Who was Dolores del Río?
Dolores del Río, born María de los Dolores Asúnsolo y López Negrete, was a Mexican actress, dancer, and singer. Known for her work in films such as Joanna, Resurrection, Devil’s Playground, Wild Flower, and The Unloved Woman, Dolores del Río was one of the first major female Latin stars who became a Hollywood star in the 1920s and 1930s. With an illustrious career spanning over five decades, Dolores del Río is often regarded as one of the most influential female figures in the Golden Age of Mexican cinema.
|Full name||María de los Dolores Asúnsolo y López Negrete|
|Known as||Dolores del Río|
|Birthday||August 3, 1904|
|Place of birth||Victoria de Durango, Durango, Mexico|
|Date of death||11 April, 1983 (aged 78)|
- Dolores del Río was one of America’s first Latina film stars. She moved to Hollywood at the age of 21.
- Dolores had a longstanding feud with actress Lupe Velez. On one occasion, Velez called Dolores a “bird of bad omen”. Likewise, Velez would often imitate Dolores in public as a way of mocking the Joanna actress. As a result, Dolores was terrified to meet Velez.
- The Mexican starlet was known not only for her acting and dancing abilities but also for her timeless beauty. Describing her elegance and beauty, George Bernard Shaw once said, “The two most beautiful things in the world are the Taj Mahal and Dolores del Río.”
- Dolores was discovered by filmmaker Edwin Carewe who convinced her that she could become a Hollywood star. Carewe, who worked as Dolores’s agent, manager, producer, and director in Hollywood, was obsessed with her and was determined to win her over.
- The Mexican diva’s beauty regimen included lying flat on the floor for extended periods of time every day. She referred to this practice as her “first beauty rule.”
- Dolores del Río was the first actress to wear a bikini on screen. She flaunted a bikini in the film, Flying Down to Rio.
Dolores del Río Birthday and Personality Traits
Dolores del Río was born on August 3, 1904. She was born in Victoria de Durango, Mexico. Her sun sign is Leo. People having this sign are known for their humorous, optimistic, and generous nature. However, they also tend to be inflexible, stubborn, and arrogant.
Height and Appearance
Regarded as a quintessential representation of the female face of Mexico in the world and a mythical figure of American and Mexican cinema, Dolores del Río was known for her beauty and elegance. The Latin bombshell stood at the height of 5 feet and 3 inches.
Known as having the perfect face, her eyes were dark brown. Likewise, she had brown-colored hair.
Nationality, Religion, and Ethnicity
Born in Victoria de Durango, Mexico, Dolores del Río was a Mexican citizen. When it comes to her religion, Dolores was a Mexican Roman Catholic. However, she belonged to Spanish ethnicity.
Dolores del Río Early Life, Parents, & Upbringing
Dolores del Río was the daughter of and Antonia López Negrete. She came from a family of wealthy farmers and was the granddaughter of the director of the Bank of Durango.
The actress was from one of the wealthiest families in Mexico, whose lineage can be traced back to Spain and the viceregal nobility. Jesús Leonardo Asúnsolo Jacques and Antonia López Negrete were members of the Mexican aristocracy during the Porfiriato.
Despite being born in an aristocratic family, Dolores’s family lost all its wealth during the Mexican revolution. As a result, her family decided to escape since the insurrection threatened the Durango aristocratic families that Pancho Villa was leading in the area.
Dolores’s father, Jesús Leonardo Asúnsolo Jacques fled to the United States. However, Dolores and her mother Antonia López Negrete escaped to Mexico City disguised as peasants.
Fortunately, they were able to reunite in 1912. After their reunion, Dolores and her family lived in Mexico City under the protection of then-president Francisco I. Madero. Madero was a cousin of Dolores’s mother, Antonia.
Recollecting her memories of meeting the president, Dolores once said,
“I was very young when my mother brought me to the capital to meet her cousin Don Panchito, as she affectionately called him, Madero, then President of the Republic, who would sit me on her knees and would give me a huge red balloon.”
Dolores studied at Saint-Joseph Convent. During her time there, the nuns at her school would force all the students, including Dolores, to speak French at all times.
On one occasion, Dolores’s mother took her to one of the Russian dancer’s Ana Pavlova performances. Dolores was quite impressed by the performance, after which she decided to become a dancer.
