Lupe Vélez in a publicity photo (1933)
|Born||María Guadalupe Villalobos Vélez
July 18, 1908
San Luis Potosí City, San Luis Potosí, Mexico
|Died||December 13, 1944
Glendale, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Seconal overdose|
|Resting place||Panteón de Dolores|
|Years active||1924–1944(19 years)|
Vélez began her career as a performer in Mexican vaudeville in the early 1920s. After moving to the United States, she made her first film appearance in a short film in 1927. By the end of the decade, in the last years of American silent films, she had progressed to leading roles in numerous movies like El Gaucho (1927), Lady of the Pavements (1928) and Wolf Song (1929), among others. She was one of the first successful Latin American actresses in the United States. During the 1930s, her well-known explosive screen persona was exploited in a series of successful films like Hot Pepper (1933), Strictly Dynamite (1934) and Hollywood Party (1934). In the 1940s, Vélez's popularity peaked after appearing in the Mexican Spitfire films, a series created to capitalize on Vélez's well-documented fiery personality.
Nicknamed The Mexican Spitfire by the media, Vélez's personal life was as colorful as her screen persona. She had several highly publicized romances and a stormy marriage. In December 1944, Vélez died of an intentional overdose of Seconal. Her death, and the circumstances surrounding it, have been the subject of speculation and controversy.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Death
- 5 Legacy
- 6 Filmography
- 7 References in popular culture
- 8 Footnotes
- 9 External links
María Guadalupe Villalobos Vélez was born in the city of San Luis Potosí in Mexico, the daughter of Jacobo Villalobos Reyes, a colonel in the armed forces of the dictator Porfirio Diaz, and his wife Josefina Vélez, an opera singer according to some sources, or vaudeville singer according to others. She was one of five children; she had three sisters: Mercedes, Reina and Josefina and a brother, Emigdio. According to Vélez's second cousin, the Villalobos family were considered prominent in San Luis Potosí and most of the male family members were college educated. The family was also financially comfortable and lived in a large home.
At the age of 13, her parents sent her to study at Our Lady of the Lake (now Our Lady of the Lake University) in San Antonio, Texas. It was at Our Lady of the Lake that Vélez learned to speak English and began to dance. She later admitted that she liked dance class, but was otherwise a poor student. After the Mexican Revolution began, Jacobo joined the fight and Vélez was removed from school and returned to Mexico City. To help support the family, she began working in a department store.
The Vélez family eventually moved to Mexico City. Vélez began her career in Mexican revues in the early 1920s. She initially performed under her paternal surname (see Hispanic American naming customs) of "Villalobos", but after her father returned home from the war (he did not die in combat as some sources state), he was outraged that his daughter had decided to become a stage performer. As he viewed the occupation as being beneath their prominent social standing, Jacobo Villalobos refused to allow his daughter to continue to "soil" the family name. She chose her maternal surname, "Vélez", as her stage name. Velez's mother introduced Vélez and her sister Josefina to the popular Mexican vedette María Conesa, "La Gatita Blanca". Vélez debuted in a show led by Conesa where she sang "Oh Charley, My Boy" and danced the shimmy. In 1924, Aurelio Campos, a young pianist and friend of the Vélez sisters, recommended Vélez to stage producers Carlos Ortega and Manuel Castro. Ortega and Castro were preparing a season revue at the Regis Theatre and hired Vélez to join the company in March 1925. Later that year, Vélez starred in the revues Mexican Rataplan and ¡No lo tapes! (both parodies of the Bataclan's shows in Paris, led by Madame Rasimi). Her suggestive singing and provocative dancing was a hit with audiences, and she soon established herself as one of the main stars of vaudeville in Mexico. At her peak, Vélez earned 35 pesos a day, making her one of the era's highest-paid vaudeville performers in Mexico. After a year and a half, Vélez left the revue after the manager refused to give her a raise. She then joined the Teatro Principal, but was fired after three months due to her "feisty attitude". Vélez was quickly hired by the Teatro Lirico, where her salary rose to 100 pesos a day.
