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Sonia Martínez (Madrid, September 23, 1963 - September 4, 1994) was a Spanish actress and TV introducer, known by her role in the Spanish version of American educational TV broadcast 3-2-1 Contact aimed to spread Science through 12-14 year old audiences. After this children-oriented TV career, Sonia also played some characters in films of the mid-1980s period, but was mainly known for being one of the earlier Spanish famous people to die as a victim of AIDS, as Rock Hudson was in the Anglo-speaking countries.
First years in TV
Sonia became a TV introducer after successful years as a teenage swimmer, winning a second prize in the championship of Castile, the central tableland region of Spain. Her sister, Irene Martinez, was also a shining sportswoman, participating in 1980 and 1984 editions of the Summer Olympic Games as a gymnast. Sonia worked in 3-2-1 Contact from 1982 to 1983, when Spanish airings of the program ceased (Televisión Española, or TVE, the state-owned network, was then the only authorised TV broadcaster). Sonia worked from 1983 to 1984 for her second TVE show, called "Dabadabadá", another children-oriented broadcast.
As a cinema actress
After these shows, Sonia Martinez started a new period, looking for more mature audiences as a cinema actress. She played some characters in films like Gonzalo Suárez´s "Epílogo". But her career was put an end in 1986, when Sonia was in Ibiza filming an episode of the German TV series Großstadtrevier, in what she played the role of a police woman. During a break in the filming days a photographer took -without her permission- some images of a semi-nude Sonia, images that were published in the gossip magazine Interviu. As a result of the photos, Sonia was dismissed from TVE, where she was presenting "En la naturaleza", an environmental-themed broadcast. Despite a successful attempt to recover her place in the TVE staff by the courts, Sonia's projected reentré in "La Bola de Cristal" show (a pop-music and semi-underground broadcast linked to the Movida madrileña) was truncated when "La Bola de Cristal" itself was eliminated of the TVE airing schedules in 1988.
Decline and death
As a consequence of these problems, linked with some personal crises, Sonia became an Heroin addict (Social impact of this drug was extremely wide in Madrid in those years) and was diagnosed as an AIDS victim in 1990. Some people, as the pop composer José María Cano, tried to help Sonia with detoxification treatments, and Sonia played her last cinema role in 1994, but her health was too damaged by the virus, and she died September 4, 1994, after becoming an easy and vulnerable target for gossip and sensationalist media, including the new TV networks that broke the TVE's national monopoly in 1989-1990)
José María Cano, after his music career, started a new life as a London-based painter, and is the author of Take a walk on the wild side, a painting inspired by Sonia. The artwork was introduced in 2007 during an anti-drug campaign.
- ABC Spanish newspaper, November 29, 1983, page 97
- ABC Spanish newspaper, October 16th 1986, page 81
- EL PAIS Spanish newspaper, July 26th 2007.