Dolores del Río Relationships and Dating History
Jaime Martínez del Río
At the age of fifteen, Dolores del Río got married to the millionaire writer and law degree Jaime Martínez del Río. Jaime Martínez del Río was eighteen years older than Dolores.
Dolores’s marriage to Jaime Martínez del Río helped her in many ways. The Mexican bombshell got her artistic surname from her husband. But, likewise, the marriage allowed her to continue enjoying the aristocratic pleasures that she was used to growing up.
After their marriage, Dolores and Jaime Martínez went on a two-year-long honeymoon. The newlyweds toured through Europe. During one of their stops in Spain, Dolores gave a fantastic dance performance for the kings of Spain, who were in awe of her after seeing her perform a dance for the soldiers of the war in Morocco.
After returning to Mexico, Jaime began focusing his time and energy on the growing cotton at Hacienda Las Cruces in Nazas, Durango. Unfortunately, due to the crash in the world cotton market in 1924, the couple faced a massive financial crisis.
Jaime and Dolores relocated to Mexico City and began living with their respective families since they could no longer support themselves economically. Similarly, Dolores had to sell her jewelry to meet her and her husband’s financial needs amidst the ongoing crisis.
Moreover, during this time, Dolores was pregnant. However, owing to unavoidable complications, she suffered a miscarriage. The doctors advised Dolores not to get pregnant again since it would be life-threatening.
As Dolores del Río’s Hollywood career continued to rise in the late 1920s, her marriage with Jaime Martínez turned sour. Jaime struggled to accept his new identity as the husband of the movie star, Dolores.
Likewise, after Dolores’s miscarriage, the couple faced many marital troubles. As a result, Jaime and Dolores separated briefly. Shortly after, Dolores filed for divorce. The couple parted ways in 1928. Six months after their divorce, Jaime died in Germany.
In 1930, Dolores del Río met art director Cedric Gibbons at a party at Hearst Castle at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. They soon began dating, and on August 6, 1930, the couple tied the knot.
In the early 1930s, the del Río-Gibbons were the focus of the media attention. Regarded as one of the most famous Hollywood couples of the times, the del Río-Gibbons famously organized ‘Sunday brunches’ in their Art Deco house at 757 Kingman Avenue in Pacific Palisades.
Not too long after walking down the aisle with Gibbons, Dolores del Río became severely ill with a severe kidney infection, after which she was advised long bed rest. Owing to this, del Río’s career suffered a major setback.
Despite her husband’s efforts to help del Río’s failing career, Dolores was put on a list entitled “box office poison” by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Distraught by her declining career, Dolores del Río found solace in actor and filmmaker Orson Welles whom she met at a party organized by Darryl Zanuck.
Sparks flew instantly, and despite Dolores’s marriage to Cedric Gibbons, the couple began an affair. Eventually, the affair ended del Río and Gibbons’ marriage. The pair divorced in 1941.
Dolores del Río and Orson Welles’ relationship became the talk of the town. The pair dated for four years, from 1939 to 1943.
Dolores del Río accompanied Welles during the shooting of his film Citizen Kane. Similarly, even when the film became the focus of media scandal for openly criticizing the media magnate William Randolph Hearst, del Río stood by Welles.
Unfortunately, when Orson Welles was hired as a goodwill ambassador to visit South America by Nelson Rockefeller, their relationship changed forever. During his time in South America, Welles was involved in filming the Rio de Janeiro carnival.
The filmmaker allegedly behaved promiscuously there, and the news soon reached the United States. Dolores del Río ended her relationship with Welles through a telegram to which the actor never responded.
According to Orson Welles’ daughter Rebecca Welles,
“My father considered Dolores the great love of his life. She is a living legend in the history of my family.”
Until the end of his life, Welles was obsessively in love with Dolores del Río.
Lewis A. Riley
In the early 1950s, del Río met the American millionaire Lewis A. Riley in Acapulco. Even though Riley was involved in an affair with Bette Davis, he ended the relationship and began dating del Río.
Nearly ten years after beginning their romance, Dolores del Río and Lewis Riley got married in New York in 1959. The couple was married until del Río died in 1983.