Vélez, whose volatile and spirited personality and feuds with other performers were often covered by the Mexican press, also honed her ability for garnering publicity. In October 1925, the Mexican newspaper La Prensa reported that she had attempted suicide after placing second to her vaudeville rival Celia Padilla in a talent contest. The reports were likely exaggerated, but the media continued to report on the matter and the feud with Padilla for several months. Her most bitter rivals also included Celia Montalván and Delia Magaña. Younger and more famous than her rivals, Lupe (who because of her youth was called La Niña Lupe) soon established herself as one of the main stars of vaudeville in Mexico. Among her admirers were notable Mexican poets and writers like José Gorostiza and Renato Leduc.
In 1926, Frank A. Woodyard, an American who had seen Vélez perform, recommended her to stage director Richard Bennett (the father of the actresses Joan and Constance Bennett). Bennett was looking for an actress to portray a Mexican cantina singer in his upcoming play The Dove. He sent Vélez a telegram inviting her to Los Angeles to appear in the play. Vélez had been planning to go to Cuba to perform, but quickly changed her plans and traveled to Los Angeles.
While in Los Angeles, she met the comedian Fanny Brice. Brice was taken with Vélez and later said she had never met a more fascinating personality. She promoted Vélez's career as a dancer and recommended her to Flo Ziegfeld, who hired her to perform in New York City. While Vélez was preparing to leave Los Angeles, she received a call from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer producer Harry Rapf, who offered her a screen test. Producer and director Hal Roach saw Vélez's screen test and hired her for a small role in the comedy short Sailors, Beware!, starring Laurel and Hardy.
Early film career
After her debut in the short film Sailors, Beware!, Vélez appeared in another short film for Hal Roach, What Women Did for Me, opposite Charley Chase. Later that year, she did a screen test for the upcoming Douglas Fairbanks film The Gaucho. Fairbanks was reportedly impressed by Vélez and quickly signed her to a contract and hired her to appear in the film with him. Upon its release in 1927, The Gaucho was a hit and critics were duly impressed with Vélez's ability to hold her own alongside Fairbanks, who was well known for his spirited acting and impressive stunts.
Vélez made her second major film, Stand and Deliver (1928), directed by Cecil B. DeMille. That same year, she was named one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars. In 1929, Vélez appeared in Lady of the Pavements, directed by D. W. Griffith and Where East Is East, playing a young Chinese woman. As she was regularly cast in as the "exotic" or "ethnic" women that were volatile and hot tempered, gossip columnists took to referring to Vélez as "Mexican Hurricane", "The Mexican Wildcat", "The Mexican Madcap", "Whoopee Lupe" and "The Hot Tamale".
By 1929, the film industry was transitioning from silents to sound films. Several stars of the era saw their careers abruptly end due their heavily accented English or voices that recorded poorly due to primitive recording technology. Studio executives predicted that Vélez's accent would likely hamper her ability to make the transition. That idea was dispelled after she appeared in her first all-talking picture in 1929, the Rin Tin Tin's vehicle Tiger Rose. The film was a hit, in large part due to Rin Tin Tin's popularity, and Vélez's sound career was established.
With the arrival of talkies, Vélez appeared in a series of Pre-Code films like Hell Harbor (directed by Henry King), The Storm (1930, directed by William Wyler), and the crime drama East Is West opposite Edward G. Robinson (1930). In 1931, she appeared in her second film for Cecil B. DeMille, Squaw Man, opposite Warner Baxter and in Resurrection, directed by Edwin Carewe. In 1932, Vélez filmed The Cuban Love Song (1931), with the popular singer Lawrence Tibbett. That same year, she had a supporting role in Kongo (a sound remake of West of Zanzibar), with Walter Huston. She also starred in Spanish-language versions of some of her movies produced by the Universal Studios like Resurrección (1931, the Spanish version of Resurrection), and Hombres de mi vida (1932, the Spanish version of The Cuban Love Song). Vélez soon found her niche in comedy, playing beautiful but volatile characters.
In February 1932, Vélez took a break from her film career and traveled to New York City where she was signed by Broadway impresario Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. to take over the role of "Conchita" in the musical revue Hot-Cha!. The show also starred Bert Lahr, Eleanor Powell and Buddy Rogers. The show marked the final work of Ziegfeld who died on July 22.
