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The Iconic Carmen Salinas Has Passed Away at 82, Leaving An Inimitable Legacy in Acting, Politics and Beyond

Inimitable Mexican actress Carmen Salinas passed away at 82-years-old on Thursday, December 9, 2021 after suffering a stroke in November while filming a telenovela, which left her in a month-long coma.

The Torreón, Coahuila-born icon was known for her nearly six-decade career, starting out as a telenovela actress in shows like “Casa de Vecindad,”  “La Razón de Vivir,” and “Frontera” in the 1960s. Salinas was a fierce mujer empoderada, starting out from truly humble beginnings that included her father walking out on her family, and a mother who raised Salinas and her eight siblings on her own.

As the actress herself explained in a video last year, her family went through all kinds of hardships and poverty when she was a child, leading her and her siblings to live in an orphanage for some time. While the move was meant to ensure they were fed and cared for, Salinas has explained that they were subjected to physical abuse instead.

Difficulties notwithstanding, Salinas decided to follow her dreams and didn’t let anyone stop her: singing and acting in small plays in Torreón, the actress wrote on Twitter that she was discovered at the age of 14 by a promoter named Carlos Amador. She quickly moved to la Ciudad de México, debuting in a theater production called Cine Ópera. Writing “gracias Dios mío por todo,” it’s clear Salinas achieved exactly what she set out to do in life — and never looked back. 

The actress got married at just 17-years-old to musician Pedro Plascencia Ramírez, eight years her senior, and gave birth to children Pedro and Maria while also tragically enduring 5 miscarriages. Even then, she worked non-stop, taking on major telenovela roles throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s like “La Sonrisa del Diablo,” “Sublime Redención,” and “Elisa.” But her true claim to fame? Her roles in cine de ficheras, an erotic, comedic cinema style rooted in Mexico.

Salinas quickly became a movie legend, taking on fierce, fearless roles in films like “Bellas de Noche,” a cabaret drama, “Muñecas de Medianoche,” based on the mafia, and “Noche de Carnaval,” centered on various, sometimes tragic, intertwining narratives in a bar. Salinas famously took on characters that were confident in their sexuality becoming one of the first sex-positive Mexican icons. In 2015, she said via Periscope: “a mí me vale madre lo que digan […] Hay que decir las cosas al chile”, and later said, “​​de todos modos lo que hagas siempre te van a estar criticando”— in short, Salinas was all about autenticidad.

Salinas wasn’t just notoriously witty and even “malhablada”: her intelligence showed no bounds. She produced her own much-lauded play in 1997 called “Aventurera,” and was elected to Mexican Congress from 2015 to 2018 under the PRI, or Institutional Revolutionary Party. Plus, you probably remember her from 90s and 2000s novelas like “María la del Barrio” where she played neighbor Agripina (hi Thalía),”Hasta Que El Dinero Nos Separe,” “Mi Corazón es Tuyo,” and “María Mercedes.” Her role in 2004’s “Man on Fire” with Denzel Washington set her on the world stage, tying a bow on a legendary career defined by mucho trabajo y pasión sobre todo. 

The actress and politician’s family announced her passing through Twitter.

While Salinas was divorced, and her son Pedro passed away in 1997 at just 37-years-old to cancer, she leaves behind her daughter Maria Eugenia, who told Televisa she had hoped her mother would live because she opened her eyes in the hospital. As expected, Twitter is fiercely reacting to the news of Salinas’ death, with actress Lucero writing, “el cielo está de fiesta recibiéndote Carmelita, que tu viaje sea lleno de luz,” Eugenio Derbez posting, “hoy nos toca despedirnos con profunda tristeza de una mujer que hizo historia en la televisión y cine en México,” and fans posting clips of her novela roles. 

While Salinas’ passing has left a hole in the hearts of fans all over the world, her legacy as a woman before her time and a true warrior will go on forever.

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