Spanish actress Maria Casares was born Maria Casares Quiroga. During the Spanish Civil War she volunteered as a nurse, then sought asylum in France after Franco's victory. She studied drama at the Paris Conservatoire, then began appearing on stage in the early '40s. Casares made her screen debut in Carne's Children of Paradise (1945), going on to make sporadic film appearances in which she dominated the screen with her dark beauty and charismatic personality; her notable roles include that of Death in Cocteau's Orpheus (1950). Meanwhile, she continued to be a remarkable tragedienne with the Comedie Francaise and later with the Theater National Populaire.