Octavio Paz once said: “Maria Felix was born twice: her parents gave birth and she then was invented herself … the great creation of Maria Felix is herself”
During her lifetime, Maria had to face and overcome many challenges and obstacles that eventually made her the diva of Mexico’s national cinema. It’s a fact that her beauty opened the doors of the movie industry, but her difficult temper turned her into “La Doña.”
“I always envied educated and intelligent people. I met a lot and always wanted to have that intellectual glow, that vivacity to speak.”
Although she never referred to herself as a feminist, Maria believed that the future of women depended on education and she was an example of it. When she made her way into the film industry, she wanted to be more than a pretty face so her perfectionist nature led her to educate herself in drama. In time, she would become recognized not only as a diva but a as one of the greatest actresses in the industry.
All her life men, groveled for her. Her femme fatale image fascinated the greatest artists and intellectuals of the 20th century. Even King Faruk of Egypt was a fan. She received Octavio Paz, Leon Trotsky and Juan Rulfo at her home. Diego Rivera, Leonora Carrington and Orozco painted the beauty of Felix, while directors Luis Buñuel and Emilio “el indio” Fernandez immortalized her in film.
“It is not enough to be pretty. You have to know how to be pretty”
In music, Cuco Sánchez, José Alfredo Jiménez, Agustin Lara and Juan Gabriel used Maria as inspiration. Felix’s fame went beyond the Americas and throughout her career she filmed over 47 films in Italy, France, Argentina, Germany and Spain.
Her popularity in the old continent came to rise when fashion brands such as Dior, Channel, Givenchy, Balenciaga and many others made outfits just for her. In fact, in 1984, the National Italian Chamber of Fashion and the French Federation of Couture named her as one of the best dressed women in the world.
“Money doesn’t give you happiness, but it does help calm the nerves.”
A famous actress as well as a business woman, she had an extensive collection of jewelry, porcelain, antique furniture, art and several properties in Mexico and abroad. In France, her late husband, Alex Berger left her 87 horses which she cared after his death.
The life of Maria Bonita came to an end on April 8th of 2002, the same day that she turned 88 years old.
“An original woman is not someone that doesn’t imitate someone, but someone that NOBODY can imitate.”