María del Pilar Cordero
March 1, 1910
|Died||August 2, 1998 (aged 88)|
|Occupation||Actress and dancer|
Maria del Pilar Cordero, better known as Mapy Cortés (Santurce, San Juan, Puerto Rico March 1, 1910 – Isla Verde, Puerto Rico August 2, 1998) was a Puerto Rican stage, film and television actress and dancer who participated in many films during the Golden Age of Mexican cinema, where she became one of the industry's most beloved and bankable stars of the 1940s.
Mapy Cortés began experimenting as an actress since an early age, working in Puerto Rican amateur theater. In the early 1930s, Mapy traveled to New York City, where she married childhood friend Fernando "Papi" Cortés. Under contract to a theatrical troupe headlined by Dominican baritone Eduardo Brito, the couple traveled to Spain. After the company disbanded, the couple began performing in different teatro de revista companies, primarily in Barcelona. In 1933, Mapy Cortés made her film debut as one of the two female leads in the comedy Dos Mujeres y un Don Juan (Two Women and a don Juan). By that time Cortés had a nephew, Paquito Cordero, who would become a famed actor and producer in Puerto Rico.
After the start of the Spanish Civil War, Mapy and Fernando Cortés went to Marseilles before making their way down to Argentina. Following stops in Buenos Aires and Havana, where they appeared on stage and movies, the couple traveled to Mexico City. They made their stage debut as part of the Cantinflas revue and soon joined the growing Mexican film industry, which lacked established female stars. Back-to-back starring roles in three hit films - the Pan-American musical La liga de las canciones / The League of Songs (Chano Urueta, 1941), the nostalgia musical comedy ¡Ay, qué tiempos, señor don Simón! / Oh, What Times, Don Simon! (Julio Bracho, 1941) and the Cantinflas comedy El gendarme desconocido / The Unknown Policeman (Miguel M. Delgado, 1941) - quickly turned Mapy Cortés into one of the most bankable leading ladies in Mexican cinema. In 1942, Cortés made her only foray into Hollywood cinema, playing a singer in the 1942 RKO wartime musical comedy Seven Days' Leave. Her eponymous character is engaged to Victor Mature's soldier character before he falls in love with a socialite played by Lucille Ball.
After filming ended, Mapy Cortés returned to fulfill multiple engagements in Mexico, playing top-billed roles in musical comedies. In 1945, the Mapy Cortés vehicle La pícara Susana / Mischievous Susana (1945) marked the directorial debut of her husband Fernando, who remained very active as a comedy director in Mexican film and TV, directing vehicles for popular Mexican comedians like Tin-Tan, Resortes, and la India Maria.
While Fernando remained in demand as director until his death, Mapy's film career waned in the 1950s. The couple received an invitation from Ángel Ramos, owner of El Mundo Enterprises, to work on the first television transmission of WKAQ-TV Telemundo Channel 2. On March 28, 1954, Puerto Rico received its first television transmission from Telemundo: a live broadcast of the Spanish comedy El caso de la mujer asesinadita, starring Mapy and directed by Fernando. The couple also starred in the station's first comedy show Mapy y Papi, an adaptation of the I Love Lucy format that also featured Maria Judith Franco and Mapy's nephew Paquito Cordero. After the show came off the air in Puerto Rico, the couple returned to Mexico City, where they starred in a Mexican version of Mapy y Papi.
Her niece Mapita Cortés, Miss Puerto Rico 1957, lived with them in Mexico City and briefly joined the Mexican film industry in the late 1950s. After an eight-year absence, Mapy Cortés made a brief return to Mexican cinema with a supporting role in the comedy Dormitorio para señoritas / Girls' Dormitory (1959), a loose remake of her 1943 hit Internado para señoritas / Girls' Dormitory (1943), starring Mapita and directed by husband Fernando. However, Mapita retired after her marriage to popular Chilean crooner Lucho Gatica. By the 1960s, Mapy was working mostly on the Mexico City stage, including roles in comedies by Spanish author Alfonso Paso. Her last film appearances were playing supporting roles in three Puerto Rican/Mexican co-productions, filmed in Puerto Rico, directed by her husband, and produced by her nephew Paquito.
After Fernando Cortés died, Mapy Cortés returned to Puerto Rico and led a relatively quiet life. She died at her home in 1998, of a heart attack. She was buried at the Puerto Rico Memorial Cemetery in Carolina, Puerto Rico.
- Dos mujeres y un don Juan / Two Women and a don Juan (1933, Spain)
- El paraíso recobrado / The Recovered Paradise (1935, Spain)
- No me mates / Don't Kill Me (1935, Spain)
- The Wildcat (1936, Spain)
- ¡Centinela, alerta! / Guard, Alert! (1936, Spain)
- El amor gitano / Gypsy Love (1936, Spain)
- Un tipo de suerte / A Lucky Guy (1938, Argentina)
- Ahora Seremos Felices / We Will Be Happy Now (1938, Cuba)
- Papá se desenreda / Dad Untangles (1940, Mexico)
- Cinco minutos de amor / Five Minutes of Love (1941, Mexico)
- ¡Ay, qué tiempos, señor don Simón! / Oh, What Times, Don Simon! (1941, Mexico)
- La liga de las canciones / The League of Songs (1941, Mexico)
- El gendarme desconocido / The Unknown Policeman (1941, Mexico)
- The Count of Monte Cristo (1942, Mexico)
- Las cinco noches de Adán / Adam's Five Nights (1942, Mexico)
- Seven Days' Leave (1942, United States)
- Yo bailé con don Porfirio / I Danced with Don Porfirio (1942, Mexico)
- Internado para señoritas / Girls' Dormitory (1943, Mexico)
- El globo de Cantolla / Cantolla's Balloon (1943, Mexico)
- La guerra de los pasteles / The War of Pastries (1943, Mexico)
- La corte del faraón / The Pharaoh's Court (1943, Mexico)
- La hija del regimiento / The Regiment's Daughter (1944, Mexico)
- La pícara Susana / Mischievous Susana (1945, Mexico)
- Un beso en la noche / A Kiss at Night (1945, Mexico)
- El amor las vuelve locas / Love Drives Them Crazy (1945, Mexico)
- Amor de una vida / Love of a Lifetime (1945, Mexico)
- El sexo fuerte / The Strong Sex (1945, Mexico)
- Los maridos engañan de 7 a 9 / Men Cheat from 7 to 9 (1946, Mexico)
- No te cases con mi mujer / Don't Marry My Wife (1946, Mexico)
- Al marido hay que seguirlo / A Husband Must Be Followed (1948, Argentina)
- Las tandas del Principal / The Shows at the Principal (1949, Mexico)
- Recién casados... no molestar / Just Married... Don't Bother (1950, Mexico)
- Venezuela también canta / Venezuela Also Sings (1951, Venezuela)
- Dormitorio para señoritas / Girls' Dormitory (1959, Mexico)
- Lamento borincano / Puerto Rican Lament (1963, Mexico/Puerto Rico co-production)
- En mi viejo San Juan / In My Old San Juan (1965, Mexico/Puerto Rico co-production)
- Luna de miel en Puerto Rico / Honeymoon in Puerto Rico (1966, Mexico/Puerto Rico co-production)
- Agrasánchez Jr., Rogelio (2001). Bellezas del cine mexicano/Beauties of Mexican Cinema. Archivo Fílmico Agrasánchez. ISBN 968-5077-11-8.
- Ortiz, Roberto Carlos. "Puerto Rican Sugar: The Transnational Film Career of Mapy Cortés." Centro Journal 17.1 (Spring 2005): 122-139.