Ninón Sevilla, cine, México

The Cuban Ninón Sevilla, “queen of the rumberas” in the Golden Age of Mexican cinema

MADRID, Spain.- Starting out dancing in nightclubs in Cuba, the Havanan Ninón Sevilla became one of the most representative figures of the rumberas cinema of the 50s.

Her real name was Emelia Pérez Castellanos (1929-2015), but she had to adopt Ninón as her artistic name, to hide her profession as a dancer, which was not approved by her family. She chose the nickname in honor of the legendary French courtesan and writer Ninon de Lenclos.

Already recognized for her talent on the Island, she was invited by the Puerto Rican businessman, producer and director Fernando Cortés to work at the Teatro Lírico in Mexico City.

While there he helped Dámaso Pérez Prado to launch the mambo in that country. She rented the then Teatro Margo, in the center of Mexico City, to launch the new rhythm.

In the Aztec country he developed most of his career and made his way in film and television.

His first movie was little face of heaven (1946), directed by José Díaz Morales. Later, together with the director Alberto Gout, she starred in Revenge, Sensuality, I don’t deny my past, Adventure in Rio Y Adventuress; the latter, from 1950, is considered by critics as the masterpiece of the so-called “rumberas cinema” of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema.

He also worked with other renowned directors such as Emilio Fernández, Julio Bracho and Gilberto Martínez Solares.

The prowess in dancing and acting, and her ability to achieve difficult choreographies that appeared in these films, made her gain great popularity among the Mexican public, and she came to be considered the “queen of rumberas cinema”. While for her beauty and sensuality she became a sex symbol of the time.

With the decline of Mexican cinema, he moved away from the cameras for years, to return successfully in 1981, thanks to the film Carnival Night, by director Mario Hernández. For this feature film, which was a kind of tribute to the Cuban, Ninón won the Ariel Award for Best Actress of the Year.

In 1987 he made a special appearance in the film today like yesterdaydedicated to Benny More.

Ninón Sevilla also left her mark on television; her intervening in popular Mexican telenovelas such as Wild Rose (1987), Maria from the neighborhood (nineteen ninety five), the usurper (1998), Rosalind (1999) and the price of your love (2000).

The dancer was married to the Cuban doctor José Gil, who was widowed shortly after getting married. She had an only son, the musician Genaro Lozano.

Death by Emelia Pérez Castellanos, on January 1, 2015, was headlined in numerous Mexican newspapers. Her mortal remains were buried in the Lot of the Actors of the Panteón Jardín in Mexico City.

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