Some unofficial relationships of Dolores del Río
The Mexican actress was rumored to be in a relationship with actor Errol Flynn, filmmaker John Farrow, writer Erich Maria Remarque, film producer Archibaldo Burns, and actor Tito Junco.
Dolores’s beauty and elegance enamored many men. Mexican filmmaker Emilio Fernández admitted that he appeared as an extra in several films of her Hollywood films just so that he could be near her. The filmmaker once said:
“I fell in love with her, but she always ignored me. I adored her… really I adored her.”
There were also strong rumors about Dolores del Río’s alleged bisexuality. The Devil’s Playground actress was allegedly one of the lovers of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.
Dolores del Río Career
In early 1925, the painter Adolfo Best Maugard and American filmmaker, Edwin Carewe, visited del Río and her first husband, Jaime Martínez del Río. Carewe convinced Jaime that his wife could be a movie star and invited the couple to work in Hollywood.
Jaime believed that this offer would help the couple overcome their financial troubles and also thought it would help fulfill his dream of becoming a screenwriter in Hollywood. So, going against their families’ wishes, the couple traveled by train to the United States to start Dolores’s Hollywood career.
Upon arriving in the USA, Carewe began to act as Dolores’s agent, manager, producer, and director. In an attempt to bring Dolores to the public’s attention, Carewe made a report in the major magazines in Hollywood which read:
“Dolores del Río, the heiress and First Lady of the High Mexican Society, has come to Hollywood with a cargo of shawls and combs valued at $ 50,000 (is said to be the richest girl in her country thanks to the fortune of her husband and her parents). She will debut in the film, Joanna, led by her discoverer Edwin Carewe.”
Here is the list of every Movie, Television, Theatre, Short film, and Documentaries that Dolores del Río was part of.
Dolores del Río Filmography:
1925 – 1929:
|Year||Title||Role||Director||Other cast members|
|1925||Joanna||Carlotta Da Silva||Edwin Carewe||Dorothy Mackaill, Jack Mullah|
|1926||High Steppers||Evelyn Iffield||Edwin Carewe||Mary Astor, Lloyd Hughes, Rita Carewe|
|1926||The Whole Town’s Talking||Rita Renault||Edward Laemmle||Edward Everett Horton, Trixie Friganza|
|1926||Pals First||Jeanne Lammont||Edwin Carewe||Lloyd Hughes, George Cooper, Edward Earle|
|1926||What Price Glory?||Charmaine de la Cognac||Raoul Walsh||Victor McLaglen, Edmund Lowe|
|1927||Resurrection||Katyusha Maslova||Edwin Carewe||Rod La Rocque, Rita Carewe, Vera Lewis|
|1927||The Loves of Carmen||Carmen||Raoul Walsh||Victor McLaglen, Don Alvarado, Carmen Costello|
|1927||No Other Woman||Carmelita de Granados||Lou Tellegen||Don Alvarado, Ben Bard, Paulette Duval|
|1928||The Gateway of the Moon||Chela (Toni)||John Griffith Wray||Walter Pidgeon, Leslie Fenton|
|1928||The Trail of ’98||Berna||Clarence Brown||Ralph Forbes, Tenen Holtz|
|1928||Ramona||Ramona||Edwin Carewe||Warner Baxter, Roland Drew|
|1928||The Red Dance||Tasia||Raoul Walsh||Charles Farrell, Ivan Linow|
|1928||Revenge||Rascha||Edwin Carewe||James A. Marcus, Le Roy Mason|
|1929||Evangeline||Evangeline||Edwin Carewe||Roland Drew, Alec B. Francis|
1930 – 1942:
|Year||Title||Role||Director||Other cast members|
|1930||The Bad One||Lita||George Fitzmaurice||Edmund Lowe, Don Alvarado|
|1932||Girl of the Rio||Dolores Romero||Herbert Brenon||Norman Foster, Leo Carrillo, Andrea Palma|
|1932||Bird of Paradise||Luana||King Vidor||Joel McCrea, John Halliday|