In 1933, she appeared in the films The Half-Naked Truth with Lee Tracy and Hot Pepper, with Victor McLaglen and Edmund Lowe. Later that year, she returned to Broadway where she starred opposite Jimmy Durante in the musical revue Strike Me Pink. In 1934, she filmed Palooka and Strictly Dynamite (both also with Durante). That same year, Vélez was cast as "Slim Girl" in Laughing Boy with Ramón Novarro. The film faced opposition from film censor Joseph Breen who called it "a sordid, vile and dirty story that is definitely not suited for screen entertainment" due its references to prostitution and supposed portrayals of "illicit" sexual activities. M-G-M changed the material that Breen deemed offensive, but poor writing coupled with Novarro's waning popularity sank the film. Laughing Boy was quietly released and largely ignored. The few reviews it received panned the film but praised Vélez's performance. She got much more success with her brief appearance in the multi-feature film Hollywood Party, which she makes a magnificent comic routine with Laurel and Hardy. Although Vélez was a popular actress, RKO Pictures did not renew her contract in 1934. Over the next few years, Vélez worked for various studio as a freelance actress; she also spent two years in England where she filmed The Morals of Marcus and Gypsy Melody (both 1936). She returned to Los Angeles the following year where she appeared in the final part of the Wheeler & Woolsey comedy High Flyers (1937). In a routine she had been performing since her vaudeville days, Vélez impersonates popular actresses of the era: Simone Simon, Dolores del Rio and Shirley Temple.
Vélez made her final appearance on Broadway in the 1938 musical You Never Know, by Cole Porter. The show received poor reviews from critics but received a large amount of publicity due to the feud between Vélez and fellow cast member Libby Holman. The two instantly disliked each other which was furthered when Holman took offense that Porter had written songs specifically for Vélez. Holman was also irritated by the attention Vélez garnered from the show with her impersonations of several actresses including Gloria Swanson, Katharine Hepburn and Shirley Temple. The feud came to a head during a performance in New Haven, Connecticut after Vélez punched Holman in between curtain calls and gave her a black eye. The feud effectively ended the show.
Upon her return to Mexico City in 1938 to star in her first Mexican film, Vélez was greeted by ten thousand fans. The film La Zandunga, was directed by Fernando de Fuentes and co-starred Mexican actor Arturo de Córdova. It was a critical and financial success and Vélez was slated to appear in four more Mexican films. She instead returned to Los Angeles and went back to work for RKO Pictures.
Mexican Spitfire series and later years
In 1939, Vélez was cast opposite Leon Errol and Donald Woods in a B-comedy The Girl from Mexico. Despite being a B film, it was a hit with audiences and RKO re-teamed her with Errol and Wood for a sequel, Mexican Spitfire. That film was also a success and led to a series of Spitfire films (eight in all). In the series, Vélez portrays "Carmelita Lindsey", a temperamental yet friendly Mexican singer married to Dennis "Denny" Lindsay (Wood), an elegant American gentleman. The Spitfire films rejuvenated Vélez's career and she was cast in a series of musical and comedy features for RKO, Universal Pictures, and Columbia Pictures Some of these films were Six Lessons from Madame La Zonga (1941), Playmates (1941) opposite John Barrymore and Redhead from Manhattan (1943). In 1943, the final film in the Spitfire series, Mexican Spitfire's Blessed Event was released. By that time, the novelty of the series had begun to wane.
Velez co-starred with Eddie Albert in a 1943 romantic comedy, Ladies' Day, about an actress and a baseball player. In 1944, Vélez returned to Mexico to star in an adaptation of Émile Zola's novel Nana, which was well received. It would be her final film. After filming wrapped, Vélez returned to Los Angeles and began preparing for another stage role in New York.
Image and personality
Throughout her career, Vélez's onscreen persona of a hot tempered, lusty "wild" woman was closely tied to her off screen personality. The press often referred to her by such names as "The Mexican Spitfire", "The Mexican It girl" and "The Mexican kitten". Vélez consciously chose to promote her "Whoopee Lupe" persona but dismissed the idea that she was wild. In a 1939 interview she stated, "... If I feel like a happy puppy, I wiggle like a happy puppy. When I am mad, I scream. When I'm in love, I sing. When I make love, I scream in ecstasy. Is this being wild? No! It is being Lupe!" In another interview she said: "What I attribute my success?, I think, simply, because i'm different. I'm not beautiful, but i have beautiful eyes and know exactly what to do with them. Although the public thinks that i'm a very wild girl. Actually i'm not. I'm just me, Lupe Vélez, simple and natural Lupe. If i'm happy, i dance and sing and acted like a child. And if something irritates me, i cry and sob. Someone called that "personality". The Personality is nothing more than behave with others as you really are. If I tried to look and act like Norma Talmadge, the great dramatic actress, or like Corinne Griffith, the aristocrat of the movies, or like Mary Pickford, the sweet and gentle Mary, i would be nothing more than an imitation. I just want to be myself: Lupe Velez".
