Rosa Carmina

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Rosa Carmina
Rosa Carmina in 1951
Born Rosa Carmina Riverón Jiménez
(1929-11-19)November 19, 1929
La Habana, Cuba
Nationality Mexican
Occupation Actress, dancer and singer
Years active 1946–1992
Spouse(s) Francisco Morales Llanes
Juan Orol (1949-1954)
Ramón de Florez

Rosa Carmina Riverón Jiménez (born November 19, 1929 in Havana, Cuba) is a Mexican film actress, dancer and singer of Cuban origin. Regarded as one of the leading figures of the Rumberas film of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema. She is also known as the Queen of the Gangsters, degree awarded for her participation in numerous films of this genre directed by the filmmaker Juan Orol.

Early life[edit]

Rosa Carmina Riverón Jimenez was born in Havana, Cuba, on November 19, 1929. Daughter of Juán Bruno Riverón and Encarnacion Jimenez. From an early age, she showed interest in dancing, and studied at the School of Dance in Cuba. In 1946 the famous Spanish producer, director and film actor Juan Orol, divorces of the Cuban rumbera María Antonieta Pons, ending the film collaboration that existed between them in the Mexican Cinema. Orol travels to Cuba in search of the new star of his films. The launches competition in Havana they attended about five hundred girls (among the contestants were also the rumberas Ninón Sevilla and Mary Esquivel). Not finding an actress who gave him the profile to play the character of a Japanese spy in the film Una mujer de Oriente, he decided to return to Mexico. However, Orol unexpectedly receives a call from Enrique Brion, his agent in Cuba. Brion had come by invitation to the graduation celebration bachelor of Juanita Riverón, the Rosa's sister, where he hears and sees Rosa Carmina sing. Brion told him his discovery to Orol. Upon meeting Rosa the next day, Orol claimed to have felt a great emotion, and thought to himself: This is la mujer de Oriente.[1] Orol falls for Rosa and offered her a contract to star in three films in Mexico. Rosa thought initially reject his offer, because she was betrothed to the military Francisco Morales Llanes. However, Orol convinced, and Rosa decided to travel with him to Mexico accompanied by her family. Juan Orol taught Rosa her best dance moves. Later, he sent for choreographers from around the world. Rosa also took acting classes at the studio of Seki Sano.



Rosa Carmina began her artistic career in the Mexican Cinema starring in the film Una mujer de Oriente (1946), directed by Juan Orol. Rosa had signed a contract to film two more films with Orol. Her second project was Tania, la bella salvaje (1947). Her third film made with Orol was El reino de los gángsters (1947). Both this film, as his sequel Gangsters contra charros (1948), today are considered cult films in the called Gangsters films of the Mexican Cinema, and have an important place in several film libraries around the world.[2] Despite being virtually a exclusive star of the Orol films, he gives her the chance to shoot with other directors. Her first film without the baton of Orol was the La bandida (1948). To close the 1940s, Rosa filmed two more films with Orol: Amor salvaje (1949) and Cabaret Shanghai (1950). The success of Rosa Carmina the in cinema increases her versatility, soon after proved to be a complete star, because she not only demonstrated her talent for dancing, but also for singing and acting.

In 1951, again under the baton of Orol, Rosa Carmina shooting the film trilogy Percal, consisting of three films: Hombres sin alma, El infierno de los pobres and Perdición de mujeres. This trilogy was based on an original comic book by Jose G. Cruz, and was a huge success at the box office. In 1950, Rosa shooting with the production company Producciones Rosas Priego. At this studio, Rosa Carmina have the opportunity to make dramatic films with a very different plots. Under the baton of these studies, Rosa filmed movies like Traicionera (1950), with Fernando fernández, En carne viva (1951), with Rubén Rojo, Especialista en señoras (1952), with Rafael Baledón and La segunda mujer (1954), with Antonio Aguilar, among others. Rosa Carmina was also originally considered to star in the film un extraño en la escalera, directed by the filmmaker Tulio Demicheli, next to Arturo de Córdova. However, Rosa rejected the project to join a new film project with Orol: Sandra, la mujer de fuego (1954). She was then replaced by Silvia Pinal. Sandra, la mujer de feugo was one of the most important and memorable films of her career. In total, since Una mujer de Oriente (1946), even Secretaria peligrosa (1955), the legendary Orol directs her in sixteen films.

