Entertainment

Maria Felix Refused Roles In Hollywood Until She Established Her Career In Mexico

Maria Felix is one of the most recognizable actresses of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema, probably because her career spanned 47 films made in Mexico, Spain, France, Italy, and Argentina, as well as Hollywood. She was a feminist icon and well-known for refusing roles that portray Mexicans as anything less than complex characters with full personhood.

Affectionately known as María Bonita y La Doña, Maria Felix overcame truly Hollywood-level plot twists in her life, including kidnapping and being widowed not once but twice, to get to where she went.

Félix had eleven siblings.

@aresluoga / Twitter

That’s right. Her poor mother, Josefina Güereña Rosas, raised a dozen children. Her father, Bernardo Félix Flores was a military officer and descendent of the Yaqui indigenous people.

María de los Ángeles Félix Güereña was born in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico in 1914.

@agguman / Twitter

The Aries star was born on April 8, but because her birthday was reported to the Mexican government on May 4, her government IDs recognize her birthday almost a full month later. Google honored her actual day of birth with this doodle.

Félix refused to change her name to meet Hollywood anglo standards.

@astolenparadise / Twitter

Producers tried to persuade her to use the name Diana del Mar or Marcia Maris, but she refused. She actually insisted on María de Los Ángeles Félix but conceded to shorten it, so long it was still her name.

As a child, her mother sent her brother Pablo to a military academy after fearing they might have an incestuous relationship.

@aresluoga / Twitter

Literally, I have no doubt that this is just a classic case of Mexicana mami catastrophizing melodrama that probably just made their fraternal relationship a tad awkward.

After her family moved to Guadalajara, she was crowned Beauty Queen.

@_LAluv / Twitter

That was when she met Enrique Álvarez Alatorre, a cosmetics salesman, and her eventual first husband. They were married for six years and had Félix’ only child, Enrique.

Félix was a receptionist at a plastic surgeon’s office in Mexico City.

@Mkeenan4371 / Twitter

After she returned home to Guadalajara, she couldn’t take the chismosa about her divorcée status. She took Enrique to Mexico City with her and the two lived in a guest house.

Félix had to plan an elaborate scheme to kidnap her son back from his father.

@Soledad_Haren / Twitter

One day, Enrique’s father came to visit him and just refused to give him back. The story goes that her soon-to-be second husband Agustín Lara helped her plan the recovery, which included tricking the boy’s grandmother and kidnapping Enrique back.

When is someone going to make a movie out of that?

Félix was afraid that Lara was a cocaine addict.

@lambo_balmain / Twitter

Once, she found a piece of paper with white powder in it and decided to actually snort it. She was curious, okay. Nothing happened. It was sulfathiazole powder, which is used to clean cuts.

Lara was a famous composer that immortalized Félix, penning her first nickname “María Bonita” in song.

@BeatriceMarge / Twitter

They divorced two years later because of Lara’s abusive jealousy. In Félix’ autobiography, she wrote that he even once tried to kill her in a fit of violent jealousy.

She was discovered while walking down the street in Mexico City.

@grisellepreston / Twitter

Director and filmmaker Fernando Palacios spotted her and immediately asked if she wanted to make movies. He started bringing her to his film circles and even to Hollywood.

She turned down Hollywood’s offer to make it big, saying she wanted to begin her career in Mexico.

@aresluoga / Twitter

This is a woman who was so sought after, she had her pick of the litter to debut. She chose a female lead role directed by Miguel Zacarías, El Peñón de las Ánimas.

She got the Doña Bárbara gig because the novelist was obsessed with her.

@MARS0411 / Twitter

Rómulo Gallegos met her at a luncheon in Club Chapultepec and became infatuated. He decided she would be the only one that could play “my Doña Bárbara.” She’s been known as La Doña ever since.

Over ten years after filming El Peñón de las Ánimas alongside her then enemy, Jorge Negrete, they united and fell in love.

@OfficialCLM / Twitter

Allegedly, Negrete asked her, “I’m curious, who did you sleep with to get the starring role?” and she responded with “You’ve been in the business longer, so you must know who you have to sleep with to be a star.”

Over a decade later, they reunited in Argentina, fell in love and got married. He was sick at the time and died just 11 months into the marriage.

Diego Rivera was obsessed with her.

@firmeprincess / Twitter

In her autobiography, she writes that he “loved me hopelessly for nearly ten years.” He would send her cards with toad-frog drawings and wrote to her as the Holy Virgencita de Catipoato. He’d joke that he was the pope of his fake Marifeliana religion.