Vélez's off-screen exploits also served to blur the line between her onscreen persona and her real personality. After her death, journalist Bob Thomas recalled that Vélez was a "lively part of the Hollywood scene" who wore loud clothing and made as much noise as possible. She attended boxing matches every Friday night at the Hollywood Legion Stadium and would stand on her ringside seat and scream at the fighters. Other stories circulated that supported the lusty and exhibitionist aspects of her image. There were reports that Vélez frequently lifted her skirt up while dancing at parties and also flashed people revealing that she did not wear underwear. Bert Lahr, who starred opposite Vélez in Hot-Cha!, claims that she rehearsed in the nude because she felt her costume was too restricting. Ruth Biery, a reporter for Photoplay magazine, later wrote that while visiting the actress at home, she witnessed Vélez "parading before a mirror — showing off herself to herself as openly and unconsciously as small children show off before company."
Vélez's well documented temper and jealousy also served to perpetuate the "Mexican Spitfire" persona. Her often tempestuous romantic relationships became tabloid fodder and often overshadowed her career. Vélez did nothing to stop these stories and regularly contacted gossip columnists to give them stories about her romantic exploits. Oft repeated tales chronicling her notorious temper include Vélez chasing her then lover Gary Cooper around with a knife during an argument and, on one occasion, slashing him severely enough to require stitches. After their breakup, Vélez attempted to shoot Cooper while he boarded a train. During her marriage to actor Johnny Weissmuller, stories of their frequent physical fights were regularly reported in the press. As with Cooper, Vélez reportedly inflicted scratches, bruises and hickeys on Weissmuller during their fights and "passionate lovemaking".
Vélez's ire and jealousy was often targeted at fellow actresses whom she deemed as rivals, professionally or otherwise, a habit which began back in her vaudeville days and continued in films. Vélez's image was that of a wild, highly sexualized woman who spoke her mind and was not considered a "lady", while fellow Mexican actress Dolores del Río's projected herself as sensual but classy and restrained, often hailing from aristocratic roots. Vélez accused del Río of being a snob and of malinchism. Vélez hated her, and called her "bird of bad omen". Del Río was terrified to meet her in public places. When this happened, Vélez showed scathing and aggressive. Vélez openly mimicked del Río ironically making fun of her elegance. Vélez also disliked Marlene Dietrich whom she suspected of having an affair with Gary Cooper while filming Morocco in 1930. Her rivalries with Jetta Goudal, Lilyan Tashman and Libby Holman were also well documented. In retaliation, Vélez would perform scathing impersonations of the women she disliked at Hollywood parties.
Relationships and marriage
Vélez was involved in several highly publicized and often stormy relationships over the course of her career. Upon arriving in Los Angeles, she was linked to actors Tom Mix, Charlie Chaplin and Clark Gable (who reportedly ended the relationship shortly after it began due to Vélez's reputation of publicly revealing intimate details about her lovers). Her first long-term, high-profile relationship was with actor Gary Cooper. Vélez met Cooper while filming The Wolf Song in 1929 and began a two-year affair with him. The relationship with Cooper was passionate but often stormy. When angered, Vélez reportedly physically assaulted Cooper. Cooper eventually ended the relationship in mid-1931 at the behest of his mother Alice who strongly disapproved of Vélez. By that time, the rocky relationship had taken its toll on Cooper who had lost 45 pounds and was suffering from nervous exhaustion. Paramount Pictures ordered him to take a vacation to recuperate. While he was boarding the train, Vélez showed up at the train station and fired a pistol at him.
After her breakup with Cooper, Vélez began a short-lived relationship with actor John Gilbert. They began dating in late 1931 while Gilbert was separated from his third wife Ina Claire. They were reportedly engaged but Gilbert ended the relationship in early 1932 and attempted to reconcile with Claire.
