Jurado in a promotional picture of San Antone (1953)
|Born||María Cristina Estela Marcela Jurado García
January 16, 1924
Mexico, D.F., Mexico
|Died||July 5, 2002
Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico
|Spouse(s)||Víctor Velázquez (divorced) 2 children
Ernest Borgnine (1959–63) (divorced)
|Children||Victor Hugo Velázquez (d. 1981)
survived by her daughter
Jurado had already established herself as an actress in Mexico in the 1940s when she came to Hollywood, becoming a regular in Western films of the 1950s and 1960s. She worked with many Hollywood legends, including Gary Cooper in High Noon, Spencer Tracy in Broken Lance, and Marlon Brando in One-Eyed Jacks, and such respected directors as Fred Zinnemann (High Noon), Sam Peckinpah (Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid) and John Huston (Under the Volcano).
Jurado made seventy-one films during her career. She became the first Latin American actress nominated for an Academy Award, as Best Supporting Actress for her work in 1954's Broken Lance, and was the first to win a Golden Globe Award in 1952. Like many Latin actors, she was typecast to play ethnic roles in American films. By contrast, she had a greater variety of roles in Mexican films; sometimes she also sang and danced.
Early life (1924–1943)
Katy Jurado was born María Christina Jurado García on January 16, 1924, in Mexico City, Mexico. Her parents were Luis Jurado Ochoa and Vicenta Estela García de la Garza. One of three children (her brothers were Luis Raul and Oscar Sergio), Jurado had a privileged childhood. Both her maternal and paternal families were wealthy; six generations earlier, they had owned much of the land that became the state of Texas. Both families lost much of their wealth during the Mexican revolution. Family's lands were confiscated by the federal government for redistribution to the landless peasantry. However, Jurado still lived well. Her father was a cattle baron and orange farmer, and her mother was a well-known opera singer who gave up the stage to marry and raise a family. Jurado's cousin, Emilio Portes Gil, was president of Mexico beginning in 1928. Despite the loss of property, the matriarch of the family, her grandmother, continued to live by her aristocratic ideals.
In 1927 and studied journalism. Discovered by Director Emilio Fernández when she was sixteen, Jurado went against family wishes and began pursuing a career in acting. Emilio Fernández wanted to cast her in one of his films (La isla de la pasión), but Jurado's grandmother objected to her wish to become a movie actress. To get around the ban, Katy slipped from the grasp of her family's control by marrying the Mexican actor and writer Víctor Velázquez against her parents' wishes. Together, they had a son and a daughter, Víctor Hugo and Sandra. The marriage ended in divorce in 1943, and the children remained with Jurado's family in Mexico when she traveled to the United States to work.
Early Mexican career (1943–1950)
Jurado began acting in Mexican films starting in 1943, with the movie No Matarás (Thou Shalt Not Kill), directed by Chano Urueta, with Carmen Montejo and Emilio Tuero. From her first film, Jurado was characterized by her interpretation of roles of perverse and seductive woman. Her very particular features were the key of her notable success. Her looks, evocative of the indigenous peoples of Mexico, allowed her to carve a niche for herself in the Mexican cinema. However she typically was cast as a dangerous seductress and man-eater, a popular type in Mexican movies.
During her early years in the Mexican cinema she appeared with stars like Mapy Cortés in Internado para señoritas (1943), María Elena Marqués in La rosa del Caríbe (1945) and Luis Aguilar in Guadalajara pués (1946). In 1943, she had her first success with her third film La Vida Inútil de Pito Perez, considered by many as the best Mexican picaresque novel. In 1948, her performance in Nosotros los pobres, opposite the well-known Mexican actor Pedro Infante, brought her fame. She worked with Infante once again in El Seminarista (1949). Jurado's popularity with audiences also landed her a radio show in Mexico.
In addition to acting, Jurado worked as a movie columnist, radio reporter and bullfight critic to support her family. She was on assignment when Director Budd Boetticher and actor John Wayne spotted her at a bullfight. Neither knew at the time that she was an actress. However, Boetticher, who was also a professional bullfighter, cast Jurado in his 1951 film Bullfighter and the Lady, opposite Gilbert Roland as the wife of an aging matador. Jurado stayed close to home, as the film was made on location in Mexico. At that time, Jurado had very limited English language skills. She memorized and delivered her lines phonetically. Despite this handicap, her strong performance brought her to the attention of Hollywood producer Stanley Kramer. Kramer cast her in the classic Western High Noon, starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly. Jurado quickly learned to speak English for the role, studying and taking classes two hours a day for two months. Jurado delivered a powerful performance as the saloon owner Helen Ramírez, former love of reluctant hero Will Kane, in one of the most memorable films of the era. She earned a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and gained widespread notice in the American movie industry.
