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|Born||Mona Maria Emita Capdeville
November 7, 1903
Buenos Aires, Argentina
|Died||March 21, 1991
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Herman Rick (1960-1969) (divorced)
Ancestry and education
Her given name was Mona Maria Emita Capdeville. Her mother was a Spanish Basque and her father a French Catalan. Maris was educated in England, France, and Germany and by the age of nineteen she spoke four languages.
Maris' ambition to become an actress originated during World War I, when she was a pupil in Luders, France. Together with her classmates she wrote, directed, and presented short plays to entertain soldiers billeted near the school. After graduation Maris begged to go to England and her mother finally relented. In England she found a woman was given much more freedom than in either Spain or South America. She traveled to England under the indirect chaperonage of an Argentine family.
Her stay was intended to last only six months, but was extended another two years. The Argentine ambassador in Berlin received a letter which led to Maris being introduced to the President of the United Film Association. Soon she journeyed to Germany, where she participated in Universum Film AG productions. She was given a screen test during which the camera was not loaded with film. A prominent director noticed Maris and offered her a five-year contract. She counseled with her grandmother, who reluctantly allowed her to accept.
Joe Schenck, president of United Artists, granted her the prospect of a Hollywood career. At the time she had completed just four films in Germany. Her Hollywood film career began with the 1925 movie The Apache and continued until the 1980s when she appeared in Camila (1984).
It was her inability to speak fluent English which interrupted, and nearly ended Maris' film career. Spanish, French, and German came easily for her, but in the early years of talkies, her English was almost unintelligible. From 1931 until 1941 she starred in nineteen Spanish-language versions of successful American pictures, which were produced by the Fox Film Company. Maris also appeared in seven English dialogue motion pictures for three studios.
She was married twice. Her first marriage took place while she was working in Europe and was terminated before she travelled to the United States, and her second marriage was to Clarence Brown.
Mona Maris died of lung disease in Buenos Aires on March 23, 1991.
- The Apache (1925)
- The Prince of Pappenheim (1927)
- The Serfs (1928)
- The Three Women of Urban Hell (1928)
- Romance of the Rio Grande (1929)
- The Arizona Kid (1930)
- South of the Rio Grande (1932)
- Downward Slope (1934)
- The Singer of Naples (1935)
- Flight from Destiny (1941)
- Underground (1941)
- Law of the Tropics (1941)
- Berlin Correspondent (1942)
- Heartbeat (1946)
- The Avengers (1950)
- Frederick Post, Hollywood, Tuesday Morning, August 26, 1941, Page 4.
- Los Angeles Times, "Argentine Film Actress Given Welcome Here", January 1, 1929, Page A1.
- Los Angeles Times, "Mona Maris Gives Recipe for Foreign Actress to Get By Successfully in Hollywood", December 29, 1929, Page B11.
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