|Born||Ivonne Coll Mendoza
June 18, 1947
Fajardo, Puerto Rico
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.
Ivonne Coll Mendoza 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.
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.
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. 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.
"Una chica llamada Ivonne Coll" (A girl named Ivonne Coll)
|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. Perez 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.
In 1976, she 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.
In the United States
In 1979, Coll moved back to New York, where she participated in various Off Broadway productions such as: Spain 1980, As You Like It, Romeo and Juliet, and Macbeth. In New York, film director Francis Ford Coppola recruited her for the role of "Yolanda", a Havana night club singer in The Godfather II. Although her role was small, the experience would serve her well in the future. She was credited as "Yvonne Coll".
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. She participated in the following productions: Orinoco, The Masses Are Asses (a play by Pedro Pietri), Medio Comuñas, Goodbye Castro, and Pancho Diablo (with Fernando Allende and Sully Diaz).
Among the television series on which she appeared were: Pacific Blue, Crisis Center, An American Family, The Bold and the Beautiful, Chicago Hope, Malibu Shores, NYPD Blue, L.A. Law, Under Cover, Switched at Birth, Glee and Teen Wolf
When Coll returned to Puerto Rico, she was invited to participate in La verdadera historia de Pedro Navaja and Paper Flowers. She had a role in the locally produced film, La gran Fiesta (The Grand Party), and in the TV show Cuqui. In 2002, she appeared in the film Besos de Fuego. In October 2006, she played the title role in Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage at the Berkeley Rep Theater in Berkeley, California. Beginning in the fall of 2014, Ivonne Coll acted in the recurring role of Alba Villanueva, grandmother of Jane Villanueva, in the CW comedy series, Jane the Virgin.
- Profile at Fundacion Nacional de la Cultura Popular, prpop.org; accessed November 8, 2014.
- “Glee” gets a (controversial) injection of Latina flavor from Ivonne Coll
- Profile: Goodman theatre, goodmantheatre.org; accessed November 8, 2014.
- Ivonne Coll at the Internet Movie Database
- Lean on Me
|Miss Puerto Rico