Jurado in 1951
|Born||María Cristina Estela Marcela Jurado García
January 16, 1924
Mexico City, Mexico
|Died||July 5, 2002
Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico
|Resting place||Panteon de La Paz, Cuernavaca|
|Spouse(s)||Víctor Velázquez (1939–1943)(divorced) 2 children
Ernest Borgnine (1959–63) (divorced)
|Children||Victor Hugo Velázquez (d. 1981)
Jurado began her acting career in Mexico in 1943. During the 1940s and early 1950s, during the era called the Golden Age of Mexican cinema, Jurado achieved a great popularity, playing villainous "femme fatale" characters in various Mexican films. In 1951 she was discovered in Mexico by the filmmaker Budd Boetticher and began her career in Hollywood in the film The Bullfighter & the Lady. Her quality as an actress and her exotic beauty, attracted the attention of Hollywood producers. Since then, she became in a regular actress in Western films of the 1950s and 1960s. She worked in many classics of the genre like High Noon (1952), Arrowhead (1953), Broken Lance (1954), One-Eyed Jacks (1960), and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973), among others. 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's High Noon.
Jurado made seventy-one films during her career. 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. In her long and successful career, she also dabbled in theater and television and remained practically in force until her death.
Katy Jurado was born as María Cristina Jurado García in México City, Mexico. Her parents were Luis Jurado Ochoa and Vicenta Estela García de la Garza. Her brothers were Luis Raúl and Óscar Sergio. Her great-grandfather was of Andalusian origin. She had an economically stable childhood. Her father was a lawyer, and her mother was a singer and worked for the XEW, the radio station most important in Latin America in those years. Her mother was sister of the Mexican musician Belisario de Jesús García, author of popular Mexican songs like "Las Cuatro Milpas". Jurado's cousin Emilio Portes Gil was president of Mexico (1928–1930). Jurado carried out her first studies at a religious school run by nuns in the Guadalupe Inn neighborhood in Mexico City. Eventually she studied for bilingual secretary. She did not want to be an actress, she wanted to be a lawyer. As a beautiful teenager, Katy soon was invited by producers and filmmakers to work as an actress, but her parents never gave their consent to act. Among them was the popular Mexican filmmaker Emilio Fernández, who offered her a role in his first movie The Isle of Passion (1941). Despite the fact her godfather was the famous Mexican actor Pedro Armendáriz, Jurado's parents did not give their consent to act.
Another filmmaker interested in her was Mauricio de la Serna, who offered Jurado a role in the film No matarás (1943). She signed the contract without authorization from her parents, and when they found out, threatened to send her to a boarding school in Monterrey. Around this time she met the aspiring actor Victor Velázquez and married him shortly after. Velázquez and Jurado were married until 1946. Velázquez was the father of her children: Victor Hugo and Sandra.
First Mexican films
In No matarás, Jurado played her first villain and femme fatale role of her career. She had not only physical presence, but a great talent and a prodigious memory. Gifted with breathtaking beauty and an assertive personality, Jurado specialized in playing wicked and seductive women in a wide variety of films. Jurado said:I knew that my body was provocative. I admit, my physical was different and very sensual. She appeared in sixteen more films over the next seven years in what film historians have identified as the Golden Age of Mexican cinema. In 1943 she had her first success with her third film, La vida inútil de Pito Pérez, considered by many as the best Mexican picaresque novel. Others of her outstanding performances were Hay lugar para ... dos (1946), with the popular Mexican actor David Silva, and Nosotros los pobres (1948), directed by Ismael Rodríguez and with the popular Mexican actor and singer Pedro Infante.
Success in Hollywood
In addition to acting, Jurado worked as a movie columnist, radio reporter and bullfight critic to support her family. She was on assignment when the filmmaker 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. At that time she had very limited English language skills, and memorized and delivered her lines phonetically. Despite this handicap, her strong performance brought her to the attention of Hollywood producer Stanley Kramer, who 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. She delivered a powerful performance as the saloon owner "Helen Ramírez", former love of reluctant hero Will Kane (played by Gary Cooper), 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 Hollywood success in the early 1950s, Jurado continued to act in Mexican productions. In 1953 she starred in Luis Buñuel's box-office success El Bruto, with Pedro Armendáriz, for which she received an Silver Ariel Award (The Mexican Academy Award) as Best Supporting Actress. She also acted in English-language films produced in Mexico, such as El Corazón y La Espada (1953, opposite Cesar Romero) and Mujeres del Paraíso (1954, opposite Dan O'Herlihy). The same year she had a role in Arrowhead with Charlton Heston and Jack Palance, playing an evil Comanche woman, the love-interest of Heston's character.
In 1954, the also Mexican actress Dolores del Río was chosen to play Spencer Tracy's Comanche wife and the mother of Robert Wagner's character in the film Broken Lance, directed by Edward Dmytryk. However del Río was accused of being a communist during the McCarthy era. Then Jurado was chosen for the role despite the resistance of the studio because of her youth. But after viewing footage of her scenes, studio executives were impressed. Her performance garnered an Academy Award nomination (a distinction shared by only two other Mexican actresses since then: Salma Hayek as Best Actress in 2002 for Frida, and Adriana Barraza as Best Supporting Actress in 2006 for Babel).
