Libertad Lamarque

Active - 1938 - 1975  |   Born - Nov 24, 1908 in Rosario, Argentina  |   Died - Dec 12, 2000 in Mexico City, Mexico  |   Genres - Drama

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The recipient in 2000 of a lifetime achievement award from the Mexican Academy of Cinema Arts and Sciences, Argentinean-born singer/actress Libertad Lamarque (née Bouza) enjoyed eight decades of fame, performing in more than 60 films and recording nearly 2000 songs, the great majority of them heavily influenced by her country's tango traditions. The daughter of a political activist with left sympathies, Lamarque made her professional debut at the age of 15 in a Buenos Aires stage show entitled Madre Tierra. Onscreen from 1929, she became her generation's most popular Argentinean film star and her tango- or bolero-inspired songs were best-sellers all over the Spanish-speaking world. Hollywood tempted with a contract in 1940, but she turned down the offer, stating in a 1993 interview that "I didn't think anybody knew me in the U.S." In 1944, she appeared opposite newcomer Eva Duarte in the Argentinean The Circus Profession. The two actresses reportedly got into a fight that ended with Libertad serving Eva a slap in the face. When the latter became Argentina's first lady under her married name of Eva Peron, she basically had Lamarque blacklisted. Although Libertad later denied that the incident took place, she did leave Argentina in favor of Mexico in 1946, a fortuitous move that made her one of that nation's favorite stars and helped introduce her to the vast Spanish-speaking audience in the United States. She sold out New York's Carnegie Hall in 1947 and later performed frequently in both Miami, Florida, and Los Angeles. Never retiring, Lamarque was starring as the mother superior in the Mexican "novela" Carita de Angel when she died from a heart attack in Mexico City on December 12, 2000.

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