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Libertad Lamarque: 1908-2000: Actor, Singer

Debuted In Argentine Silents

Lamarque first took the stage at the age of eight. After moving with her family to Buenos Aires in 1922, she began working in the theater. She garnered notice and applause for her first official professional role as the heroine in a three-month run of Madre Tierra in 1923. The Madre Tierra stage manager introduced Lamarque to producer Emilio Romero to record an album of tangos with her. The album was a success and Lamarque married Romero in 1927, when she was just 18. She had her only child, a daughter named Mirtha, the following year. Before long, Lamarque's career took its toll on the marriage. Romero could not tolerate her long studio hours and was jealous of the actors she was seen with. Divorce was not legal in Argentina at the time and it took Lamarque 12 years to have the marriage officially dissolved. A string of stormy romances followed her split with Romero. One story recalls her, heartbroken, jumping out of a hotel window while on tour in Chile. She happened to land on a dentist who was walking by, and he became a Latin American hero.

At a Glance . . .

Born Libertad Lamarque Bouza on November 24, 1908, in Rosario, Argentina; died on December 12, 2000, in Mexico City, Mexico; daughter of Gaudincio Lamarque (a Uruguayan tinsmith and contortionist) and Josefa Bouza (a Spanish seamstress); married Emilio Romero, 1927 (divorced); married Alfredo Malerba (died 1994); children: Mirtha.

Career: Actress, 1916-00; singer, 1920s-00; made more than 60 films and 2,000 recordings.

Awards: Mexican Cinema Arts and Sciences, 2000; Hispanic Film Makers Board, Lifetime Achievement Award; Hispanic Film Festival of Miami, honoree, film retrospective; Santa Fe Film Festival, honoree.

Lamarque's music was a mix of soulful tangos, boleros, waltzes, milongas, and Mexican rancheras. She influenced such artists as Jennifer Lopez, Tom Jones, Paul McCartney, and Nat King Cole. Her home for most of her musical career was the RCA (later BMG) record label. She recorded her biggest hits,"Chilenito" and "Gaucho Sol" for the label in 1926. Her 1991 album, Nadie Se Va del Todo, was also immensely successful. "I believe Madonna played second fiddle in the music charts when it was released," she was quoted as saying in the Independent.

The young singer made her screen debut in the 1929 silent film Adios Argentina, directed by Luis Moglia Barth. When Barth was hired to direct Argentina's first sound film, Tango in 1933, he again chose Lamarque as his star. Lamarque would continue throughout her career as the leading lady in such films as Aydame a Vivir, Besos Brujos, La Ley que Olvidaron, Madreselva, and Puerta Cerrada.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: C(hristopher) J(ohn) Koch Biography - C.J. Koch comments: to Sir (Alfred Charles) Bernard Lovell (1913– ) BiographyLibertad Lamarque: 1908-2000: Actor, Singer Biography - Debuted In Argentine Silents, Beckoned By Hollywood, Banned By Perón, Returned Home To Career In Soaps