Mexican actress Angélica María honored in San Miguel during GIFF
By Jesús Ibarra
Angélica María, known as “La Novia de Mexico” (The Bride of Mexico), was honored on Friday, July 25, at the Guanajuato International Film Festival (GIFF). At noon, she offered a master class led by film producer and director Roberto Fiesco. During her talk, Angelica Maria spoke of her career.
In 1943, Arnold Frederick Hartman, one of the most famous accordionists in the United States, married Angelica Ortiz, a Mexican, and took his new wife to live in Los Angeles. Almost a year later, Angelica knew she was pregnant. This did not stop Hartman from continuing to work and having his wife accompany him on every tour around the country. When Angélica was eight months pregnant, they had to make an emergency stop in New Orleans, and on September 27, 1944, Angelica María Hartman Ortiz was born. Little Angélica lived around the stage and music, thanks to her father’s vocation. However, when she was 5, her parents divorced. Angélica María came to Mexico with her mother.
Her aunt, Yolanda Ortiz, a movie actress, took her to a party where they met producer Gregorio Walerstein. He told them he needed a boy was for his next film. Angélica María heard that and said, “Cut my hair, and I’m that boy.” Walerstein thought she was so cute that he told her aunt to take her to the film audition. She got the role of Miguelito in the movie Pecado (Sin), photographed by Gabriel Figueroa. It was filmed in May, 1950, when Angélica was not yet six. Her film career as a child actress continued in several films such as Mi esposa y la otra (My wife and the Other), for which she won the Ariel for best child actress. “I do not know why I won it,” says Angelica. “It was not such a great role, but I must have done it well. I was very fortunate to have grown up in the Golden Age of Mexican cinema. For me, working in movies is an uncontrollable passion.”
Other films in which she worked as a child were La ausente (1951) and La cobarde (1952), both by Julio Bracho, and Los gavilanes (1954) with Mexico’s most beloved actor Pedro Infante, when she was ten. Angélica recalls: “Pedro Infante was adorable and very sweet. He told me: ‘You are a great actress because you talk with your eyes.’ It was the best compliment I’ve ever been told.”
In 1955, Angélica María debuted in the theater in the play The Bad Seed, by Maxwell Anderson, in the role of Rhoda Penmark, an evil girl. “Rhoda kills her classmate and the school janitor who saw her killing the child,” recalls Angélica. “Then, when I participated in the collection of the Red Cross, nobody gave me nothing, and people used to tell (me) I was a bad girl. And I said, ‘but I’m a good girl, I’m only acting.’” The Bad Seed was made into a Hollywood film in 1956 by Mervin LeRoy, with Patty McCormack in the role of Rhoda. “Theater is wonderful and very important for any actor. I understood perfectly well what I was doing, and I played and enjoyed, “said Angelica.
In 1963 when she was 18, she starred in the movie Los signos del Zodiaco, in which she played the role of an ambitious young daughter of an alcoholic woman with indigenous features, the concierge of a multifamily building. In the sixties she starred in several romantic juvenile movies with a rock’n roll environment. She recorded her first album as a singer in 1962, including the successful song “Eddie, Eddie,” with the company Musart, with which she would record a total of eight albums. Then she made several more with RCA Victor. Because of her success as a juvenile singer and actress, she became known as the “Bride of Youth” and then as the “Bride of Mexico.” She has recorded over 60 albums.
In movies, she played good girl roles. “In real life I was also a good girl, the prototype of the girl at the time: amorous, dreamy and pretty soppy,” says Angélica.
In 1968 Angelica put aside her good-girl image for the first time while acting in the role of Charlotte Corday in the play Marat/ Sade by Peter Weiss. “With this play, I conquered the college intellectual students, who considered me the frivolous and stupid movie star,” she commented.
In movies she had also started doing other kinds of roles. In 1967, her mother, Angelica Ortiz, went into partnership with director Carlos Velo and young author José Agustín and filmed the movie Cinco de chocolate y uno de fresa, starring Angelica. This was a revolutionary film for its time. Two years later, she starred in Alguien nos quiere matar, made by the same team, and in 1970, in Ya sé quien eres, te he estado observando, the only film directed by José Agustín. In 1971, Angelica starred in what is perhaps her best film, La verdadera vocación de Magdalena, in which she plays a young woman trying to escape the stifling protection of her mother.
“I stopped making films although I was called by many important directors who asked me to appear nude before the cameras, but I did not like that, so I stopped appearing in films, and I took refuge in theater.”
Angelica starred in a number of plays produced by her mother, most of them musical, such as Gigi, by Colette, in 1974, and Daddy Long Legs, in 1977.
Angélica María starred in soap operas as well. The most remembered, Muchacha italiana viene a casarse, opened the international market for Mexican soap operas, now famous in China, Russia, Italy and South America.
In 1987, Angélica María starred in the thriller, To Kill a Stranger in English. It also starred Dean Stockwell and Donald Pleasence. In 2002, after years of absence, she returned to films in the short film ¿Qué me va a hacer?. In recent years she has acted alongside her daughter Angelica Vale in the soap opera La fea más bella and in an episode of the series Mujeres Asesinas (Killer Women).
On the afternoon of Friday, July 25, Angélica María rode through the streets of San Miguel de Allende in a horse-drawn carriage, in the middle of a traditional parade of fools and masquerades. In the evening, she was honored during the opening GIFF ceremony, and afterwards her film, Cinco de chocolate y uno de fresa, was screened at the Jardín.