Actress. One of her country's premiere movie stars, she is remembered for her sultry beauty and strong portrayals in films on both sides of the Rio Grande. Born María Cristina Estela Marcela Jurado García to a family of wealth and position, she was raised in Mexico City from age three and was originally educated as a journalist. At around 16 Katy developed show business ambitions and sidestepped her family's objections by marriage to actor Victor Velazquez and though the union was brief it did produce two children. Making her silver screen debut with the 1943 "No Mataras" ("Thou Shalt Not Kill") she soon became a star of the 'Golden Age' of Mexican cinema, usually cast as a seductive temptress though she occasionally got to sing and dance. While building her reputation in films Katy continued her journalistic persuits, writing a movie column and working as a bullfight critic. Spotted at a bullring by director Budd Boetticher she was cast as the wife of an overage matador in the 1951 "Bullfighter and the Lady," an assignment that proved a challenge as her command of English was then quite poor, requiring her to learn her lines phonetically. In 1952 after mastering English in two months she became the first Latina to win a Golden Globe Award as Helen Ramirez, Gary Cooper's ex in the classic "High Noon." In 1953 she captured a Silver Ariel Award, the Mexican Oscar, for "El Burto" while also earning praise playing a Comanche opposite Charlton Heston in "Arrowhead." Indeed, Katy was often an American Indian for Hollywood features and in 1954 she received an Oscar nomination, again the first Latina so honored, as Spencer Tracy's Comanche wife in "Broken Lance." In 1958 she earned good reviews for her Broadway performance in Tennessee Williams' "The Red Devil Battery Sign" then transitioned to playing older characters as the mother of Marlon Brando's girlfriend in the 1961 "One-Eyed Jacks." Katy remained busy on both sides of the border, reprising Helen Ramirez for a mid 1960s television series, appearing in the 1973 "Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid," earning two more Silver Ariels, for "Fe, esperanza y caridad" (1974) and for the 1998 "El evangelio de las Maravillas," and appearing often on the Mexican small screen. She served as film commissioner for the state of Morelos in the mid 1980s, was presented a 1992 Golden Boot for her contributions to westerns, got a star on the Hollywood Walk-of-Fame in 1994, and received a lifetime Special Golden Ariel in 1997. Her personal life was troubled, complete with a short and turbulent marriage to Ernest Borgnine, a 1986 suicide attempt, and a multiplicity of stories about sexual escapades with a string of notables. Katy lived out her days in Cuernavaca, was last seen onscreen in the 2002 "Un secreto de Esperanza," and died of an accumulation of chronic health problems. Much of her movie legacy is preserved on DVD.
Bio by: Bob Hufford