Shortly thereafter, Velez met actor Johnny Weissmuller while the two were in New York. After they both returned to Los Angeles, they dated off and on while Vélez also dated actor Errol Flynn. On October 8, 1933, Vélez and Weissmuller were married in Las Vegas. This relationship was also stormy with reports of domestic violence and public fights. In July 1934, after ten months of marriage, Vélez filed for divorce citing cruelty. She withdrew the petition a week later after reconciling with Weissmuller. On January 3, 1935, she filed for divorce a second time and was granted an interlocutory decree. That decree was dismissed when the couple reconciled a month later. In August 1938, Vélez filed for divorce for a third time again charging Weissmuller with cruelty. Their divorce was finalized in August 1939.
After her divorce became final, Vélez began dating actor Guinn "Big Boy" Williams in late 1940. They were reportedly engaged but never married. In late 1941, she became involved with author Erich Maria Remarque. Actress Luise Rainer later recalled that Remarque told her "with the greatest of glee" that he found Vélez's volatility wonderful. He recounted to Rainier an occasion when Vélez became so angry with him that she took her shoe off and hit him with it. After dating Remarque, Vélez was linked to boxers Jack Johnson and Jack Dempsey.
In 1943, Vélez began an affair with her La Zandunga co-star Arturo de Córdova. De Córdova had recently moved to Hollywood after signing with Paramount Pictures. Despite the fact that de Córdova was married to Mexican actress Enna Arana with whom he had four children, Vélez granted an interview to gossip columnist Louella Parsons in September 1943 and announced that the two were engaged. She told Parsons that she planned to retire after marrying de Córdova to "cook ... and keep house". Vélez ended the engagement in early 1944, reportedly after de Córdova's wife refused to give him a divorce.
Vélez then met and began dating a struggling young Austrian actor named Harald Maresch (who went by the stage name Harald Ramond). In September 1944, she discovered she was pregnant with Ramond's child. She announced their engagement in late November 1944. On December 10, four days before her death, Vélez announced she had ended the engagement and kicked Ramond out of her home.
On the evening of December 13, 1944, Vélez dined with her two friends, Estelle Taylor, the silent film star, and Benita Oakie. In the early morning hours of December 14, Vélez retired to her bedroom where she consumed 75 Seconal pills and a glass of brandy. Her secretary, Beulah Kinder, found the actress' body on her bed later that morning. A suicide note addressed to Harald Ramond was found nearby. It read:
"To Harald, May God forgive you and forgive me too, but I prefer to take my life away and our baby's before I bring him with shame or killing him. - Lupe."
On the back of the note, Vélez wrote:
"How could you, Harald, fake such a great love for me and our baby when all the time you didn't want us? I see no other way out for me so goodbye and good luck to you, Love Lupe."
The day after Vélez's death, Harald Ramond told the press that he was "so confused" by Vélez's suicide and claimed that even though the two had broken up, he had agreed to marry Vélez anyway. He admitted that he once asked Vélez to sign an agreement stating that he was only marrying her to "give the baby a name," but claimed he only did so because he and Vélez had had a fight and he was in a "terrible temper." Actress Estelle Taylor, who was with Vélez from 9:00 the previous night until 3:30 the morning Vélez died, told the press that Vélez had told her of her pregnancy, but said she would rather kill herself than have an abortion (Vélez was a devout Roman Catholic). Beulah Kinder, Vélez's secretary, later told investigators that after Vélez broke off the relationship with Ramond, she planned to go to Mexico to have her baby. Kinder said Vélez soon changed her mind after concluding that Ramond "faked" the relationship and considered having an abortion.
The day after Vélez's death, the Los Angeles County coroner requested that an inquest be opened to investigate the circumstances surrounding her death. On December 16, the coroner dropped the request after determining that Vélez had written the notes and that she had intended to kill herself. On December 22, a funeral for Vélez was held at the mortuary at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles. Among the pallbearers were Vélez's ex-husband, Johnny Weismuller, and actor Gilbert Roland. After the service, Vélez's body was sent by train to Mexico City where a second service was held on December 27. Her body was then interred at Panteón Civil de Dolores Cemetery.
Alternate theories and urban legend
Despite the coroner's ruling that Vélez committed suicide to avoid the shame of bearing an illegitimate child, some authors have theorized that the official account was not entirely true.