Despite her notable Hollywood success in the early 1950s, Jurado continued with some performances in Mexico. In 1953 she starred in Luis Buñuel's box-office success El Bruto, with Pedro Armendáriz, for which she received an Ariel Award. She also filmed in Mexico some films made in English, like El Corazón y La Espada (1953, opposite Cesar Romero) and Mujeres del Paraíso (1954, opposite Dan O'Herlihy). In the same year she filmed Arrowhead, opposite Charlton Heston and Jack Palance.
In 1954 Jurado replaced the also Mexican actress Dolores del Río (who was accused of being a communist during McCarthyism) in the film Broken Lance, for which she received an Academy Award nomination, playing Spencer Tracy's Comanche wife and the mother of Robert Wagner's character. At first, there was resistance for her to play the character, because of her youth. The studios wanted her off the film, but Jurado asked for 24 hours to review footage of her scenes. After all, the studios were impressed. Only two other Mexican actresses have been nominated since then: Salma Hayek as Best Actress in 2002 for Frida and Adriana Barraza as Best Supporting Actress in 2006 for Babel.
In 1955 Jurado filmed Trial, directed by Mark Robson, with Glenn Ford and Arthur Kennedy. It was a drama about a Mexican boy accused of raping a white girl. Jurado played the mother of the accused. For this role, she was again nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress. Eventually she participated in a series of westerns like Man from Del Rio, with Anthony Quinn, and Dragoon Wells Massacre with Barry Sullivan.
In 1959, she filmed The Badlanders, with Ernest Borgnine, and worked with Marlon Brando in the film One-Eyed Jacks. The project was originally to be directed by Stanley Kubrick, but, due to irreconcilable differences with Brando, he was replaced by Brando himself. In One-Eyed Jacks, Jurado played the role of Karl Malden's wife, and mother of the young Mexican actress Pina Pellicer.
Jurado debuted in European films in 1954 with the film The Racers with Kirk Douglas and Cesar Romero, and filmed in France, Italy and Spain. The film was directed by Henry Hathaway. In 1955, Katy traveled to Italy for the filming of Trapeze, directed by Carol Reed, with Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis. With the support of her second husband, Ernest Borgnine, she starred in Dino de Laurentiis Italian productions like Barabbas with Borgnine, Anthony Quinn, Jack Palance and the Italian actors Silvana Mangano and Vittorio Gassman. Her next film in Italy was I braganti Italiani, directed by Mario Camerini. In 1967 she filmed A Man Alone, a co-production between Germany, Spain and United Kingdom.
Jurado returned to Hollywood in 1965, with the film Smoky, directed by George Sherman, with Fess Parker. In 1966, she played the mother of George Maharis in A Covenant with Death. As her career in the U.S. began to wind down, she was reduced to appearing in the movie Stay Away, Joe (1968), playing the half-Apache stepmother of Elvis Presley.
Later years (1970–2002)
In 1966, she reprised her role of Helen Ramírez from High Noon (1952) in a High Noon TV pilot called The Clock Strikes Noon Again, which co-starred Peter Fonda as the son of Will Kane. In 1968, she moved back to Mexico permanently, though she continued to appear in American films as a character actress. During this period she appeared in numerous American and Mexican movies. In Mexico she starred mainly in a series of Horror movies. In 1972 she starred in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, directed by Sam Peckinpah, with Kris Kristofferson.
Jurado received one of her best dramatic roles in the last episode of the Mexican film Fé, Esperanza y Caridad (1973). Directed by Jorge Fons, Jurado was cast as Eulogia, a lower-class woman who suffers a series of bureaucratic abuse to claim the remains of her dead husband.This role earned her the Silver Ariel. Jurado recognized Caridad as her best performance.
Jurado again appeared on television and in films during the 1970s. During this time, she worked on television both in the United States and in Mexico. She made guest appearances in Playhouse Drama and The Rifleman. She also co-starred in the short-lived television series a.k.a. Pablo in 1984, a situation comedy series for ABC, with Paul Rodriguez.