Félix’s home in Tlalpan had over 100 animals on the property.

@llcastro90 / Twitter

Rivera himself sent 80 rattlesnakes from Oaxaca. She had 14 dogs, most of whom were strays that she took in from the street. She also had 600 fruit trees and 18 employees that worked the grounds alone.

Her son, Enrique, tragically died of a heart attack in 1996.

@pa_recordar / Twitter

At the time, he was himself an actor in film and television. In her autobiography, she wrote of how much she adored him:

“Enrique is a very gifted man, with admirable common sense. He’s my best friend. I have so much fun with him. He’s not a ‘mama’s boy,’ as many believe. Self-employed, fight like being independent. He has his own career, his audience, his poster and assumes his responsibilities without relying on me.”

Her last husband died of lung cancer just months after her own mother died.

@girlindodgerblu / Twitter

She fell into a deep depression for a long time. The only thing that helped her be happy again was horses.

She focused the rest of her life on her stable of horses.

@agguman / Twitter

The stable became famous in France, and her Spanish named horses (María Bonita, Mayab, Zapata, Chingo and Vera) competed in derbies. It was there that her late husband was buried and where she’d stay for many years.

She was famous for her jewelry collection.

@EABR05 / Twitter

This very snake necklace was commissioned from Cartier Paris and is entirely encrusted with 178.21 diamond carats. Cartier has even debuted a La Doña de Cartier collection full of reptilian inspired fine jewelry.

Félix had a lock of gray hair that she only showed in Doña Bárbara.

@ricardoisaac3 / Twitter

She hid it in every other movie and even in photos. It was passed down to her by her father.

María Félix died on her birthday in 2002.

@dearmilano / Twitter

She was 88 years old and died in her sleep in Mexico City. She was buried alongside her son and parents in the family tomb.


READ: 7 Quotes from La Doña María Félix that Will Get You through the Week

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This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

Entertainment

This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

On a recent episode of ABC’s game show To Tell The Truth, three celebrity panelists were tasked to uncover the identity of a real mariachi singer.

Each contender embodied “non-traditional” attributes of mariachi culture either through physical appearance or language barriers, leaving the panelists stumped.

When it came time for the big reveal, with a humble smile 53-year-old Timoteo “El Charro Negro” stood up wowing everyone. Marveled by his talents, Timoteo was asked to perform unveiling his smooth baritone voice.

While not a household name in the U.S., his career spans over 25 years thriving on the catharsis of music.

Timoteo “El Charro Negro” performing “Chiquilla Linda” on Dante Night Show in 2017.

Originally from Dallas, Texas, Timoteo, born Timothy Pollard, moved to Long Beach, California with his family when he was eight years old. The move to California exposed Pollard to Latin culture, as the only Black family in a Mexican neighborhood.

As a child, he recalled watching Cantinflas because he reminded him of comedian Jerry Lewis, but musically he “got exposed to the legends by chance.”

“I was bombarded by all the 1960s, ’70s, and ’50s ranchera music,” Timoteo recalls to mitú.

The unequivocal passion mariachi artists like Javier Solis and Vicente Fernandez possessed heavily resonated with him.

“[The neighbors] always played nostalgic music, oldies but goodies, and that’s one thing I noticed about Mexicans,” Timoteo says. “They can be in their 20s but because they’ve grown up listening to the oldies it’s still very dear to them. That’s how they party.”

For as long as he can remember, Pollard “was born with the genetic disposition to love music,” knowing that his future would align with the arts.

After hearing Vicente Fernandez sing “Lástima Que Seas Ajena,” an awakening occurred in Pollard. While genres like hip-hop and rap were on the rise, Pollard’s passion for ranchera music grew. It was a moment when he realized that this genre best suited his big voice.

Enamored, Pollard began to pursue a career as a Spanish-language vocalist.

El Charro Negro
Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

At 28, Timoteo began learning Spanish by listening and singing along to those artists he adored in his youth.

“When I decided that I wanted to be a mariachi, I didn’t think it was fair to exploit the culture and not understand the language,” he says. “If I’m going to sing, I need to be able to communicate with my audience and engage with them. I need to understand what I’m saying because it was about honor and respect.”

Pollard began performing local gigs after picking up the language in a matter of months. He soon attracted the attention of “Big Boy” Radio that adorned him the name Timoteo “El Charro Negro.”

