Libertad Lamarque

This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Lamarque and the second or maternal family name is Bouza.
Libertad Lamarque
Born Libertad Lamarque Bouza
(1908-11-24)November 24, 1908
Rosario, Argentina
Died December 12, 2000(2000-12-12) (aged 92)
Mexico City, Mexico
Cause of death Heart attack
Nationality Argentine
Occupation Actress, singer
Years active 1930-2000
Spouse(s) Emilio Romero (1926-1945)
Alfredo Malerba (1945-1994) (his death)
Children Mirtha Libertad Romero Lamarque de Luca (1927-2014)
Awards Golden Ariel Award 2000

Libertad Lamarque (Spanish pronunciation: [liβerˈtað laˈmarke]; November 24, 1908 – December 12, 2000) was an Argentine actress and singer, one of the icons of the Golden Age of Argentine and Mexican cinema. She achieved fame throughout Latin America, and became known as “La Novia de América” (“The Sweetheart of the Americas”). By the time she died in 2000, she had appeared in 65 films (21 filmed in Argentina, 45 in Mexico and one in Spain) and six soap operas, had recorded over 800 songs and had made innumerable theatrical appearances.


Libertad Lamarque was born November 24, 1908 in Rosario, Santa Fe Province, Argentina to Gaudencio Lamarque[1] and Josefa Bouza. She was named Libertad (Liberty) because at the time of her birth, her father, a Uruguayan anarchist of French descent, was imprisoned and pleading for release.[1]

Early career

At the age of 7, Lamarque won first prize in a stage competition,[2] and participated with a group of street singers that made tours of nearby cities.[3] In 1923, she appeared in her first professional role, the stage show "Madre Tierra".[2] Her local acclaim convinced her parents that the family should relocate to Buenos Aires, where Libertad's chances of a career would be better. The family hung their hopes on a letter of introduction from a local journalist to the owner of the National Theatre, Pascual Carcavallo. It proved successful, as in 1926 Libertad was hired to sing in the choir and given a one-year contract. Her debut was in a play called "La muchacha de Montmartre" ("The Girl from Montmartre") by José A. Saldías, where she sang as part of a trio with Olinda Bozán and Antonia Volpe, to the guitar accompaniment of Rafael Iriarte. Within a couple of months, she had begun singing on Radio Prieto and was signed for record production with Victor Records, which released her first album, Gaucho Sol, on 26 September 1926, as well as the single "Chilenito".[3]

In 1929 she began working in Alberto Vaccarezza's, El conventillo de la Paloma ("The Tenement of the Dove"), which was about the life of a girl Doce Pesos, living in an immigrant tenement house. After two years and 1,000 performances, Lamarque quit the show to focus on her music career. She traveled through several provinces of Argentina and through neighboring Paraguay accompanied by the guitarists Gregorio Rivero, Angel Las Heras and Nicolás Ferrari.[3] In 1930,[4] following this tour she entered a competition held at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, won first prize for her performances of the tangos "La cumparsita" and "Tocaneando",[5] and earned the title "Queen of Tango".[3] She capped this productive music cycle by performing Oscar Straus's "Tres valses" ("Three Waltzes"), an adaptation of the operetta, with Chilean singer Choly Mur.[3]

Lamarque in Adiós, Argentina (1930)

In the mid-30s Lamarque was accompanied by a trio of musicians who were regarded as being amongst the best of the age, including bandoneon player Héctor María Artola, violinist Antonio Rodio, and pianist, Alfredo Malerba, who would become her second husband. She shone in works that were painful and romantic, such as “En esta tarde gris” (In this gray afternoon), “Sombras, nada más” (Shadows, nothing else), “Tristezas de la calle Corrientes” (Sorrows of Corrientes Street) or “Caserón de tejas” (Mansion of Tiles) and two of her best, “Canción desesperada” (Desperate Song) and “Sin palabras” (Without words). Many of her best songs were by composer Enrique Santos Discepolo because they particularly suited her style.[4]