In the book From Bananas to Buttocks: The Latina Body in Popular Film and Culture, Rosa-Linda Fregoso writes that Vélez was known for her defiance of contemporary moral convention and that it seems unlikely that she could not have reconciled having a child out of wedlock. Fregoso believes that in the final year of her life, Vélez exhibited signs of extreme mania and depression. Fregoso goes on to speculate that Vélez's death may have been the result of an untreated mental illness such as bipolar disorder.
Journalist Robert Slatzer (who later claimed to have been secretly married to Marilyn Monroe) claimed that a few weeks before Vélez's death, he interviewed her at her home and she confided in him that she was pregnant with Gary Cooper's child (by that time, Cooper was married to socialite Veronica "Rocky" Balfe). According to Slatzer, Vélez said that Cooper refused to acknowledge the child, believing that Harald Ramond was the father. After Vélez died, Slatzer said he asked Cooper about the situation and Cooper confirmed that it was possible he might have been the father. Slatzer further claimed that he also interviewed Clara Bow (who had also dated Cooper in the 1920s), who revealed that shortly before Vélez's death, Cooper called her and screamed that he was going to kill Harald Ramond for impregnating Vélez. Slazter claimed that Bow told him that she never believed Vélez's baby was fathered by Ramond, and that she was convinced that Vélez had attempted to get Ramond to marry her to protect Cooper's reputation. Biographer Michelle Vogel speculated that if Cooper was the father, his rejection of Vélez and their child coupled with the idea of having to raise a child alone may have sent Vélez "over the edge".
Vélez's death was recounted in the 1959 book Hollywood Babylon by Kenneth Anger. In Anger's retelling, Vélez planned to stage a beautiful suicide scene atop her satin bed, but the Seconal she took did not mix well with the "Mexi-Spice Last Supper" that she had eaten earlier that evening. As a result, Anger said she became violently ill. Instead of dying on her bed as planned, Anger claimed that a dazed Vélez stumbled to the bathroom to vomit, slipped on the bathroom floor tile and fell head first into the toilet, where she subsequently drowned. Anger claimed that Vélez's "chambermaid" Juanita found her mistress the next morning (Vélez's secretary Beulah Kinder found her boss's body on her bed, not in the bathroom or with her head in the toilet). Despite the fact that Anger's version of events contradicts published reports and the official ruling, his story became something of an urban legend and is often repeated as fact - it was recounted in the pilot episode of the television comedy series Frasier. Vélez's biographer, Michelle Vogel, points out that it would have been "virtually impossible" for Vélez to have "stumbled to the bathroom" or even get off her bed after having consumed such a large amount of Seconal. Seconal is noted for being fast acting even in small doses and Vélez's death was likely instantaneous. Her death certificate lists "Seconal poisoning" due to "ingestion of Seconal" as the cause of death, not drowning. Further, there was also no evidence to suggest Vélez had vomited.
References in popular culture
- In Robert Stone's novel Children of Light, a troubled actress refers to a suicide-by-drowning scene she has just acted out as "Lupe Vélez takes a dunk."
- Vélez is mentioned in the Michael Chabon novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, as well as the 2000 film Wonder Boys, adapted from the Chabon novel of the same name.
- The Italian weekly puzzle magazine La Settimana Enigmistica, which features a crossword grid with an inset photograph of a personality from the world of entertainment, sport, music, theatre or cinema on the front cover, had Vélez on its first issue, published on January 23, 1932.
Films and television
- In 1949, the Los Angeles Daily News reported that the Puerto Rican dancer Marquita Rivera was chosen to star in a biographical film based on the life of the actress. However, due to the controversy over Vélez's suicide at that time, the film was never produced. The Cuban rumbera Amalia Aguilar was also in talks to star in a film about Vélez but later decided not to work in Hollywood and returned to Mexico.
- Andy Warhol's underground film, Lupe (1965), starring Edie Sedgwick as Vélez, is loosely based on the night of her suicide. The film features Sedgwick (in her last film role for Warhol) preparing a "beautiful suicide" only to end up drowning in the toilet bowl.
- In August 2009, the short film Forever Lupe premiered at the Seattle Latino Film Festival. Directed by Martín Caballero, the film is based on the life of Vélez and features Mexican actress Marieli Romo as Vélez.
- In 2012, it was reported that Mexican director Carlos Carrera was preparing to film the life of Lupe Vélez in a Mexican-American production. Mexican actress Ana de la Reguera was chosen to play Vélez.
