?María Félix, the glamorous and iconoclastic actress who was the star of Mexican film’s Golden Age in the 1940s and 1950s, is the Google Doodle today, marking what would have been her 104th birthday. Here are five things to know about the woman known for her bold style, her sophistication, her outspoken views, business savvy, independent spirit and who was a muse for many of Mexico’s musicians, painters and writers.
María Félix made her screen debut in the movie El peñón de las Animas (The Rock of Souls) in 1943. The film starred Jorge Negrete, the popular singer and the leading man of Mexican cinema’s Golden Age. Their first meeting was confrontational: Félix had taken the role from Negrete’s then-girlfriend, Gloria Marín. A stormy, very public and passionate relationship ensued, and the pair married in 1952. Mexico’s euphoria on the day of the wedding turned to despair in December, 1953, when Negrete died of hepatitis.
Singer and composer Augustín Lara, who was Félix’s second husband, wrote the song “María Bonita” in her honor in 1946. Among the other songs inspired by the actress was Mexican pop icon Juan Gabriel’s “María de las Marías,” which he wrote in 1979.
Diego Rivera, whose reported affection for María Félix was not reciprocated, painted a large portrait of the actress in 1949. Juan Gabriel later bought the painting, but its whereabouts are currently unknown. Another Rivera portrait of the diva, “Madre Mexicana,” a work in charcoal, was auctioned for $325,000 in 2007.
In 1984, the she was named one of the Best Dressed Women in the World by the Italian Chamber of Fashion and the French Federation of Couture. Known for her glamour and, for the time, irreverent style (she was bashed in the Mexican press for wearing blue pants to her husband Jorge Negrete’s funeral), Félix was dressed by Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Cardin, who designed her trademark suits. She also had a close relationship with Mexican designer Armando Valdes Peza.
María Félix had made 47 films when she passed away at age 88. She died on April 8, the same day that she was born in 1914.