She filmed "Adiós, Argentina"[1] directed by Italian Mario Parpagnoli[3] in 1929, which was released the following year, and the first Argentine film with sound ¡Tango! in 1932, which resulted in her being the first singer to be recorded for a sound film in Argentina.[1] Lamarque was a light soprano with a vocal range from approximately middle C (C4) to "high A" (A5). After ¡Tango! 's release in 1933, a string of films followed, including El alma del bandoneon (1935),[5] Ayúdame a vivir (1936),[3] Besos brujos (1937),[5] La ley que olvidaron (1937), Madreselva (1938), Puerta cerrada (1939), Caminito de la gloria (1939), La casa del recuerdo (1940), Cita en la frontera(1940),[3] Una vez en la vida (1941),[5] Yo conocí a esa mujer (1942), En el viejo Buenos Aires (1942), Eclipse de sol (1942), El fin de la noche (1944), La cabalgata del circo (1945) and many more.[3] Her best film roles, much like her music, allowed her to explore pain and resilience. Often defiant, usually mothers or abandoned women, her characters overcame life's tragedies by their own talents. She was not afraid of depicting negative roles, but she was always careful to maintain respectability.[6]

Legendary rift with Eva Perón

Eva Perón & Libertad Lamarque in film La cabalgata del circo (1945).

Legend has it that Lamarque left Argentina because she had been blacklisted by its First Lady, Eva Perón.[1][2][5] Marysa Navarro and Nicholas Frasier, authors of Evita: The Real Life of Eva Perón, however, contend that this is not likely. They argue that Lamarque moved to Mexico, where she was already adored by the audiences, because Mexican cinema was in a better state during the 1940s and ’50s than Argentine cinema. The authors also point out that Lamarque traveled freely between Argentina and Mexico during the lifetime of Eva Perón and beyond, which does not support the blacklisting legend.[7]

Lamarque herself denied during her lifetime certain aspects of the legend, especially the reports that she had slapped Eva on the set of La cabalgata del circo. In her 1986 autobiography she flatly denied the allegations and explained that she was simply mortified by Eva's lack of discipline during production of the film.[8] According to Lamarque, Eva refused to take her work seriously and always arrived late or stalled the filming for trivial personal reasons. Complaints to either the producer or the director produced no result, as they were giving Eva preferential treatment as the girlfriend of Juan Perón.[9] By 1945, Eva and Juan Perón were ensconced in the Presidential Palace,[10] rumors circulated that Evita had forbidden radio stations and film studios to play Lamarque's music or hire her,[5] and Lamarque's films, music and publicity in Argentina seemed to have come to and end.[2]

Relocation to Mexico

Between January and February 1946, Lamarque appeared in her first tour of Cuba, which was listed as the artistic event of the season. On January 7, she debuted in the Teatro América with a varied repertoire, but closed the show with “Facundo” by the Cuban Eliseo Grenet to much applause. She performed shows daily, sometimes twice a day and on her final performance at Teatro América, January 20, she held three performances. She also performed at Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Santa Clara, Holguin and Santiago de Cuba; visited hospitals and schools; and her farewell performance at the Municipal Amphitheatre of Havana was said to have been attended by 20,000 fans.[11] It was on this trip that the Cuban press first dubbed her America's Sweetheart.[12]

Just before the Cuban trip, Hollywood had offered Lamarque a seven-year contract but she refused it as she did not speak English and was afraid she would be taken advantage of.[2][11] Despite her fears of working in the US, Lamarque sold out Carnegie Hall for a 1947 performance.[2][13] When Mexico, on the other hand, offered her a picture deal to appear with legendary Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel, she agreed.[14] and moved to Mexico in 1946.[5] The picture, "Gran Casino" co-starring Jorge Negrete was a flop,[14] but other roles followed, such as Soledad (1947), La dama del velo (1948), Huellas de un pasado (1950), Mujeres sin lágrimas (1951), Nunca es tarde para amar (1952), Ansiedad (1952), and Rostros olvidados (1952).[15] Some of her best work during this period was in Otra primavera, filmed in 1949, La loca (1951) and Cuando me vaya (1953); for each of these she was nominated for a Best actress Ariel Award in 1951, 1953, and 1955, respectively.[16]