Embellishing his sound to highlight his Black heritage, Pollard included African instruments like congas and bongos in his orchestra. Faintly putting his own spin on a niche genre, Pollard avoided over-saturating the genre’s sound early in his career.

Embraced by his community as a beloved mariachi, “El Charro Negro” still encountered race-related obstacles as a Black man in the genre.

“There are those [in the industry] who are not in the least bit thrilled to this day. They won’t answer my phone calls, my emails, my text messages I’ve sent,” he says. “The public at large hasn’t a problem with it, but a lot of the time it’s those at the helm of decision making who want to keep [the genre] exclusively Mexican.”

“El Charro Negro” persisted, slowly attracting fans worldwide while promoting a message of harmony through his music.

In 2007, 12 years into his career, Pollard received a golden ticket opportunity.

El Charro Negro
Pollard (left) seen with legendary Mexican artist Vicente Fernandez (right) in 2007. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In a by-chance encounter with a stagehand working on Fernandez’s tour, Pollard was offered the chance to perform onstage. The singer was skeptical that the offer was legit. After all, what are the chances?

The next day Pollard went to his day job at the time and said, “a voice in my head, which I believe was God said, ‘wear your blue velvet traje tonight.'”

That evening Pollard went to a sold-out Stockton Area where he met his idol. As he walked on the stage, Pollard recalls Fernandez insisting that he use his personal mic and band to perform “De Que Manera Te Olvido.”

“[Fernandez] said he did not even want to join me,” he recollects about the show. “He just was kind and generous enough to let me sing that song on his stage with his audience.”

The crowd applauded thunderously, which for Pollard was a sign of good things to come.

El Charro Negro
Timoteo “El Charro Negro” with Don Francisco on Don Francisco Presenta in 2011. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In 2010, he released his debut album “Me Regalo Contigo.” In perfect Spanish, Pollard sings with great conviction replicating the soft tones of old-school boleros.

Unraveling the rollercoaster of relationships, heart-wrenchingly beautiful ballads like “Me Regalo Contigo” and “Celos” are his most streamed songs. One hidden gem that has caught the listener’s attention is “El Medio Morir.”

As soon as the track begins it is unlike the others. Timoteo delivers a ’90s R&B love ballad in Spanish, singing with gumption as his riffs and belts encapsulate his unique sound and story.

Having appeared on shows like Sabado Gigante, Don Francisco Presenta, and Caso Cerrado in 2011, Timoteo’s career prospered.

Timoteo hasn’t released an album since 2010 but he keeps his passion alive. The singer has continued to perform, even during the Covid pandemic. He has high hopes for future success and original releases, choosing to not slow down from his destined musical journey.

“If God is with me, who can be against me? It may not happen in a quick period of time, but God will make my enemies my footstool,” he said.

“I’ve continued to be successful and do some of the things I want to do; maybe not in a particular way or in particular events, but I live in a very happy and fulfilled existence.”

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Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Entertainment

Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Luis Fonsi is kicking off 2021 with a new single. The Puerto Rican superstar premiered the music video for “Vacío” on Feb. 18 featuring rising Boricua singer Rauw Alejandro. The guys put a new spin on the classic “A Puro Dolor” by Son By Four.

Luis Fonsi throws it back to his románticas.

“I called Omar Alfanno, the writer of ‘A Puro Dolo,’ who is a dear friend,” Fonsi tells Latido Music. “I told him what my idea was [with ‘Vacío’] and he loved it. He gave me his blessing, so I wrote a new song around a few of those lines from ‘A Puro Dolor’ to bring back that nostalgia of those old romantic tunes that have been a part of my career as well. It’s a fresh production. It sounds like today, but it has that DNA of a true, old-school ballad.”

The world got to know Luis Fonsi through his global smash hit “Despacito” with Daddy Yankee in 2017. The remix with Canadian pop star Justin Bieber took the song to new heights. That was a big moment in Fonsi’s music career that spans over 20 years.

There’s more to Fonsi than “Despacito.”

Fonsi released his first album, the fittingly-titled Comenzaré, in 1998. While he was on the come-up, he got the opportunity of a lifetime to feature on Christina Aguilera’s debut Latin album Mi Reflejo in 2000. The two collaborated on “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” Luis Fonsi scored multiple Billboard Hot Latin Songs No. 1s in the years that followed and one of the biggest hits was “No Me Doy Por Vencido” in 2008. That was his career-defining romantic ballad.