In 1954 Jurado appeared with Kirk Douglas and Cesar Romero in the Henry Hathaway's film The Racers, filmed in France, Italy and Spain. 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, with Jurado playing the mother of the accused. For this role she was again nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress. In the same year she traveled to Italy for the filming of Trapeze, directed by Carol Reed, with Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis.
In 1956 Jurado debuted on Broadway, playing Filomena Marturano with Raf Vallone. Eventually she participated in a series of westerns like Man from Del Rio, opposite the also Mexican actor Anthony Quinn, and Dragoon Wells Massacre with Barry Sullivan. She made guest television appearances in a 1957 episode of Playhouse Drama and in a 1959 episode of The Rifleman as gambler Julia Massini (Andueza) in "The Boarding House", written and directed by Sam Peckinpah.
In 1959 she filmed The Badlanders, with Ernest Borgnine and Alan Ladd, and worked with Marlon Brando in the film One-Eyed Jacks. In the film, Jurado played the role of Karl Malden's wife, and mother of the young Mexican actress Pina Pellicer.
In 1961 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, and I braganti Italiani, directed by Mario Camerini, again with Borgnine and Gassman. In 1961, Jurado returned to Mexico. She filmed Y dios la llamó Tierra (1961) and La Bandida (1962), with the Mexican cinema stars María Félix, Pedro Armendáriz and Emilio Fernández.
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. That same year she reprised her "High Noon" role in a TV pilot called "The Clock Strikes Noon Again". 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.
In 1968, she moved back to Mexico permanently. She took up residence in the city of Cuernavaca.
In the next years Jurado alternated her work between Hollywood and Mexico. In 1970 she filmed the Hollywood film production The Bridge in the Jungle, opposite John Huston. In 1972 she starred in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, directed by Sam Peckinpah, playing the role of the wife of the actor Slim Pickens.
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 "La Camota", a lower-class woman who suffers a series of bureaucratic abuse to claim the remains of her dead husband. For this role she won her second Silver Ariel Award of the Mexican Cinema. Jurado recognized this character as her best performance. In 1973 Jurado starred on Broadway again in the Tennessee Williams stage play The Red Devil Battery Sign, with Anthony Quinn and Claire Bloom.
In 1974 Jurado filmed the American film Once Upon a Scoundrel (1974), opposite the American comedian Zero Mostel. In 1975 Jurado participates in the social criticism film Los albañiles, again directed by Jorge Fons. The film was awarded with the Golden Bear of the Berlinale 1975. In 1976 appears in the role of Chuchupe in the film Pantaleón y Las Visitadoras (1976) adaptation of the novel of Mario Vargas Llosa (who also directed the film). In 1978 she played a small role in the film The Children of Sanchez (1978), opposite Anthony Quinn and Dolores del Rio. Jurado also reappeared on television frequently in the 1970s. She made guest appearances on such shows as Playhouse Theatre and The Rifleman.
In 1980 Jurado filmed La Seducción (1980), directed by Arturo Ripstein. In 1984, she acted in the film Under the Volcano, directed by John Huston. In the same year she co-starred in the short-lived television series a.k.a. Pablo, a situation comedy series for ABC, with Paul Rodriguez.
In the 1990s Jurado appeared in two Mexican Telenovelas. In 1992, she was honored with the Golden Boot Award for her notable contribution to the Western genre. 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. Jurado had a cameo in the film The Hi-Lo Country by the filmmaker Stephen Frears, who called her his "lucky charm" for his first Western.
In 2002 she made her final film appearance in Un secreto de Esperanza. The film was released posthumously after the Jurado's death.
Early in her career in Hollywood, Jurado had affairs with the filmmaker Budd Boetticher, and Tyrone Power. Marlon Brando was smitten with Jurado after seeing her in High Noon. They met when Brando was filming in Mexico Viva Zapata!. 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". 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. Jurado commented:: He has been my close friend. I say that Marlon and I have been true friends of the soul, we speak soul to soul.
During the filming of the movie Vera Cruz in México, Jurado met the American actor Ernest Borgnine, who became her second husband on December 31, 1959. Jurado recalled: Borgnine and I met by accident when we collide in a dark room when leaving a restaurant. He chased me for two years. What did i do for that this man loves me this way?. Our courtship was one of the best periods of my life. We were married soon after, but his jealousy and insecurities turned the marriage in hell. Jurado and Borgnine divorced in 1963.
Her son Victor Hugo died tragically in an accident on a highway near Monterrey in 1981, plunging Katy into a deep depression that she could never overcome, and that led her to abandon her acting career for a few years. While this happened, Jurado was filming a movie in Mexico. She commented:
When my son died I was filming a movie in Mexico. He took with him half of my life. I could not mourn him as I wanted. I went to the funeral and I had to return to film the movie. Every day when i saw the camera I hated her. I dedicated to the films a wonderful time I should have given to my children, but it was too late. Jurado says: John Huston was to get me out of my house for Under the Volcano . I was very sad about the death of my son. I know very well that he offered me the film to give me strength and comfort.
Jurado claimed to have been one of the first people to find the body of Mexican actress Miroslava Stern after her tragic suicide. According to Jurado, the picture that Miroslava had between her hands was of Cantinflas, but artistic manager Fanny Schatz exchanged the photo for 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 at the Panteón de la Páz cemetery. She was survived by her daughter.
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