Ivonne Coll

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Ivonne Coll
Born (1947-06-18) June 18, 1947 (age 67)
Fajardo, Puerto Rico
Nationality Puerto Rican
Occupation Actress, Singer
Coll was "Miss Puerto Rico" in 1966

Ivonne Coll (born June 18, 1947) is a former Miss Puerto Rico turned actress who played the role of "Yolanda" in the movie The Godfather, Part II and the role of "Mrs. Santos" in the movie Lean on Me.

Early years[edit]

Coll (birth name: Ivonne Coll Mendoza [note 1]) was born in Fajardo, Puerto Rico where she received her primary and secondary education. She was an honor student and graduated from "Nuestra Señora del Pilar" school. She then enrolled in the University of Puerto Rico (Universidad de Puerto Rico) where she studied Social Sciences.[1][2][3]

Coll started her career as a fashion model. In 1966, she represented the town of Fajardo in the Miss Puerto Rico pageant and won. In 1967, she represented the island as Miss Puerto Rico in the "Miss Universe" pageant which was celebrated in Miami, Florida.[1][2][3]

Artistic debut[edit]

In 1969, Coll was a back-up singer for Lucecita Benítez when Benitez won the first prize in the "First Latin Song Festival of the World" which took place in Mexico. She also served as back-up for Chucho Avellanet, a popular teen idol in Latin America during the 1960s and 1970s.[1]

In 1971, Coll debuted as an actress in a local soap opera (telenovela), called "El Sirviente" (The Servant). In the same year she also debuted as a solo singer in the "Club Ocho Puertas (Eight Doors Club)" located in San Juan.[1]

"Una chica llamada Ivonne Coll" (A girl named Ivonne Coll)[edit]

External audio
You may listen to Ivonne Coll narrating in Spanish her experiences in the show "Una chica llamada Ivonne Coll" on YouTube

At the end of 1971, the owner of television channel 11 in Puerto Rico, Mr. Rafael Perez Perry spotted Ivonne's talent. Channel 11's competitor had a show with a young starlet by the name of Iris Chacón. Mr. Perry believed that Coll could have a show of her own that would be able to compete with the other channels and with Chacon's show. Therefore, he sponsored the show which was called "Una chica llamada Ivonne Coll" (A girl named Ivonne Coll) and which ran from 1971 to 1975.[2][3]

In 1976, Coll moved to Los Angeles, California, where she took dance and singing classes in the Academy of Stage and Cinema Arts. She landed a part in a theater play called "Burning Beach", which was presented in the American Place Theater.[1][2][3]

In the United States[edit]

In 1979, Coll moved to New York, where she participated in various Off Broadway productions such as:[2][3]

It was in New York that movie director Francis Ford Coppola recruited her for the role of "Yolanda", a Havana night club singer in the movie The Godfather II. Even though her role was a small one, the experience gained would serve her well in the future. She was credited as "Yvonne Coll".[2][3][4] In 1989, she played a minor role of a teacher named Mrs. Santos, in the film "Lean in Me" written by Michael Schiffer, directed by John G. Avildsen and starring Morgan Freeman.[5]

Coll also participated in the following productions:[2][3]

She won an A.C.E. Award for best actress for "Orinoco". When Coll wasn't acting, she was taking classes. She attended the HB Studio and the Lee Strasberg Acting Studio.[2][3]

Among the television appearances which she made in the United States were:

Later years[edit]

When Coll returned to Puerto Rico, she was invited to participate in the following productions: "La verdadera historia de Pedro Navaja" and "Paper Flowers". She also had a role in the locally produced movie "La gran Fiesta" (The Grand Party) and in the TV show "Cuqui". In 2002 she was in the movie "Besos de Fuego".[1] As of October, 2006, she has played the title role in Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage at the Berkeley Rep Theater in Berkeley, California.[2][3][4]


  1. ^
    This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Coll and the second or maternal family name is Mendoza.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Preceded by
Carol Bajandas
Miss Puerto Rico
Succeeded by
Marlene Carrasquillo