Raquel Torres

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Raquel Torres
Raquel Torres Stars of the Photoplay.jpg
Born (1908-11-11)November 11, 1908
Hermosillo, Mexico
Died August 10, 1987(1987-08-10) (aged 78)
Los Angeles, California
Occupation Actress
Spouse(s) Stephen Ames (1935 - 1955)
Jon Hall (1959 - ?) (divorced)
Jon Hall (? - ?) (remarried)

Raquel Torres (born Paula Marie Osterman;[1] November 11, 1908 – August 10, 1987) was a Mexican-born American film actress. Her sister was actress Renee Torres.

A half-German half-Mexican woman born in Hermosillo, Mexico,[2] she grew up in Hollywood. She played a Polynesian beauty in White Shadows in the South Seas (1928), a silent film shot in Tahiti which was Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's first feature fully synchronized with music and effects. Torres is probably best remembered today for her appearance as Vera Marcal in the Marx Brothers film Duck Soup (1933).

Film career[edit]

Torres also appeared in The Sea Bat (1930), with Charles Bickford, Lionel Barrymore and Boris Karloff. The movie was filmed in the tropics of southern Mexico. She received favorable reviews as the Spanish girl whose character exemplifies the voodoo superstitions of the natives. Other films Torres appeared in were Under a Texas Moon, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, So This Is Africa and Red Wagon. In 1931, she performed at the Loew's State Theater in New York with a vaudeville act. The following year, she appeared briefly on Broadway in John McDermott's play, Adam Had Two Sons.

Romance and marriages[edit]

In 1934 Torres met the New York stockbroker Stephen Ames at a Hollywood party. At the time Ames was still married to film actress Adrienne Ames and Torres was escorted to the party by film agent Charles K. Feldman. Torres was suffering from a cold and found a quiet corner for solitude. Ames came over and asked her "Why so quiet?" She told him about "the terrible cold in my head". Ames described some of his favorite remedies and the actress appreciated how considerate Ames was.

A year later they met again in New York. Ames was by now divorced and Torres had not gone through with an anticipated wedding. They met a number of times in New York and Hollywood before Stephen asked her to marry him at the Colony Club while they were dancing. After deliberating for the night Torres decided to marry him when he called her the following day.

Ames presented her with a Rolls-Royce present and two weeks later they were married. Following their wedding they spent several months in New York and Florida prior to purchasing an option on two and a half acres of land in the exclusive Los Angeles enclave of Bel Air where they wanted to build a home, Ames died in 1955. In 1959, Torres married actor Jon Hall, a hero of 1930s and 1940s South Sea epics. They divorced several years later.

Fire damage[edit]

In October 1985 there was a fire in Malibu, California which damaged homes in the Las Flores Canyon area. Embers carried by wind across the wide Pacific Coast Highway ignited the roof of Raquel Torres' home. Her single story home was located at 22350 Pacific Coast Highway. The dwelling was 80% destroyed but the actress escaped unharmed, escorted by firefighters to safety.


Raquel Torres died from a heart attack on August 10, 1987 in Los Angeles, California. She was 78 years old.


  1. ^ Nielson Himmel, "Raquel Torres, Early Talkies Star, Dies at 78", Los Angeles Times, August 11, 1987, Page 19.
  2. ^ Latinas in the United States
  • Lima, Ohio News, "The Sea Bat is Ohio Feature", Monday, July 14, 1930, Page 9.
  • Los Angeles Times, "Miss Torres and Spouse Plan Stay", February 19, 1935, Page A2.
  • Los Angeles Times, by Joan Harvey "Hollywood Beauty Gossip", March 27, 1935, Page A6.
  • Los Angeles Times, by Jerry Belcher, "Actor Jon Hall Commits Suicide", December 13, 1979, Page A1.
  • Los Angeles Times, by Jack Jones, "Malibu Fire Is History as Crews Win the Edge", October 17, 1985, Page OC1.
  • Los Angeles Times, by Nielson Himmel, "Raquel Torres, Early Talkies Star, Dies at 78", August 11, 1987, Page 19.
  • New York Times, "Raquel Torres", August 13, 1987, Page B8.
  • Oakland, California Tribune, "Screen and Radio Weekly", June 16, 1935, Page 84.
  • Syracuse, New York Herald-Journal, "Star in early movies, Raquel Torres dies at 78", Wednesday, August 12, 1987, Section B Page 8C.

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