“Despacito” remains the second most-viewed music video on YouTube with over 7.2 billion views. The hits did not stop there. Later in 2017, he teamed up with Demi Lovato for “Échame La Culpa,” which sits impressively with over 2 billion views.

He’s also appearing on The Voice next month.

Not only is Fonsi working on his new album, but also he’s giving advice to music hopefuls for the new season of The Voice that’s premiering on March 1. Kelly Clarkson tapped him as her Battle Advisor. In an exclusive interview, Fonsi talked with us about “Vacío,” The Voice, and a few of his greatest hits.

What was the experience like to work with Rauw Alejandro for “Vacío”?

Rauw is cool. He’s got that fresh sound. Great artist. Very talented. Amazing onstage. He’s got that great tone and delivery. I thought he had the perfect voice to fit with my voice in this song. We had talked about working together for awhile and I thought that this was the perfect song. He really is such a star. What he’s done in the last couple of years has been amazing. I love what he brought to the table on this song.

Now I want to go through some of your greatest hits. Do you remember working with Christina Aguilera for her Spanish album?

How could you not remember working with her? She’s amazing. That was awhile back. That was like 1999 or something like that. We were both starting out and she was putting out her first Spanish album. I got to sing a beautiful ballad called “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” I got to work with her in the studio and see her sing in front of the mic, which was awesome. She’s great. One of the best voices out there still to this day.

What’s one of your favorite memories of “No Me Doy Por Vencido”?

“No Me Doy Por Vencido” is one of the biggest songs in my career. I think it’s tough to narrow it down just to one memory. I think in general the message of the song is what sticks with me. The song started out as a love song, but it turned into an anthem of hope. We’ve used the song for different important events and campaigns. To me, that song has such a powerful message. It’s bigger than just a love song. It’s bringing hope to people. It’s about not giving up. To be able to kind of give [people] hope through a song is a lot more powerful than I would’ve ever imagined. It’s a very special song.

I feel the message is very relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic we’re living through.

Oh yeah! I wrote that song a long time ago with Claudia Brant, and during the first or second month of the lockdown when we were all stuck at home, we did a virtual writing session and we rewrote “No Me Doy Por Vencido.” Changing the lyrics, kind of adjusting them to this situation that we’re living now. I haven’t recorded it. I’ll do something with it eventually. It’s really cool. It still talks about love. It talks about reuniting. Like the light at the end of the tunnel. It has the hope and love backbone, but it has to do a lot with what we’re going through now.

What do you think of the impact “Despacito” made on the industry?

It’s a blessing to be a part of something so big. Again, it’s just another song. We write these songs and the moment you write them, you don’t really know what’s going to happen with them. Or sometimes you run into these surprises like “Despacito” where it becomes a global phenomenon. It goes No. 1 in places where Spanish songs had never been played. I’m proud. I’m blessed. I’m grateful to have worked with amazing people like Daddy Yankee. Like Justin Bieber for the remix and everyone else involved in the song. My co-writer Erika Ender. The producers Mauricio Rengifo and Andrés Torres. It was really a team effort and it’s a song that obviously changed my career forever.

What was the experience like to work with Demi Lovato on “Echáme La Culpa”?

She’s awesome! One of the coolest recording sessions I’ve ever been a part of. She really wanted to sing in Spanish and she was so excited. We did the song in Spanish and English, but it was like she was more excited about the Spanish version. And she nailed it! She nailed it from the beginning. There was really not much for me to say to her. I probably corrected her once or twice in the pronunciation, but she came prepared and she brought it. She’s an amazing, amazing, amazing vocalist.

You’re going to be a battle advisor on The Voice. What was the experience like to work with Kelly Clarkson?

She’s awesome. What you see is what you get. She’s honest. She’s funny. She’s talented. She’s humble and she’s been very supportive of my career. She invited me to her show and it speaks a lot that she wanted me to be a part of her team as a Battle Advisor for the new season. She supports Latin music and I’m grateful for that. She’s everything you hope she would be. She’s the real deal, a true star, and just one of the coolest people on this planet.

What can we expect from you in 2021?

A lot of new music. Obviously, everything starts today with “Vacío.” This is literally the beginning of what this new album will be. I’ve done nothing but write and record during the last 10 months, so I have a bunch of songs. Great collaborations coming up. I really think the album will be out probably [in the] third or fourth quarter this year. The songs are there and I’m really eager for everybody to hear them.

Read: We Finally Have A Spanish-Language Song As The Most Streamed Song Of All Time

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