Entertainment

Pioneer, Feminist, Proud Mexican: Katy Jurado Changed Hollywood In The 1950s

Whether you know Katy Jurado from your Mexican mami calling every one of her friend’s daughter’s “the next Katy Jurado” or from her actual 1940’s Golden Age of Mexican cinema films, Katy Jurado is a Latino household name.

She was stunning and often played the archetype of a villainous “femme fatale” that every Feminism 101 class studies. Above all, she was a pioneer for Latinas everywhere.

Her full name is María Cristina Estela Marcela Jurado García.

@cinemexicanotv / Instagram

Born in Guadalajara, to Luis Jurado Ochoa and Vicenta Estela García de la Garza. Luis was an lawyer and Vicenta was a singer. Vicenta’s brother, Katy’s uncle, was famous musician Belisario de Jesús García (think “Las Cuatro Milpas”).

Jurado was a Capricorn.

@VLo_CA / Twitter

She was born on January 16, 1924, and like a true Capricorn, she had major career ambitions. While she went to a school run by Guadalupe nuns, by the time she was a teenager, producers were inviting her to work as an actress.

She signed her first contract without permission from her parents, making her first film when she was 16.

@JoseACastillo21 / Twitter

When her parents found out, they threatened to send her to a boarding school in Monterrey. However, that did not deter her for chasing her dreams.

Her family was so wealthy, they owned most of Texas until the Revolution.

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Her parents’ holdings were confiscated during the Mexican Revolution, and the parental power mostly laid in Jurado’s abuelita.

Think of her as the Silver Screen Veronica Lodge. Katy Jurado was so set on pursuing her career, that she ended up working as a movie columnist and bullfight critic to support herself.

Katy Jurado’s love for bullfighting won over John Wayne himself.

@JoseACastillo21 / Twitter

Her work as a movie columnist and bullfight critic landed her within sight of John Wayne at a bullfight. He immediately cast her in his film Bullfighter and the Lady (1951).

They also briefly dated, va va voom.

After that film, Hollywood wanted her to play alongside Grace Kelly in “High Noon.”

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High Noon is as classic of a Western as you can get. These days, we think of them as an archaic past, but it was filmed in real time. A sheriff retires, but the plot thickens when some outlaws escape jail and come to get him.

She spoke no English and literally just memorized the sounds of the English lines.

@dcdulce / Twitter

She took English classes two hours a day for two months to begin to understand English for the role.

Caption: “I know the feeling Katy, I know the feeling. #BeingMexicanInTheUSAintEasy”

With that performance, she became the first Latina to win a Golden Globe.

@OldCinema4EVER / Instagram

In the film, she played a saloon owner, Helen Ramírez, an old love interest of star Gary Cooper. Katy Jurado is seen here consoling Cooper’s character’s wife (Grace Kelly), who is abandoning her husband. Ramirez convinces her to stay and fight.

Katy Jurado is best known for breaking stereotypes.

@moonchildmag / Instagram

The New York Times quotes Katy Jurado as being proud of her role on High Noon:

“I am very proud to make this picture because I look and act like a Mexican – not imitation. Some Mexicans go to Hollywood and lose a career in Mexico because they play imitation. I don’t want this to happen to me.”

Instead of being highly sexualized like other Mexican roles, Jurado took on villainous roles.

@kimloubat / Instagram

The LA Times quotes her as saying, “I didn’t take all the films that were offered, just those with dignity.” Once, she played a Jewish woman in “Barabbas” alongside Anthony Quinn. She told the Associated Press that she wouldn’t play shallow American stereotypes of Mexicans.

She got married when she was 15 years old.

@kimloubat / Instagram

She was with aspiring actor Victor Velázquez for four years before they divorced. They got married just three months after she signed that secret contract.

In 1959, she married actor Ernest Borgnine.

@SegundoPlatoCin / Twitter

The two met on the set of Vera Cruz, which was filmed in Mexico. The two divorced four years later.

He famously described her as “beautiful, but a tiger.”

@SegundoPlatoCin / Twitter

According to Laura Arnáiz’ biography of Katy Jurado’s life, Jurado said, “Borgnine and I met by accident when we collided 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 into hell.”

Katy Jurado also had an affair with Marlon Brando, who was simultaneously dating Rita Moreno.

@CitizenScreen / Twitter

He was also married to Movita Castaneda. After Brando saw her in High Noon, he was smitten and asked her out on a date, which became a years-long affair.

According to Darwin Porter’s biography of Marlon Brando, Brando Unzipped, years later Jurado recalled in an interview, “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.”

Jurado claims that the love of her life was novelist Louis L’Amour.

@WriterEZertuche / Instagram

According to El Periodico, Katy Jurado said, “I have letters of love that he wrote to me until the last day of his life, but because of our jobs we could never coincide, he was the man of my life, and I, the woman of his life, should have married that man .. . ”

After her son, Victor Hugo, tragically died in a car accident, she pulled out of acting.

@Sergiofordy / Twitter

She went to the funeral one day and the next went back to set. She said she hated the camera during that time as a symbol of what took her away from spending time with her kids while she had them.

Director John Huston invited Katy Jurado to act in Under the Volcano years later, to help pull her out of her depression.

That same year, she played alongside Héctor Elizondo in an ABC family sitcom.

@SilverAgeTV / Twitter

The most shocking element of this photo is realizing that Elizondo (famous for Princess Diaries) was ever young. The series only lasted six episodes.

In 1954, she became the first Mexican woman to be awarded los claves a NYC.

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She spent most of her life in her home in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, and said that she felt she’d have been more successful in Hollywood if she wasn’t so ready to leave Los Angeles between filming.