|1933||Flying Down to Rio||Belinnha de Rezende||Thornton Freeland||Gene Raymond, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Raoul Roulien|
|1934||Wonder Bar||Inéz||Lloyd Bacon||Al Jolson, Kay Francis, Ricardo Cortez, Dick Powell|
|1934||Madame Du Barry||Madame DuBarry||William Dieterle||Reginald Owen, Victor Jory|
|1935||In Caliente||Rita Gómez||Lloyd Bacon||Pat O’Brien, Edward Everett Horton, Glenda Farrell|
|1935||I Live for Love||Donna Alvarez||Busby Berkeley||Everett Marshall, Don Alvarado|
|1936||The Widow from Monte Carlo||Duchess of Rye||Arthur Greville Collins||Warren William, Colin Clive|
|1936||Accused||Gaby Seymour||Thornton Freeland||Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Florence Desmond|
|1937||Devil’s Playground||Carmen||Erle C. Kenton||Chester Morris, Richard Dix|
|1937||Lancer Spy||Dolores Daria Sunnell||Gregory Ratoff||George Sanders, Peter Lorre|
|1937||Ali Baba Goes to Town||Brief cameo||David Butler||Eddie Cantor, Gypsy Rose Lee|
|1938||International Settlement||Lenore Dixon||Eugene Forde||George Sanders, John Carradine, June Lang|
|1940||The Man from Dakota||Eugenia Sanford||Leslie Fenton||Wallace Beery, John Howard|
|1943||Journey into Fear||Josette Martell||Orson Welles||Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles, Ruth Warrick, Agnes Moorehead|
1943 – 1959:
|Year||Title||Role||Director||Other cast members|
|1943||Wild Flower||Esperanza||Emilio Fernández||Pedro Armendáriz, Emilio Fernández, Miguel Angel Ferriz|
|1944||María Candelaria||María Candelaria||Emilio Fernández||Pedro Armendáriz, Miguel Inclán, Alberto Galán|
|1945||Las Abandonadas||Margarita||Emilio Fernández||Pedro Armendáriz, Victor Junco, Arturo Soto Rangel|
|1945||Bugambilia||Amalia de los Robles||Emilio Fernández||Pedro Armendáriz, Julio Villarreal, Stella Inda|
|1945||La Selva de Fuego||Estrella||Fernando de Fuentes||Arturo de Córdova, Miguel Inclán|
|1946||La Otra||María Méndez / Magdalena Méndez||Roberto Gavaldón||Victor Junco, Agustín Irusta|
|1947||The Fugitive||María Dolores||John Ford||Henry Fonda, Pedro Armendáriz, Ward Bond, Leo Carrillo|
|1948||Story of a Bad Woman||Mrs. Erlynne||Luis Saslavsky||María Duval, Francisco de Paula, Alberto Closas|
|1949||The Unloved Woman||Raymunda||Emilio Fernández||Pedro Armendáriz, Columba Domínguez, Roberto Cañedo|
|1950||La casa chica||Amalia||Roberto Gavaldón||Miroslava Stern, Roberto Cañedo, Domingo Soler|
|1951||Desired||Deseada||Roberto Gavaldón||Jorge Mistral, Anabel Gutiérrez|
|1951||Doña Perfecta||Doña Perfecta||Alejandro Galindo||Esther Fernández, Carlos Navarro, Julio Villarreal|
|1953||Reportaje||Maria Cristina||Emilio Fernández||Arturo de Córdova, María Félix, Jorge Negrete, Pedro Infante|
|1953||El Niño y la Niebla||Martha||Roberto Gavaldón||Pedro Lopez Lagar, Alejandro Ciangherotti Jr., Eduardo Noriega|
|1955||Señora Ama||Dominica||Julio Bracho||José Suárez, Ma. Luz Galicia|
|1958||Where Are Our Children Going?||Rosa||Benito Alazraki||Tito Junco, Martha Mijares, Andrea Palma|
|1959||La Cucaracha||Isabel, the Widow||Ismael Rodriguez||María Félix, Emilio Fernández, Pedro Armendáriz|
1960 – 1978:
|Year||Title||Role||Director||Other cast members|
|1960||Flaming Star||Neddy Burton||Don Siegel||Elvis Presley, Barbara Eden, Steve Forrest, John McIntire|
|1961||El Pecado de una Madre||Gabriela||Alfonso Corona Blake||Libertad Lamarque, Enrique Rambal, Pedro Geraldo|
|1964||Cheyenne Autumn||Spanish Woman||John Ford||Richard Widmark, Carroll Baker, Karl Malden, Sal Mineo, Ricardo Montalban, Gilbert Roland, James Stewart, Edward G. Robinson|
