Dolores Asúnsolo López Negrete (Victoria de Durango, 3 de agosto de 1904 - Newport Beach, California, 11 de abril de 1983), conocida profesionalmente como Dolores del Río, fue una actriz de cine, teatro y televisión mexicana. Dolores fue la primera estrella femenina latinoamericana en triunfar en Hollywood, con una destacada carrera en el cine estadounidense en los años 1920 y 1930. Es considerada también como una de las figuras femeninas más importantes de la Época de Oro del Cine Mexicano en los años 1940 y 1950. Fue reconocida como uno de los rostros más bellos que aparecieron en la industria fílmica de la época. Su larga y versátil carrera se prolongó por más de cincuenta años y abarcó cine mudo, cine sonoro, teatro, televisión y radio.
Después de ser descubierta en México, Dolores comenzó su carrera cinematográfica en 1925 en Hollywood. Durante su etapa en el Cine mudo estadounidense, Dolores llegó a ser considerada la versión femenina de Rodolfo Valentino, una latín lover femenina. Tras la aparición del Cine sonoro, la actriz prosiguió su carrera en la industria fílmica estadounidense y participó en numerosas películas románticas, dramáticas y musicales. Cuando su carrera en Hollywood comenzó a declinar a principios de los años 1940, Dolores decidió regresar a México e incorporarse a la industria fílmica de su país natal, que en ese momento estaba en su apogeo.
Cuando Dolores regresó a su país natal en 1943, se convirtió en una de las promotoras y principales figuras femeninas de la llamada Época de Oro del Cine Mexicano. Una serie de películas protagonizadas por Dolores en su país natal, bajo la batuta del cineasta Emilio Fernández, son consideradas obras maestras y ayudaron a impulsar la cinematografía mexicana alrededor del mundo. Durante el resto de la década de 1940 y a lo largo de la década de 1950, la actriz se mantuvo activa en el Cine Mexicano, aunque actuó también en Argentina y España.
En 1960, Dolores regresó a Hollywood. Durante los próximos años, alternó su trabajo en el cine entre México y los Estados Unidos. Entre finales de los años 1950 y principios de los años 1970, la actriz desarrolló una exitosa carrera teatral en México y apareció en algunas series de televisión estadounidenses. Su último trabajo profesional como actriz lo realizó en 1978.
Dolores del Río es una figura mítica del espectáculo en Latinoamérica y representación, por excelencia, del rostro femenino de México en el mundo entero.
"The two most beautiful things in the world are the Taj Mahal and Dolores del Río".
La más bella, la más hermosa del oeste, del este, del norte y del sur. Estoy enamorado de ella al igual que cuarenta millones de mexicanos y ciento veinte millones de estadounidenses que no pueden estar equivocados.
Dolores del Río (August 3, 1904 – April 11, 1983) was a Mexican actress, dancer and singer. With a career spanning more than 50 years, she is regarded as the first major female Latin American crossover star in Hollywood, with an outstanding career in American cinema in the 1920s and 1930s. She was also considered one of the most important female figures in the Golden Age of Mexican cinema. Del Río is also remembered as one of the most beautiful faces on screen of all time.
After being discovered in Mexico, she began her film career in Hollywood in 1925. She had roles on a string of successful films, including Resurrection (1927), Ramona (1928) and Evangeline (1929). Del Río came to be considered a sort of feminine version of Rudolph Valentino, a "female Latin Lover", in her years during the American "silent" era.
With the advent of sound, she acted in a range of film genres, from contemporary crime melodramas to musical comedies and romantic dramas. Among her most successful films of that decade include Bird of Paradise (1932), Flying Down to Rio (1933) and Madame Du Barry (1934). In the early 1940s, when her Hollywood career began to decline, Del Río returned to Mexico and joined the Mexican film industry, which at that time was at its peak.
When Del Río returned to her native country, she became one of the more important stars of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema. A series of Mexican films starring Del Rio, are considered classic masterpieces and helped boost Mexican cinema worldwide. Of them stands out the critically acclaimed María Candelaria (1943). Del Río remained active mainly in Mexican films throughout the 1950s. In 1960 she returned to Hollywood. During the next years she appeared in Mexican and American films. From the late 1950s until the early 1970s she also successfully ventured into theater in Mexico and appeared in some American TV series.
Del Río is now considered a mythical figure of American and Mexican cinema, and a quintessential representation of the female face of Mexico in the world.
"I have seen many beautiful women in here, but none as complete as Dolores del Río!"
María de los Dolores Asúnsolo y López-Negrete was born in Victoria de Durango, Mexico on August 3, 1904, the daughter of Jesus Leonardo Asúnsolo Jacques, son of wealthy farmers and director of the Bank of Durango, and Antonia López-Negrete, belonging to one of the richest families in the country, whose lineage went back to Spain and the viceregal nobility.
Her parents were members of the Mexican aristocracy that existed during the Porfiriato (period in the history of Mexico when the dictator Porfirio Díaz was the president). On her mother's side, she was a cousin of the filmmaker Julio Bracho and of actors Ramón Novarro (one of the "Latin Lovers" of the silent cinema) and Andrea Palma (another prominent actress of the Mexican cinema). On her father's side, she was a cousin of the Mexican sculptor Ignacio Asúnsolo and the social activist María Asúnsolo.