In the 1970s she starred in a series of Mexican critical films like Los albañiles (1975), El elegido (1976), The Children of Sanchez (1978) and La Seducción (1980), directed by Arturo Ripstein. Tragedy struck when her son died in an automobile accident in 1981 at the age of 35.
In 1998, she completed a timely Spanish-language film for director Arturo Ripstein called El Evangelio de las Maravillas about a millennium sect. She won the best supporting Actress silver Ariel for this role. Katy had a cameo in the film The Hi-Lo Country by the filmmaker Stephen Frears, who called for his first Western as his "lucky charm."
Jurado's first husband was the Mexican actor Victor Velázquez (the stepfather of the Mexican actresses Tere and Lorena Velázquez). With Velázquez fathered two Children, Sandra and Victor. Victor died tragically in an accident on a highway near Monterrey, plunging Katy into a deep sadness that she could never overcome, and that led her to abandon her acting career for a few years.
Early in her career in Hollywood, Jurado had affairs with John Wayne, Budd Boetticher and Tyrone Power. Marlon Brando was smitten with Katy Jurado after seeing her in High Noon. He was involved at the time with Movita Castaneda and was having a parallel relationship with Rita Moreno. Brando told Joseph L. Mankiewicz that he was attracted to "her enigmatic eyes, black as hell, pointing at you like fiery arrows". They struck up a close friendship when Brando filmed Viva Zapata! in Mexico. Jurado recalled years later in an interview that "Marlon called me one night for a date, and I accepted. I knew all about Movita. I knew he had a thing for Rita Moreno. Hell, it was just a date. I didn't plan to marry him". However, their first date became the beginning of an extended affair that lasted many years and peaked at the time they worked together on One-Eyed Jacks (1960), a film directed by Brando.
During the filming of the movie Vera Cruz in Cuernavaca, Jurado met the American actor Ernest Borgnine, who became her second husband on December 31, 1959. They filmed together the film The Badlanders in 1959. The couple founded the movie production company SANVIO CORP. The marriage ended in 1964 in the words of Katy, due to the ill and violently jealous Borgnine.
She also maintained a close friendship with stars like Anthony Quinn, Burt Lancaster, Sam Peckinpah, Frank Sinatra, Alan Ladd, Sammy Davis Jr., Dolores del Río, John Wayne and many others. Mexican director Arturo Ripstein said about Jurado: "Katy Jurado's face seems formidable, has a tragic dimension exceptional in the Mexican Cinema, and really a splendid actress. She's like Anna Magnani, but flavored tequila and lemon.".
Katy Jurado also claimed to be one of the first people to find the body of Mexican actress Miroslava Stern after her tragic suicide. According to Katy, the picture that Miroslava had between her hands, was Cantinflas, but artistic manager Fanny Schatz, exchanged the photo fo one of the Spanish bullfighter Luis Miguel Dominguín.
Towards the end of her life, Jurado suffered from heart and lung ailments. She died of kidney failure and pulmonary disease on July 5, 2002, at the age of 78, at her home in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. She was buried in Cuernavaca, Mexico, at the Panteón de la Páz cemetery. She was survived by her daughter.
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- Ruiz & Sánchez Korrol. Latinas in the United States, p.358
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- Porter, Darwin. Brando Unzipped, p.395
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- García Riera (1999), p. 114
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- García Riera, Emilio. El cine de Katy Jurado. Universidad de Guadalajara (CIEC), Patronato de la Muestra de Cine Mexicano en Guadalajara, A. C. e Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografía (IMCINE), 1999. ISBN 968-895-854-9.
- Agrasánchez Jr., Rogelio (2001). Bellezas del cine mexicano/Beauties of Mexican Cinema. Archivo Fílmico Agrasánchez. ISBN 968-5077-11-8.
- Porter, Darwin. Brando Unzipped: A revisionist and very private look at America's greatest actor. Blood Moon Productions Ltd, 2006, ISBN 0-9748118-2-3
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Katy Jurado.|
- Katy Jurado at the Internet Movie Database
- Katy Jurado at the Internet Broadway Database
- Katy Jurado at AllMovie
- Katy Jurado at Find a Grave
- Katy Jurado at the TCM Movie Database