Jurado won three Silver Ariel awards and was nominated for an Oscar.

@oscar_moviestar / Instagram

The Ariels are the Mexican Oscars. Katy Jurado was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her work in Broken Lance.

This year, Google recognized Katy Jurado with a doodle on her birthday, January 16.

@juanmapregunta / Twitter

While today, we might find her villainous seduction problematic, Katy Jurado truly paved the way for more Latin American actresses to make a stake as something more than a sex object. She played women who had more than one side to them, who had motives, a brain, and a willingness to bend social norms to meet their needs.

Katy Jurado died in 2002 at age 78.

@cinemexicanotv / Instagram

You can find her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and marvel in her incredible performance on High Noon–remembering that she acted out a foreign language phonetically.


READ: 24 Latino Actors Who Didn’t Make It To The Oscars Because They Lived In The Pre-Social Media Age

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Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

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Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

Mexico City is the oldest surviving capital city in all of the Americas. It also is one of only two that actually served as capitals of their Indigenous communities – the other being Quito, Ecuador. But much of that incredible history is washed over in history books, tourism advertisements, and the everyday hustle and bustle of a city of 21 million people.

Recently, city residents voted on a non-binding resolution that could see the city’s name changed back to it’s pre-Hispanic origin to help shine a light on its rich Indigenous history.

Mexico City could soon be renamed in honor of its pre-Hispanic identity.

A recent poll shows that 54% of chilangos (as residents of Mexico City are called) are in favor of changing the city’s official name from Ciudad de México to México-Tenochtitlán. In contrast, 42% of respondents said they didn’t support a name change while 4% said they they didn’t know.

Conducted earlier this month as Mexico City gears up to mark the 500th anniversary of the fall of the Aztec empire capital with a series of cultural events, the poll also asked respondents if they identified more as Mexicas, as Aztec people were also known, Spanish or mestizo (mixed indigenous and Spanish blood).

Mestizo was the most popular response, with 55% of respondents saying they identified as such while 37% saw themselves more as Mexicas. Only 4% identified as Spaniards and the same percentage said they didn’t know with whom they identified most.

The poll also touched on the city’s history.

The ancient city of Tenochtitlán.

The same poll also asked people if they thought that the 500th anniversary of the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlán by Spanish conquistadoresshould be commemorated or forgotten, 80% chose the former option while just 16% opted for the latter.

Three-quarters of respondents said they preferred areas of the the capital where colonial-era architecture predominates, such as the historic center, while 24% said that they favored zones with modern architecture.

There are also numerous examples of pre-Hispanic architecture in Mexico City including the Templo Mayor, Tlatelolco and Cuicuilco archaeological sites.

Tenochtitlán was one of the world’s most advanced cities when the Spanish arrived.

Tenochtitlán, which means “place where prickly pears abound” in Náhuatl, was founded by the Mexica people in 1325 on an island located on Lake Texcoco. The legend goes that they decided to build a city on the island because they saw the omen they were seeking: an eagle devouring a snake while perched on a nopal.

At its peak, it was the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas. It subsequently became a cabecera of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Today, the ruins of Tenochtitlán are in the historic center of the Mexican capital. The World Heritage Site of Xochimilco contains what remains of the geography (water, boats, floating gardens) of the Mexica capital.

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Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

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Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

When it comes to international happiness rankings, Mexico has long done well in many measurements. In fact, in 2019, Mexico placed number 23 beating out every other Latin American country except for Costa Rica. But in 2020, things looks a lot different as the country slipped 23 spots on the list. What does this mean for Mexico and its residents? 

Mexico slips 23 spots on the World Happiness Report thanks to a variety of compelling factors.

Mexico plummeted 23 places to the 46th happiest nation in the world, according to the 2020 happiness rankings in the latest edition of the United Nations’ World Happiness Report. The coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on Mexicans’ happiness in 2020, the new report indicates.

“Covid-19 has shaken, taken, and reshaped lives everywhere,” the report noted, and that is especially true in Mexico, where almost 200,000 people have lost their lives to the disease and millions lost their jobs last year as the economy recorded its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

Based on results of the Gallup World Poll as well as an analysis of data related to the happiness impacts of Covid-19, Mexico’s score on the World Happiness Report index was 5.96, an 8% slump compared to its average score between 2017 and 2019 when its average ranking was 23rd.

The only nations that dropped more than Mexico – the worst country to be in during the pandemic, according to an analysis by the Bloomberg news agency – were El Salvador, the Philippines and Benin.

Mexico has struggled especially hard against the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Since the pandemic started, Mexico has fared far worse than many other countries across Latin America. Today, there are reports that Mexico has been undercounting and underreporting both the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths. Given this reality, the country is 2nd worst in the world when it comes to number of suspected deaths, with more than 200,000 people dead. 

Could the happiness level have an impact on this year’s elections?

Given that Mexico’s decline in the rankings appears related to the severity of the coronavirus pandemic here, one might assume that the popularity of the federal government – which has been widely condemned for its management of the crisis from both a health and economic perspective – would take a hit.

But a poll published earlier this month found that 55.9% of respondents approved of President López Obrador’s management of the pandemic and 44% indicated that they would vote for the ruling Morena party if the election for federal deputies were held the day they were polled.

Support for Morena, which apparently got a shot in the arm from the national vaccination program even as it proceeded slowly, was more than four times higher than that for the two main opposition parties, the PAN and the PRI.

Still, Mexico’s slide in the happiness rankings could give López Obrador – who has claimed that ordinary Mexicans are happier with him in office – pause for thought.

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