The Zombieslayer sort of got this topic rolling and I couldn't just let the chance pass to hand out some praise for two exceptional Spanish women. First, Margarita Carmen Cansino - who you perhaps know as Rita Hayworth.
Although she was born in New York and raised in Southern California, Rita remained a Spanish girl throughout life. Her father was Spanish and the family had strong roots back in the old country.
Rita, the queen of the pinups, was not only a lovely face, she could also hoof it with the best of them. Ginger Rogers might have been the partner, but for several Hollywood stars, Rita Hayworth was the better dancer. That's not just some studio spin either. Her father was perhaps the best known Spanish dancer in early Hollywood. He not only appeared in many movies after closing out his wildly successful show in New York and moving to Hollywood, he also became a well regarded choreographer and dance teacher.
Young Rita was brought up to dance and spent hours in the studio. She was actually 'discovered' by a studio bigwig when he saw her dance in a show with her father.
She did some small parts, did some more parts and then finally hit it big. And hit it big she did. Mostly known for playing steamy sirens, Hayworth was longed after by many men of the time. During the war, she was the armed forces' most popular pinup girl and she returned the compliment by performing in shows, working in the USO canteen and entertaining soldiers. She was also active in fund raising.
Like many actors and actresses of the time, Hayworth had a rocky romantic life. She had a handful of marriages and divorces and was, sadly, never able to find that careful balance of successful career and quiet lifestyle that she sought.
Two of her more famous marriages included a marriage to Orsen Welles and a marriage to Prince Aly Khan. Yup, she was a real princess, much like a certain starlet named Grace Kelly.
In later life, Rita developed Alzheimer's disease and was unable to work in movies. Her daughter, Princess Yasmin Agha Khan cared for her during her final years. She left behind a string of excellent movies and thousands of adoring fans. Not such a terrible legacy really.
And just so you don't think I'm stuck in the past, I present Paz Vega. Vega is already well known in Spain and around the world, but is still a bit of a unknown here in the States.
You might remember her for her charming, yet solid performance in 'Spanglish.' Somehow, Vega manages to convey a range of emotion with very little spoken...or, at least, very little English spoken. Her portrayal of a single mom trying to do the best for her daughter is really very good.
If you want to see another side of this excellent - and beautiful - actress, you should rent 'Sex and Lucia' or Pedro Almodovar's 'Talk To Her.' Come to think of it, I haven't had the chance to watch 'Talk To Her' straight through, so that might be on the plate this weekend.
Here's the quick low down on lovely Paz Vega:
She was born Paz Campos Trigo on January 2, 1976, in Seville, the Spanish town famous for Carmen and singing barbers. The slender and athletic Paz first dreamed of being a sports star and later aspired to politics. But at age 15, all it took was a day at the theater to cement her ambitions; a performance of La Casa de Bernarda Alba set her sights on acting for good.
And, sadly for us guys, Paz Vega lives in Madrid with husband Orson Salazar. The streets run wet with my tears...