|1966||La Dama del Alba||La Peregrina||Francisco Robira Veleta||Juliette Villard, Yelena Samarina|
|1966||Casa de Mujeres||Gilda “La Doña”||Julian Soler||Elsa Aguirre, Fernando Soler, Elsa Cárdenas, Carlos López Moctezuma|
|1967||More than a Miracle||Queen Mother||Francesco Rossi||Sophia Loren, Omar Sharif|
|1978||The Children of Sanchez||Grandma||Hall Bartlett||Anthony Quinn, Katy Jurado, Lupita Ferrer, Lucía Méndez|
Dolores del Río Short films:
|1926||WAMPAS Baby Stars of 1926|
|1930||Screen Snapshots Series 9, No. 14|
|1930||Screen Snapshots Series 9, No. 23|
|1930||Screen Snapshots Series 19, No. 24|
|1935||A dream comes true: The Making of An Unusual Motion Picture|
|1935||A Trip Thru a Hollywood Studio|
|1937||Screen Snapshots Series 16, No. 7|
|1937||Screen Snapshots Series 16, No. 8|
|1939||Screen Snapshots Series 18, No. 10|
|1940||Meet the Stars # 1: Chinese Garden Festival|
|1941||Meet the Stars # 2: Baby Stars|
|1954||Screen Snapshots: Hollywood goes to Mexico|
|1968||Mexico ’68: Instantaneous /Dolores del Río’s Mexico|
Dolores del Río Documentary:
|1928||Die Filmstad Hollywood|
|1961||Hollywood: The Golden Years|
|1969||Hollywood: The Selznick Years|
|1971||The American West of John Ford|
|1979||Mexico de mis amores|
|2002||The Bronze Screen: 100 Years of the Latino Image in American Cinema|
|2003||Dolores del Río: The Mexican Diva of Hollywood|
|2012||Arena : Screen Goddesses|
|Year||Title||Role||Director||Other main cast members|
|1951||Trio by the Lamplight||Paul Tripp|
|1951||The Kate Smith Evening Hour||Herself||Kate Smith (host), Victor Borge|
|1957||Schlitz Playhouse of Stars||Herself||John Brahm||Leon Askin, Cesar Romero|
|1958||The United States Steel Hour||Theresa Taillen||Robert Stevens||John Baragrey, Alexander Clark|
|1960||The Dinah Shore Chevy Show||Herself||Rolando Aguilar||Gilbert Roland, Ricardo Montalban, Tito Guízar|
|1965||The Man who Bought Paradise||Mona||Ralph Nelson||Buster Keaton, Paul Lukas, Angie Dickinson|
|1966||I Spy||Serita||Richard C. Sarafian||Robert Culp, Bill Cosby, Victor Jory|
|1966||Branded||Antonia Molinera||William Witney||Chuck Connors|
|1966||A Bob Hope Comedy Special||Herself||Jack Shea||Bob Hope, Michael Caine, Cantinflas, Glenn Ford, Gina Lollobrigida, Jayne Mansfield, Merle Oberon, Silvia Pinal|
|1968||Dolores del Río (T.V BIography)||Herself|
|1970||Maratón Rosa Mexicano||Herself / Host||María Félix, Libertad Lamarque, Raphael, Carmen Montejo, María Elena Marqués|
|1970||Marcus Welby M.D.||Carlotta Lopez de Guadalupe||Daniel Petrie||Robert Young, James Brolin, Janet Blair|
Dolores del Río Theatre:
|Year||Play||Role||Theatre||Other notable cast members|
|1941||The Mercury Wonder Show||Many roles||California State Fair||Orson Welles|
|1956||Anastacia||Anastacia Romanov||Falmouth Playhouse, Massachusetts||Lili Darvas, Alan Shayne, Stephen Elliott, Boris Tumarin|
|1958||Lady Windermere’s Fan||Mrs. Erlynne||Teatro Virginia Fábregas, Mexico City / Teatro Nacional de Buenos Aires, Argentina||(México) María Rivas, Carlos Navarro, Joaquín Cordero, Anita Blanch, Tito Junco, (Argentina) Alberto Closas, Ana Luisa Peluffo|
|1959||The Road to Rome||Amitis||Teatro de los Insurgentes, Mexico City||Wolf Ruvinskis, Raúl Ramírez, Jorge del Campo, Rosenda Monteros|
|1961||La despedida||Herself||Million Dollar Theater, Los Angeles, California||Jorge Martínez de Hoyos|
|1962||Ghosts||Mrs. Helen Alving||Sala Chopin, Mexico City||Julián Soler, Adriana Roel, Jorge del Campo,|
|1963||Dear Liar: A Comedy of Letter||Mrs. Patrick Campbell||Teatro de los Insurgentes, Mexico City||Ignacio López Tarso|