- Vélez is played by the Cuban-Venezuelan actress María Conchita Alonso in the 2014 film Return to Babylon.
- In the pilot episode of the sitcom Frasier, "The Good Son", Frasier Crane's producer, Roz Doyle, tries to improve Frasier's outlook on his life by telling him the story of Lupe Velez, who she says "decided to take one final stab at immortality". Roz retells the urban legend version of Vélez's suicide, reminding Frasier that "even though things might not happen like we planned, they can work out anyway." When Frasier asks "how it worked out for Lupe", Roz tells him "all she wanted was to be remembered. Will you ever forget that story?" The very next call Frasier receives on his radio show, he asks the caller, "Have you ever heard of the story of Lupe Velez?"
- In the 1997 The Simpsons episode "Homer's Phobia", guest star John Waters takes the Simpson family, sans Homer, on a driving tour of Springfield's shopping district. During the tour, he points out a store where he claims Vélez bought the toilet she drowned in.
- (Vogel 2012, p. 9)
- "Lupe Velez's Sister Asks Court Advice". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. Daytona Beach, Florida. July 25, 1945. p. 3. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
- (Jameson, Hodge Armitage 1997, p. 490)
- (Rodriguez 2004, p. 65)
- (Ruíz, Sánchez Korrol 2006, p. 793)
- (Vogel 2012, pp. 35–36)
- Interview with María Conesa, part 6
- (Vogel 2012, p. 32)
- (Vogel 2012, p. 35)
- (Ramírez 1986, p. 32)
- (Vogel 2012, p. 29)
- The Story behind the Myth: Lupe Vélez part. 1/4 TV Azteca, México
- Myths and Recidivism: The Poets Loves Lupe Vélez
- from original signed contract
- (Vogel 2012, p. 37)
- (Gehring 2013, p. 96)
- (Rivera Viruet, Resto 2008, p. 27)
- (Fregoso 2010, pp. 52–53)
- (Frazier 2002, p. 326)
- (Rivera Viruet, Resto 2008, p. 29)
- (Olsen, Hudson 2002, p. 90)
- (Fregoso 2010, pp. 56–57)
- Cohen, Harold R. (February 24, 1932). "Lupe Velez In Town to Join "Hot-Cha!"". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. p. 17. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
- (Kenrick 2010, p. 208)
- (Soares 2010, p. 196)
- (Jenkins 2007, p. 136)
- (McBrien 2011, p. 215)
- (Citron 2005, p. 164)
- (Jameson, Hodge Armitage 1997, p. 484)
- (Greco Larson 2006, p. 61)
- (Austin 1991, p. 197)
- (Ramírez 1986, pp. 35, 63)
- Thomas, Bob (December 14, 1950). "Lupe Velez Legend Of Hollywood". The Evening Independent. St. Petersburg, Florida. p. 22. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
- (Lugo Cerra 2013, p. 61)
- Jenkins, Henry. "You Don't Say That In English: The Scandal of Lupe Velez". mit.edu.
- (Fleming 2003, p. 92)
- (Donnelley 2003, p. 708)
- (Frazier 2002, p. 327)
- (Wanamaker 1984, p. 38)
- (Moreno 2002, p. 138)
- (Bach 2011, p. 134)
- (Vogel 2012, p. 291)
- (Golden 2013, p. 229)
- "Lupe Velez and John Gilbert's Marriage Hinted". Eugene Register-Guard. Eugene, Oregon. October 15, 1931. p. 9. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
- (Weissmuller, Jr., Reed 2008, pp. 73–74)
- "Married Since Oct 8. Admits Lupe Velez". Reading Eagle. Reading, Pennsylvania. October 31, 1933. p. 17. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
- "Lupe Velez Decides To Drop Divorce Suit". Reading Eagle. Reading, Pennsylvania. July 20, 1934. p. 21. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
- "Lupe Velez Starts Divorce Suit Again". The Southeast Missourian. Cape Girardeau, Missouri. January 3, 1935. p. 1. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
- "Lupe, Johnny Find They Agree Once". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. August 17, 1939. p. 4. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
- "Lupe Velez To Marry Polo Player". Reading Eagle. Reading, Pennsylvania. October 17, 1940. p. 11. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
- (Austin 1994, p. 112)
- (Vogel 2012, p. 158)
- (Tims 2004, pp. 130, 186)
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- (Vogel 2007, p. 13)
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