Jurado in 1950
|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 (The Wild Bunch and 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. 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. One of three children, 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.
Jurado moved with her family to Mexico City 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, 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 (the stepfather of the Mexican actresses Lorena Velázquez and Tere 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), with Carmen Montejo and Emilio Tuero, and went on to appear in sixteen more films over the next seven years during the Golden Age of Mexican cinema. Her very particular features were the key of her notable success. Blessed with a stunning beauty and an assertive personality, Jurado specialized in playing determined women in a wide variety of films. 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, María Elena Marques, Luis Aguilar, Gloria Marín, Silvia Pinal, Sara Montiel, Miroslava Stern and others. 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.
First years in Hollywood (1951–1954)
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.
In 1954 Jurado replaced Dolores del Río 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. Spencer Tracy himself asked: What will she be, my wife or my granddaughter?. Katy replied: "Well emit smoke signals to bring him to Dolores del Rio". 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.
The same year, she starred in Arrowhead with Charlton Heston and Jack Palance, playing a Comanche woman, the love-interest of Heston's character. In a 1955 interview with Louella Parsons, Jurado commented on the mostly Indian roles she was given: " I don't mind dramatic roles. I love to act, any character at all. But just once I would like to be my Mexican self in an American motion picture".
Between Hollywood, Europe and Mexico (1954–1965)
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, Tony Curtis and Gina Lollobrigida. With her husband's support, 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. Vittorio de Sica directed the film Il Judizio Finale with Katy, Ernest Borgnine, Vittorio Gassman, Silvana Mangano and Melina Mercouri. 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 Davy Crockett. 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 (1962– 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. After her suicide attempt 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 and Bob Dylan, among others.
Jurado received one of her best dramatic roles in the last episode of the Mexican film Fé, Esperanza y Caridad (1973). The theological virtues are disrupted in daily tragedies, highlighting the episode Caridad. Directed by Jorge Fons, Katy interprets the role of Eulogia, a lower-class woman who suffers a series of bureaucratic abuse to claim the remains of her dead husband. Her great dramatic expression earned her the Silver Ariel. Jurado recognized Caridad as her best performance: "A character that got me deep inside". In 1976, she acted in the movie Captain Pantoja and the Special Service (Pantaleon y las Visitadoras), directed by Mario Vargas Llosa, author of the novel.
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), The Children of Sanchez (1978, with Anthony Quinn and Dolores del Río) 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 1984, she acted in the Mexican-American production Under the Volcano, directed by John Huston. In 1985, Jurado was named film promotion commissioner for the Mexican state of Morelos. In that position, she issued filming permits, found locations for movies, and arranged accommodations for film crews. The position provided her with the opportunity to arrange and develop national and international motion pictures in her beloved Mexico. In the 1990s Katy reappeared in the Mexican Telenovelas. In 1998 she returned to the cinema. Her last American film appearance was in Stephen Frears's Western The Hi-Lo Country, capping a half-century-long American movie career. 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. Ripstein said about Jurado: "Katy Jurado's face seems formidable, has a tragic dimension exceptional in the Mexican Cinema, and really a splendid actress". 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."
Early in her career in Hollywood, Jurado had an affair with John Wayne; she later claimed that he wanted to marry her. 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.
"Marlon asked me to marry him many times, but for me my children were first", she said. "Our friendship pact was sealed with an Indian ritual for the rest of our lives."
However, her true love was the western novelist Louis L'Amour. Jurado said: "I have love letters that he wrote me until the last day of his life. For our work, we could never match, but he was the man of my life and i, the woman of his life. I should have married that man". She also maintained a close friendship with stars like Anthony Quinn, Burt Lancaster, Sam Peckinpah, Frank Sinatra, Dolores del Río, John Wayne and many others.
On the set of The Badlanders ( a western version of The Asphalt Jungle), Jurado met her costar Ernest Borgnine, who became her second husband on December 31, 1959. The couple founded the movie production company SANVIO CORP. The marriage ended in 1964.
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.
- Roríguez, Clara. Heroes, Lovers, and Others, p.116
- Ruiz & Sánchez Korrol. Latinas in the United States, p.358
- Revista Somos: Katy Jurado:Estrella de Hollywood orgullosamente mexicana. Editorial Televisa S.A de C.V. 1999. p. 19.
- Porter, Darwin. Brando Unzipped, p.395
- Revista Somos: Katy Jurado:Estrella de Hollywood orgullosamente mexicana. Editorial Televisa S.A de C.V. 1999. p. 30.
- Revista Somos: Katy Jurado:Estrella de Hollywood orgullosamente mexicana. Editorial Televisa S.A de C.V. 1999. pp. 58–59.
- Revista Somos: Katy Jurado:Estrella de Hollywood orgullosamente mexicana. Editorial Televisa S.A de C.V. 1999. p. 60.
- Revista Somos: Katy Jurado:Estrella de Hollywood orgullosamente mexicana. Editorial Televisa S.A de C.V. 1999. pp. 33, 52.
- García Riera (1999), p. 114
- García Riera (1999), p. 33
- Revista Somos: Katy Jurado:Estrella de Hollywood orgullosamente mexicana. Editorial Televisa S.A de C.V. 1999. p. 32.
- García Riera, Emilio (1999). 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. ISBN 968-895-854-9.
- 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
- Rodríguez, Clara.
- Ruiz, Vicki and Sánchez Korrrol, Virginia. Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia . Indiana University Press, 2006, ISBN 0-253-34681-9
- Revista Somos: Katy Jurado:Estrella de Hollywood orgullosamente mexicana, (1999) Editorial Televisa S.A de C.V.
|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 AllRovi
- Katy Jurado at Find a Grave
- Katy Jurado at the TCM Movie Database