Lovingly hailed "la reina de la musica ranchera" (the queen of ranchera music) in her native Mexico and popular throughout the world for 40 years, the multi-talented Lola Beltran was truly a superstar. Over the course of her distinguished career Beltran recorded more than 100 albums (many of which went gold) and set a standard for ranchera music that remains unequaled. She performed before audiences from South America to Russia and met such historical figures as John F. Kennedy, Charles de Gaul, Francisco Franco, and the King and Queen of Spain. Beltran's best-loved hits include "Huapango Torero," "La Cigarra," and "Paloma Negra." As an actress Beltran appeared in about 50 films opposite some of the Spanish-speaking world's most popular male stars. Many of those films, she co-produced with Julio Aldam through their production company Conacine.
Born Lucila Beltran Ruiz and raised in El Rosario, in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, she started out as a secretary at radio station XEW and was discovered by famed singer Matilde "La Torcacita" Sanchez. With additional help from Miguel Aceves Mejia, Beltran made her singing debut. Possessing a powerful and unusually beautiful voice, it was not long before she changed her name (as was suggested by famed singer Ignacio "Tata Nacho" Fernadez Esperon) and found herself popular in all areas of Mexico and beyond. After 25 years of performing, Beltran received the Virginia Fabregas medal. In 1982, she was awarded the Medalla del Artistica del Extranjero for positively representing Mexico abroad. Finally, in 1994, Beltran celebrated her 40th anniversary as a singer at the Palacio de las Bellas Artes.
Beltran's death on March 25, 1996, was as sudden as it was unexpected. Though she was 64 years old, Beltran was still busy recording and booking new performances. In honor of her life, Beltran's body was carried from Mexico City to her hometown. Thousands of fans came to pay their final respects. Television stations across Mexico aired her movies and offered special tribute programs for an entire week while radio stations continuously played Beltran's songs.