Maria Felix was an icon of the golden age of Mexican cinema famous as much for her forceful personality as her glamour and sophistication.
The beautiful and flamboyant Felix became an overnight star in the 1940s, portraying strong-minded characters such as a brothel keeper, soldier and man-eating Roman empress. In all, Felix made 47 movies in Mexico, Spain, Italy, France and Argentina for the likes of Jean Renoir and Luis Buñuel, but she refused to work in Hollywood, where she was offered only stereotype roles.
"I was not born to carry a basket," she once said.
Felix was born April 8, 1914, in Alamos, Mexico, one of 12 children. To honor Felix on her 104th birthday, Google has dedicated its doodle Sunday to the cinematic pioneer who went on to influence art, music and fashion.
Felix's reputation for toughness was cemented by a clash with popular Mexican actor and singer (and future husband) Jorge Negrete, who wanted his then-girlfriend cast in the lead role of 1942's El Peñón de las Ánimas – a role ultimately given to Felix. She went on to be so respected in the industry she could influence camera angles, lighting and other aspects of filmmaking typically reserved for directors and producers.
She was also a muse to a host of renowned artists, including Mexican painters José Clemente Orozco and Diego Rivera, novelists and playwrights like Jean Cocteau, Renato Leduc and Carlos Fuentes along with song writers like Juan Gabriel and Francis Cabrel.
She was also a fashion icon, wearing clothes and jewelry designed for her by designers like Christian Dior, Chanel and Cartier Paris.
Felix died in Mexico City on April 8, 2002, her 88th birthday.
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