Maria Felix: Who was the actor known as 'the most beautiful face in the history of Mexican cinema'?

Star was a leading light of the so-called Golden Age of Mexican cinema

Tom Embury-Dennis
Sunday 08 April 2018 10:35 BST
Maria Felix: The actor known as ‘the most beautiful face in the history of Mexican cinema’

Google’s latest Doodle honours Maria Felix, the Mexican actor widely considered “the most beautiful face in the history of Mexican cinema”.

Felix, who died in 2002 at the age of 88, would have celebrated her 104th birthday today.

Also known as Maria Bonita, thanks to a song composed for her by her second husband, composer Agustin Lara, the star’s screen career spanned four decades and as many as 47 films.

A leading light of the so-called Golden Age of Mexican cinema, in the 1940s and 50s, Felix was the incarnation of the strong, sexual woman who would ultimately be tamed by a man by the end of a movie.

Felix was one of 16 children, born in the town of Alamos. She went to study in Guadalajara before moving to Mexico City, where she initially worked as a model for a plastic surgeon who used her to attract clients.

She starred in her first film, El Penon De Las Animas (1942), alongside Jorge Negrete, a famous actor whom she later married.

But it was her third movie, Dona Barbera, which turned her into a national star. It told the story of a young Venezuelan woman who ran a despotic ranch while dressed in men’s clothes.

In honour of her role, she was often known as La Dona until the end of her life.

She was also frequently in the news for events outside her film career. Felix married four times and had a number of love affairs throughout her life. Famous artists, including Jean Cocteau and Diego Rivera, painted her and she inspired a number of writers, including Carlos Fuentes.

King Faruk of Egypt even allegedly offered her Nefertiti’s crown in exchange for one night of love.

Felix spent her later years travelling between Paris, where she owned a racehorse stable and Mexico City.

She died in her sleep on 8 April 2002, her 88th birthday, in the Mexican capital.

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