|1964||La Vidente (La Voyante)||La Vidente||Teatro de los Insurgentes, Mexico City||Fernando Luján, Jacqueline Andere, Marilú Elízaga, Blanca Sánchez, Narciso Busquets, Magda Donato, Tamara Garina|
|1967||The Queen and the Rebels||Algira||Teatro Hidalgo, Mexico City||Ignacio López Tarso, Narciso Busquets, Patricia Morán|
|1970||The Lady of the Camellias||Marguerite Gautier||Teatro Hidalgo, Mexico City||Carlos Bracho, Marilú Elízaga, Germán Robles, Angélica Aragón|
Dolores del Río Awards:
|1944||Las abandonadas||Won||Silver Ariel Award||Best Actress|
|1946||La Otra||Nominated||Silver Ariel Award||Best Actress|
|1949||La Casa Chica||Nominated||Silver Ariel Award||Best Actress|
|1951||Doña Perfecta||Won||Silver Ariel Award||Best Actress|
|1953||El Niño y la Niebla||Won||Silver Ariel Award||Best Actress|
|1975||Honorific Award||Won||Golden Ariel Award||Contribution to the Mexican Cinema|
|1926||WAMPAS Baby Stars||A promotional campaign sponsored by the United States Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers honored thirteen young actresses each year they believed to be on the threshold of movie stardom.|
|1943||Instituto de Artes y Ciencias Cinematográficas de México||Best Actress (Flor Silvestre)|
|1957||Asociacion Nacional de Actores||Medal for her outstanding scenic work abroad.|
|1952||Neiman Marcus Fashion Award||Medal for the best dressed woman in America|
|1961||Hollywood Walk of Fame||Motion Pictures (Location: 1630 Vine Street)|
|1965||Sarape de Plata (PECIME)||Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the talkies in Mexico.|
|1967||Organization of American States||Medal for her cultural contribution to the peoples of America|
|1974||Diosa de Plata Award (PECIME)||Motion Pictures Contribution|
|1975||Mexican Legion of Honor||Diploma for artistic merit|
|1978||Mexican American Institute of Cultural Relations||Award for artistic merit|
|1982||George Eastman Award||George Eastman House established the George Eastman Award for distinguished contribution to the art of film|
|1993||The Four Ladies||The Four Ladies of Hollywood gazebo at the western border of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The domed structure is held aloft by four caryatids sculpted by Harl West to represent the Mexican actress Dolores del Río, African-American actress Dorothy Dandridge, Asian-American actress Anna May Wong and the multi-ethnic, Brooklyn-born actress Mae West.|
Dolores del Río Death
The Latin bombshell faced many health issues towards the end of her life. In 1978, she was diagnosed with osteomyelitis. Similarly, in 1981, she was diagnosed with hepatitis B.
Moreover, del Río suffered from arthritis. After her hepatitis led to cirrhosis, del Río was admitted to Scripps Hospital in 1982.
Unfortunately, del Río succumbed to her illness on April 11, 1983. She passed away at the age of 78 in Newport Beach, California. After her funeral, her ashes were moved from the United States to Panteón de Dolores, Mexico.
Dolores del Río Net Worth
The Bird of Paradise actress had an estimated net worth of USD 1.6 million at the time of her death. Owing to such impressive net worth, there is no doubt that Dolores del Río lived a lavish lifestyle.
However, the actress originated from an aristocratic family and had her fair share of financial struggles. First, her family lost all its assets during the Mexican Revolution. Then, after her marriage to Jaime Martínez del Río, the del Ríos lost all of their fortunes due to the world cotton market crash in 1924.