Simply, Lupe!

Simply, Lupe!

There’s a lot to say about, Lupe Velez. She was a high-profile, celebrity but, not exactly for her film and stage career. Movie mags, gossip rags, and prying pulps ran almost constant stories about her rowdiness & love-life. Lupe came from Mexico, during a time of war. Lupe was rambunctious. She was too much for her school and mother to handle, so at age 13 she was sent to a convent/school in, San Antonio. She learned to speak english and became obsessed with, dancing. At 15, she left the convent after her father died. She had a job as a salesclerk, making a princely, $4 a week. This paid for her dancing lessons. Lupe became a well-known, vaudeville act. Fanny Brice, saw Velez and promoted her career. Just when she was about to move with Fanny to NYC, MGM called Lupe in for a screen-test. She was hired to star in a Laurel & Hardy, film. Douglas Fairbanks caught the short film and asked Lupe to be in his movie, “The Gaucho”, in 1927. By 1930, Lupe had starred in 4 films. In 1930′ s Hollywood, there were rules. Women and men were to be as charming off-screen as they were, on-screen…and if you “slipped-up” the studio would cover, for you. In Lupe’s case, the studios thought her “unlady-like” behavior would sell her films, more. Velez didn’t have the starlet, steel curtain to protect her. Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford were a holy, Hollywood union. This didn’t stop him from having a marriage-ending affair, with Velez, though. Gary Cooper had a 2-year affair with Lupe, that wreaked havoc, on Gary’s personal & professional life. When he was making “Morocco” with Marlene Dietrich, he had an affair with her, despite girlfriend, Lupe’s constant presence. Marlene told interviewers, “Gary was under control of Lupe”. She and Gary publicly brawled and battled. Throwing objects at his face and hitting with her fists.. Lupe even unzipped his pants in front of party guests and placed her nose near the area to, ahem.. find out if he was cheating.. This was all racially categorized as Velez being a “Hot Tamale” or a “Hot Pepper”. Yes, Lupe had legendary affairs with Clark Gable, Russ Columbo, John Gilbert, Jack Dempsey, Jimmy Durante, and Charlie Chaplin, which are known. But, we can’t all blame Lupe Velez! Can we? Lupe was renowned for “giving it” to the white glamour girls, by doing grotesque impersonations of them, during parties, in public, and on-stage. But, her favorite victim was Delores Del Rio, whom she believed MGM placed on a, pedestal. In 1934, Lupe married Tarzan and Olympic athlete, Johnny Weismuller. The marriage was famed for public fights and beatings, but it was Johnny who had the bruises, not Velez. They stayed at it for five years and ended with divorce. In 1940-42, Lupe made a series of successful, films that incorporated the title”Mexican Spitfire”. These flicks capitalized on her race and personality. Lupe had an affair in the mid-40’s with bit-actor, Harald Maresch. She became pregnant with his child. Lupe being the devout Catholic, she was insisted upon marriage. When he refused, Lupe became desperate. She decided to take her own life. Here’s where the “Hollywood Babylon” lies told by, Kenneth Anger need debunked…Lupe did do an outrageous, horrible act by committing suicide and infanticide, but she didn’t draw a bath filled with lotus blossoms, then because her last meal gave her the runs, jumped out naked, ran to the toilet, slipping on vomit and bashing her head into her porcelain throne. No, her assistant of 10 years found Velez, with her bed surrounded with flowers, a suicide note which was addressed to Maresch, and the lifeless body of Lupe on the floor, next to the bed. She had taken around 80 tablets of Seconal, ending her and her baby’s life. The rest is bad-taste, gossip. Lupe lived and died her way, just how she wanted without caring how she appeared, socially. She once said:, “Lupe must be free, free, free! I flirt, I kiss, I do what I like, but no man shall boss me!” .. And no one, ever did.


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