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 Sara “Sarita” Montiel

Sara “Sarita” Montiel

Ciudad Real, Provincia de Ciudad Real, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain
Death 8 Apr 2013 (aged 85)
Madrid, Provincia de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Burial Madrid, Provincia de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Memorial ID 120938555 · View Source
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Anthony Mann
Jose Vicente Ramirez Olalla
Jose Tous
Antonio Hernandez


Thais Tous
Zeus Tous

On April 8th, 2013, Sara Montiel, one of the most beautiful and charismatic film stars to ever grace the silver screen, died suddenly of cardiac arrest in her Madrid penthouse. She had recently celebrated her 85th birthday and had assured family, friends, and media that "she would never consider retirement." Unfortunately fate had different plans. The news of her passing and her obituary ran in every major newspaper in the world in sixteen different languages, witnessing her enormous popularity and widespread appeal. She left behind a legacy of films and recordings that had already turned her into a legend even during her life.

Sara Montiel was born on March 10th, 1928 in the village of Campo de Criptana, province of Ciudad Real, in the Castile-La Mancha region of Spain and was christened Maria Antonia Alejandra Abad Fernandez. Barely in her teens, she won a beauty and talent contest and was signed to a movie contract making her film debut in 1944. The young actress caught the attention of producers and directors who realized her enormous potential and in the next four years Sarita ("Little Sara, as she was affectionately nick named) appeared in 14 films including her first international success "Locura de Amor" (1948) which led to a contract in Mexico where she established herself as one of the most popular film actors of the decade making a total of 13 films between 1950 and 1955. Due to her popularity in Mexico, Hollywood producers showed interest and she was formally introduced to American moviegoers in "Vera Cruz" (1954) starring Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster. Later she filmed for Warner Bros. "Serenade" (1955) with Mario Lanza, Joan Fontaine and Vincent Price directed by Anthony Mann who became her first husband two years later.

After starring in Samuel Fuller's "Run Of The Arrow" (1957) with Rod Steiger, Brian Keith and Charles Bronson, Sarita went to Spain to film "El Último Cuplé" (The Last Song), a musical production which became the biggest box-office success in Spain's film history. It played for a year in the same theaters in which it opened becoming a sociological event of major proportions. A similar reaction followed in Western Europe and Latin America. Sarita Montiel had become the most popular actress-singer of 1957 and a national treasure for Spain. The unprecedented success of "El Último Cuplé" threw a wrench into her Hollywood career as she was offered a multimillion dollar contract to film in Spain and Europe. Her next vehicle "La Violetera" (The Violet Peddler) was an international blockbuster that confirmed Sara's popularity and the theme song from the film became Montiel's signature song. The soundtrack albums from both films reportedly outsold Presley and Sinatra in the world market. From then on, Sarita would combine the making of films with the recording of highly successful albums and live concerts.

The next films .ratified her screen image and mass appeal: "Carmen, la de Ronda" (1959), "Mi Último Tango" (1960), "Pecado de Amor" (1961) were all outstanding commercial successes and proved that the Montiel phenomenon had arrived to stay. By 1962 she had become a legend to millions worldwide and continued enchanting her public with films such as "La Bella Lola" (1962), "La Reina del Chantecler" (1963), "Noches de Casablanca" (1963) "Samba" (1964), "La Dama de Beirut" (1965), "La Mujer Perdida" (1966), "Tuset Street" (1967), "Esa Mujer" (1968), "Varietés" (1971) and more record-breaking concert tours around the world. After starring in the 1974 film "Cinco Almohadas Para Una Noche", Montiel announced her retirement from movies complaining about the almost pornographic turn taken by the film industry after censorship was abolished in Spain. For a long time she concentrated on stage musicals which were highly successful and by the 1990s she was appearing on her own television shows. As with all major celebrities, her career and her personal life kept making headlines for decades.

In December 2000, Sara Montiel published her long awaited "memoirs" titled "Vivir es un placer" (To live is a pleasure) in which she candidly told her remarkable story... Upon release the book became a best seller reaching its fifth printing in a few weeks. A follow-up titled "Sara & Sex" was quickly published to satisfy the demand for more of Sara's literary output. The star kept on working, living fast and adding experiences that could have filled many more volumes. It is quite impossible to cover here all the awards she won in her long successful career but we must mention the "Gold Medal", a life achievement recognition given rarely by Spain's Academy of Arts and Sciences . In 2008 Sara returned to her hometown to unveil a sculpture with her image at the new Sara Montiel Park. A nearby avenue was also named after her and there was a the same time a dedication ceremony of her newly renovated museum located inside a 16th century windmill.

Undaunted by the passage of time, Sara Montiel continued living and working at a hectic pace. She kept touring with her one woman show and making guests appearances on television. In 2009 she won a new generation of fans with her recording of "Absolutamente," an outrageous duet with vocalist Alaska of the rock-pop act Fangoria. Both the record and the promotional video reached the top of the popularity charts and remained there for weeks. Next Sara recorded some love duets with baritone José Antonio Román Marcos and traveled to the United States for a short tour sponsored by New York's Cervantes Institute and the universities of Chicago and Cincinnati. In every city she charmed the audiences with her charismatic presence and sense of humor. Back in Spain she continued her activities which now included supporting the singing career of her son Zeus. She caused quite a stir when she appeared in his 2011 "Sex Dance" video. In February 2013 Sara Montiel became the subject of a made-for-TV documentary titled "Sara's Dream" which aired in Spain to high ratings and great reviews. It was a fitting celebration of her fantastic life and career which came at the right time.

A couple of months later, the star who had seemed eternal, passed away suddenly and quietly in her Madrid penthouse. By her family's request, funeral services were private but the funeral procession, organized officially by the city of Madrid, was a very moving event attended by thousands who showed up at Plaza Callao to bid farewell to their beloved Sara. She was buried in the San Justo cemetery family plot but since then there have been dozens of tributes in Spain and all over the world. It doesn't seem like this remarkable woman and artist will be forgotten soon. One thing is for sure: there'll never be another like her.

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  • Created by: RareMark
  • Added: 28 Nov 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 120938555
  • RareMark
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Sara “Sarita” Montiel (10 Mar 1928–8 Apr 2013), Find A Grave Memorial no. 120938555, citing Sacramental de San Justo, Madrid, Provincia de Madrid, Madrid, Spain ; Maintained by RareMark (contributor 47106900) .