Underrated Female #9: Sara Montiel

12/10/2008

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The gorgeous Sara Montiel is perhaps the hottest actress to have graced the Spanish screen.  Born in 1928 in the Castile-La Mancha region of Spain, she was the first woman to flaunt her sexuality at a time when even a low-cut dress was not acceptable and went on to become the most comecially successful Spanish actress of the mid-twentieth century despite her tumultuous private life, string of divorces during the incredibly conservative and Catholic Francisco Franco dictatorship.  

After her marriage to American actor and Director Anthony Mann in 1957, the sexpot starred in the low-budget musical El Ultimo Cuplé as a favor to producer-director Juan de Orduña who had helped her career in the early days. This film made her unexpectedly the number one actress-singer of that year in Europe and Latin America.  Fifteen monumentally successful films followed her Cuplé success (including La Violetera (1958),Carmen, la de Ronda (1959), Mi Ultimo Tango (1960), Pecado de Amor (1961), La Bella Lola (1962), Noches de Casablanca, (1963), Samba (1964), La Dama de Beirut (1965), La Mujer Perdida(1966), Tuset Street (1967), Esa Mujer (1969), and Varietés (1971). During these years she also recorded over 30 albums and appeared on stage and television all over the world.

In 2000 Montiel published her autobiography “Memories: To Live Is A Pleasure“, with a sequel “Sara and Sex” in 2003. In these books Montiel revealed other past relationships including juicy one-night stands with writer Ernest Hemingway and actor James Dean

To date Sara Montiel has starred in over fifty films and has won awards including France’s Legion of Honor Medal.  Her films El Último Cuple and La Violetera netted the highest gross revenues ever recorded for films made in the Spanish speaking movie industry, she remains one of the highest paid celebrities in Spanish television, and arguably the country’s most legendary star.  Bien hecho.

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