fame and Its Perils 121
  • 7 - Second Chance 146
  • 8 - Affair 176
  • 9 - Return 204
  • 10 - Resurrection 225
  • 11 - Diva 252
  • 12 - Icon 275
  • Reference Matter 299
  • Notes 301
  • Filmography 335
  • Bibliography 337
  • Index 343
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