In the mid 1950s, is notable the decline of the Rumberas film. Like other exponents of the genre, Rosa Carmina takes fewer productions of this genre. Her last great success within the genre was the Spanish-Mexican co-production Quiéreme con música (1956), directed by Ignacio Iquino, allowing him to devote herself with great success in the Spanish market, being one of the few Mexican stars to achieves located with first loans in this country. From there, Rosa Carmina perform musical numbers only sporadically in her films.

In 1956, Rosa Carmina received an offer to make a film in France with actress Viviane Romance, but because the movie would perform lesbian scenes, Juan Orol recommended her rejecting the project.[3]

Since the late 1950s and during the 1960s, Rosa Carmina ventures into other film genres. In this sense, the film career of Rosa Carmina stands out for her versatility to move in different genres keeping the same success with the public, probably as few actresses they succeeded in the Mexican Cinema. She was part of the saga of the called Luchador films for her involvement in films like La última lucha (1959) and La sombra blanca (1964). She also ventured into the Fantasy and Horror film in films like El misterio de la cobra (1959), Rostro infernal (1963) and La huella macabra (1963). In 1974, Rosa Carmina meets for the last time with Juan Orol in the film México de noche, where made his last appearance Sandra and the serie of characters created by Orol to his classic films. In 1975, the presence of Rosa in the film Bellas de noche, also serves to introduce the Cine de Ficheras that flourished between the 1970s and 1980s in the Mexican Cinema.

In 1976, the Peruvian Nobel Prize Mario Vargas Llosa directs her in Pantaleón y las visitadoras, based on his same name novel. Rosa was considered for the Chuchupe character. Mario Vargas Llosa himself claimed to have inspired her for the character. However, to make the film, they realized that the physical attractiveness of Rosa did not fit with that of an obese and decadent woman. The character was then performed by Katy Jurado, although a special character will be created to preserve Rosa Carmina in the cast. The film was produced by Paramount Pictures and made in Dominican Republic.

In 1981, Rosa appears in the film by Arturo Ripstein Rastro de muerte. Her last film was Teatro Follies, musical film made for television in 1983, where she shares credit with María Victoria and Tongolele.

In 1992, Rosa was considered for a role in the film Los años de Greta. However, her physical attractiveness was again an impediment to the realization of the character. So was replaced by the also rumbera Meche Barba.[4]

Stage performances[edit]

At the Rosa Carmina's film success adds the obtained in her personal presentations and performances. As an entrepreneur of her own shows, she was pioneer in live presentations, both in arenas, stadiums, cabaret, public theaters and nightclubs around Central and South America, which achieved significant success in an era when the television was not yet considered a mass medium. Her foray into the theater in Mexico, occurs shortly after her arrival to the country and after the success of the film Tania, la bella salvaje. Juan Orol organized a tour throughout the country for Rosa Carmina, when she presented her live to the public , a project that is a huge success. Eventually, Rosa enters a in a musical revue presented at the Tivoli Theatre in Mexico City, where she shares scene with figures like Libertad Lamarque, Rosita Fornés and Los Panchos.

In 1976 she starred in a successful music season in the Blanquita Theater of Mexico City, alongside the comedian Adalberto Martínez and the also Cuban rumbera Amalia Aguilar.[5]

In the early 1990s, Rosa Carmina starred in a show called Rumba, poetry and song, which wove the songs of her films with Cuban poetry and dance. The 1000 performances were held at the Teatro Esperanza Iris of Mexico City, coinciding with the 45 artistic anniversary of Rosa Carmina, under the sponsorship of the National Council for Culture and the Arts, the Secretariat of Public Education and Leon Alazraki Riverón.