Her family lost all its assets during the Mexican Revolution (1910–1920). Dolores's father decided to escape to the United States, while she and her mother fled to Mexico City in a train, disguised as peasants.
In 1919, a then 15-year-old Dolores saw a performance of the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, whose interpretation influenced her to become a dancer.
In 1921, aged 17, Dolores was invited by a group of Mexican women to dance in a party to benefit a local hospital. At this party, she met Jaime Martínez del Río y Viñent, son of a wealthy family. Jaime had been educated in England and had spent some time in Europe. After a two-month courtship, the couple wed on 11 April 1921. Their honeymoon in Europe lasted two years. Jaime maintained close ties with European aristocratic circles. In Spain queen Victoria Eugenie gave Dolores a photograph.
In 1924, the couple returned to Mexico and decided to settle in Mexico City. But in early 1925, Dolores met the American filmmaker Edwin Carewe, an influential director at the First National studio, Carewe was fascinated by Dolores and invited the couple to work in Hollywood.
Del Río made her film debut in Joanna (1925), directed by Carewe and released that year. In the film del Río plays the role of Carlotta De Silva, a vamp of Spanish-Brazilian origin, but she appeared for only five minutes.
In 1928, she was hired by United Artists for the third film version of the successful novel Ramona directed by Carewe. The film was a sucess and it helped her conversion to sound films. but her marriage with Jaime Martínez ended that same year.
In 1930, del Río met Cedric Gibbons, an art director at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and one of the most influential men in Hollywood, at a party at Hearst Castle. The couple began a romance and finally married on August 6, 1930. The del Rio-Gibbons were one of the most famous couples of Hollywood in the early thirties.
In 1933 she was cast in a musical comedy directed by Thornton Freeland: Flying Down to Rio starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. In this film, Del Rio became the first major actress to wear a two-piece women's bathing suit onscreen.
Although Hollywood studio executives admired del Río's beauty, but her career did not interest them at a time when Latin stars had few opportunities to shine at the studio, and she was also put on a list entitled "box office poison", (along with stars like Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, Katharine Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich, Mae West and others).
Amid the decline of her career, in 1940 Dolores del Río's met actor and filmmaker Orson Welles at a party organized by Darryl Zanuck. The couple felt a mutual attraction and began a discreet affair, which caused the divorce of del Río and Gibbons. She was at the side of Orson Welles during the filming and controversy of Citizen Kane (1941). The love affair ended unhappily in 1943 and Dolores del Río went back to Mexico.
In Mexico, she filmed María Candelaria, the first Mexican film to be screened at the Cannes International Film Festival where it won the Grand Prix (now known as the Palme d'Or) becoming the first Latin American film to do so.
In 1945 Dolores del Río filmed La selva de fuego by mistake as the film had been specially created for María Félix, another Mexican movie star of the day. Félix meanwhile, received the script for Dizziness (1946), a film originally created for del Río. When the two stars realized the mistake they refused to return the scripts. From this time the press began speculating a strong rivalry between del Río and Felix.
In 1959, Mexican filmmaker Ismael Rodríguez brought del Río and María Félix together in the film La Cucaracha. The meeting of the two actresses, considered the main female stars of Mexican cinema, was a success at the box office.
This same year, she married for the third time in New York to American millionaire Lewis A. Riley, whom she met in 1949 in Acapulco, Mexico. She remained with him until her death in 1983.
After 18 years Dolores Del Río returned to Hollywood and her first Hollywood role was the mother of Elvis Presley's character in the film Flaming Star (1960), and for the next 18 years, she worked both in films and tv shows, and her last film appearance was in The Children of Sanchez (1978).
In 1978, she was diagnosed with osteomyelitis, and in 1981 she was diagnosed with hepatitis B following a contaminated injection of vitamins. She also suffered from arthritis.
On 11 April 1983, Dolores del Río died from liver failure at the age of 78, in Newport Beach, California.
"Take care of your inner beauty, your spiritual beauty, and that will reflect in your face. We have the face we created over the years. Every bad deed, every bad fault will show on your face. God can give us beauty and genes can give us our features, but whether that beauty remains or changes is determined by our thoughts and deeds."
Dolores del Río always projected a special elegance with her beauty both on- screen and off-scree. She was considered one of the prototypes of female beauty in the 1930s. Women imitated her style of dress and makeup. She is also considered the pioneer of the two piece swimsuit. In 1952, she was awarded the Neiman Marcus Fashion Award and was called the "best-dressed woman in America".
French couturier Jean Patou designed a dress inspired by her called Dolores.
"I draped her naked body in jersey. She wanted no underpinnings to spoil the line. When I finished draping her she became a Greek goddess as she walked close to the mirror and said, It is beautiful. Gazing into the mirror, she said in a half-whisper, Jesus, I am beautiful. Narcissistic? Probably yes, but she was right. She looked beautiful".