Elisa Montés

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Elisa Rosario Ruiz Penella[1] (born 15 December 1934 in Granada), known as Elisa Montés, is a Spanish actress who took her pseudonym from the celebrated work of her grandfather, Manuel Penella, El gato montés.

Montés is the sister of actresses Emma Penella (1930–2007) and Terele Pávez (1939), daughter of Magdalena Penella Silva and the law politician Ramón Ruiz Alonso, and granddaughter and great-granddaughter to composers Manuel Penella and Manuel Penella Raga. She was married to actor Antonio Ozores. The daughter of this marriage, Emma Ozores, has also dedicated herself to acting.


Since she was a child she dedicated herself to acting, debuting in the big screen in 1954 with the film Elena, by Jesús Pascual. Near then end of the 1950s she worked in the cinema and obtained notable roles, acting in La vida en un bloc by Luis Lucia, about the original text by Carlos Llopis, Ana dice sí (1959), by Pedro Lazaga, costarring Fernando Fernán Gómez and Analía Gadé, and La cuarta ventana (1963), by Julio Coll, costarring Montés’s two sisters.

In the 1960s, Montés frequently worked in co-productions and spaghetti-westerns, with titles like Samson and the Mighty Challenge (1964), El proscrito del Río Colorado (1965), Sette dollari sul rosso (1966), Texas, Adiós (1966), Return of the Seven (1967) and Maneater of Hydra (1967).

She also started working in Spanish TV during this period, acting in the series Tragedias de la vida vulgar, protagonizing with her then-husband, and her brother-in-law, José Luis Ozores, and forming a part of the successful cast of Valerio Lazarov, El Irreal Madrid (1969).

Later her appearances on television and in movies decreased gradually, especially in her participation in one of the most emblematic series in the history of Spanish television: Verano azul (1981), by Antonio Mercero, in which she played Carmen, the mother of Bea (Pilar Torres) and Tito (Miguel Joven).

On the other hand, her theater career boomed as she acted in Es mentira (1980), and Las prostitutas os precederán en el reino de los cielos (1984), by José Luis Martín Descalzo.

In 1991 she returned to film to star in Martes de Carnaval, with Fernando Guillén and Juan Diego. Before retiring, she played in the series by Antena 4 Hermanos de leche (1994–1995) and in the movie Mar de luna (1995), with the lead role played by her sister Emma Penella.

Selected filmography[edit]


  • Valladoid Festival. Best actress for La vida en un bloc (1956).
  • Prize of the Circle of Cinematographic Writers (1955). Best supporting actress for Últimas banderas.
  • Prize of the National Syndicate of the Spectacle for Abiciosa (1975).