Rosa Carmina has been very selective presence on Mexican television. She was one of the first figures to present a musical show on Mexican television. At the end of her film career, Rosa made her debut in the Mexican telenovelas in 1984, in the telenovela La pasión de Isabela (1984). Probably her most memorable works in this medium are the telenovelas Juana Iris (1985) and Muchachita (1986), where she made special characters written especially for her, and according to her trajectory by the writer Ricardo Renteria. In 1992 she participates in the telenovela Maria Mercedes (1992), the first successful television soap opera trilogy known as the Trilogy of the Marias, starring by the singer Thalía. Her presence in this soap opera, despite her small character, was due in consideration of her friendship with the writer of the soap opera, Carlos Romero. This is, to date, her last professional work as an actress.

Rosa Carmina was initially considered to be part of the cast of the telenovela Marimar. However, the actress rejected the project and was replaced by Ana Luisa Peluffo.

Personal life[edit]

Rosa Carmina has been married several times. Her first husband, Francisco Morales Llanes, was a military and head of the "intelligence" in Cuba during the World War II. After, she married with the controversial producer and Spanish director Juan Orol. Her third husband was Ramon de Florez. In her fourth and fifth marriage, she joined with businessmen of Spanish and Lebanese origin respectively.


  • The Mexican painter and sculptor José Luis Cuevas has stated numerous times in the press and on television that he baptizes the Zona Rosa, Mexico City in her honor.[6]
  • In the biographical film about Juan Orol made by the filmmaker Sebastián del Amo, (El fantástico mundo de Juan Orol, 2012), Rosa Carmina is played by the Mexican actress Ximena Gonzalez Rubio.[7]


  • Una Mujer de Oriente (1946)
  • Tania, la Bella Salvaje (1947)
  • El Reino de los Gangsters (1947)
  • Gangsters contra charros (1948)
  • El charro del arrabal (1948)
  • La bandida (1948)
  • Amor salvaje (1950)
  • Cabaret Shanghai (1950)
  • Traicionera (1951)
  • Hombres sin alma (1951)
  • El infierno de los pobres (1951)
  • Perdición de mujeres (1951)
  • En carne viva (1951)
  • Noche de perdición (1951)
  • ¡Que idiotas son los hombres! (1952)
  • Linda mujer (1952)
  • Viajera (1952)
  • Especialista en señoras (1952)
  • Estrella sin luz (1953)
  • La segunda mujer (1953)
  • La diosa de Tahití (1953)
  • Sandra, la mujer de fuego (1954)
  • Sindicato del Crimen (1954)
  • El Cristo negro (1954)
  • Bajo la influencia del miedo (1955)
  • Secretaria peligrosa (1955)
  • Historia de un marido infiel (1955)
  • Quiéreme con música (1957)
  • Melodías inolvidables (1958)
  • Cabaret Trágico (1958)
  • Mis secretarias privadas (1961)
  • La última lucha (1959)
  • Mi mujer necesita marido (1959)
  • ¿Con quién andan nuestros locos? (1960)
  • ¿Cuanto vale tu hijo? (1961)
  • El Rostro Infernal (1963)
  • La huella macabra (1963)
  • La sombra blanca (1963)
  • Mexico de Noche (1974)
  • Pantaleón y las visitadoras (1974)
  • Bellas de noche (1975)
  • Rastro de Muerte (1981)
  • Esta y l'otra con un solo boleto (1983)
  • Teatro Follies (1983)




  1. ^ Muñóz Castillo, Fernando. Las Reinas del Trópico, México, 1993, ed.Grupo Azabache, p.210
  2. ^ Muñóz Castillo, Fernando. Las Reinas del Trópico, México, 1993, ed.Grupo Azabache, p.212
  3. ^ SOMOS (1999), p. 79-80
  4. ^ SOMOS (1999), p. 90
  5. ^ Muñóz Castillo, Fernando. Las Reinas del Trópico, México, 1993, ed.Grupo Azabache, p.126
  6. ^ Zona Rosa: Barrio mágico de la Ciudad de México
  7. ^ Apantallan con historia de Orol

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