Elena Verdugo

Active - 1940 - 1984  |   Born - Apr 20, 1926   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Action, Adventure, Western

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"I started at 20th Century-Fox in 1902," was Elena Verdugo's flippant response to an interviewer who had the poor taste to ask her age. In truth, Verdugo descended from a Spanish family that had settled in California in 1776, made her first movie appearance as a dancer in Fox's 1940 musical Down Argentine Way after studying Latin-style terpsichore from the age of three. Educated by studio tutors, she spent her teen years playing Mexican peasants, gypsy girls, harem handmaidens and exotic South Sea islanders. Her co-stars ranged from Lou Costello (in 1946's Little Giant) to the Wolfman (aka Lon Chaney Jr. in 1945's House of Frankenstein). Verdugo's comic potential lay largely dormant until 1952, when she replaced Audrey Totter as star of the radio sitcom Meet Millie. She continued to portray Brooklynese secretary Millie Bronson on the subsequent TV version, which ran from 1954 to 1956. Verdugo then went into early retirement, reemerging in 1959 on the straw-hat circuit in such musicals as Oklahoma! and South Pacific. Beginning with her role as hotel manager Gerry in Redigo (1963), she entered into her TV-series supporting player phase; she went on to portray Audrey in The New Phil Silvers Show (1964), Lynn Hall in Many Happy Returns (1964) and Alice Henderson in Mona McCluskey (1965). Elena Verdugo is most fondly remembered as pragmatic but warmhearted nurse Consuelo Lopez on Marcus Welby MD (1969-76).

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