Lamarque during her prime

Some of her last movies included Bodas de oro (1955), Amor de sombra (1959), Yo pecador (1959), Rosas blancas para mi hermana negra (1969),[10] with Cuban singer Eusebia Cosme[17] and her last two Argentine films, La sonrisa de mamá (1972) and La mamá de la novia (1978).[18] But as she wound down her movie career, she began touring with music again. In the late 1950s, she did a concert tour with Puerto Rican singer Jesús Quiñones Ledesma[19] and worked in Chile, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and returned to Cuba to do theater and record a several albums.[12]

She returned to Argentina after Evita's death and was the first person to bring a Spanish version of "Hello Dolly" to Latin audiences at a 1967 performance at the Teatro Nacional in Buenos Aires,[12] which she also later performed in Mexico in 1968 staged by Manolo Fabregás.[20] In 1982 she starred in the musical revue, "Libertad Lamarque, ¿es una mujer de suerte?" at the Teatro Lola Membrives in Buenos Aires. She wrote the script, which was adapted by Nicolás Carreras under the musical direction of Oscar Cardozo Ocampo. In 1988, Lamarque participated in the season at Mar del Plata's Teatro Opera with the musical "A todo tango II" under the direction of José Colángelo.[18]

In the 1960s she appeared in several episodes of a television show called "Saturday Circular" with Nicholas Mancera and in 1961, she filmed Así era mi madre, her only Spanish film. Her first venture into soap operas came in Venezuela, when she was offered a role in Esmeralda in 1972. That was followed by another Venezuelan production called "Mamá".[18] In 1980 she began the first of her Mexican telenovelas, "Soledad", followed by her role in "Carita de Angel" at the age of 91 where she played as a Mother superior. Her last role, as la abuela Piedad in "La Usurpadora" (The Usurper) took place in 1998 - two years before her death.

Lamarque in 1982

Lamarque received an award in 1978 from Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez for her contributions to Latin American culture[12] and in 1980 and shared a Critic's Choice Award with Maria Félix.[12] In 1985 she received the Konex Platinum Award for Best Tango Singer in Argentina. In 1988, she put her hand prints in the "Walk of Fame of the Hermitage Hotel". In 1989, she was honored at the Festival of San Sebastian, Spain, for her film achievements and was recognized by the Caesar Awards given by the Association of American theater to Latin American artists in Los Angeles. That same year, a tile bearing her name placed in the "Sidewalk of Latin Stars" in Miami and a tribute was held for her at the Autumn Festival of Paris. She was appointed "Illustrious citizen of the city of Buenos Aires" in 1990 and on 15 November 1991, a few days before her birthday, the Municipal Council of Rosario granted her a similar distinction.[18] Lamarque was honored in 1993 by "Celebrando Magazine", a Spanish-language publication which is nationally distributed in the US, for her 70 years in film, theater and music and her philanthropy.[2] In 1998, she was appointed as Honorary Cultural Advisor and designated as a Cultural Legend in Buenos Aires.[21]

She died December 12, 2000, in Mexico City, Mexico.[1]

Personal life

In 1926, Lamarque married Emilio Romero and had a daughter, Mirtha, with him before divorcing in 1945. Divorce was not possible at that time in Argentina and though the marriage was quickly over, it would take 12 years to officially be ended.[1] In 1935, she suffered several personal crises which led to a suicide attempt in Chile. She attempted to throw herself out of a hotel window, but an awning broke her fall. Shortly thereafter, her estranged husband kidnapped their daughter and took Mirtha to Uruguay: A group of friends, including Alfredo Malerba, and her attorney were able to help her regain custody.[3][22] Lamarque's second husband was Alfredo Malerba, with whom she was married for nearly 50 years, until his death.[11]



Lamarque worked with RCA Victor for seventy years.

Films in Argentina.

Tango (1933)

Films in Mexico

  • Gran Casino - 1946
  • Soledad - 1947
  • La dama del Velo - 1948 ... Andrea del Monte
  • Otra primavera - 1949 ... Amelia
  • La marquesa del barrio - 1950 ... Cristina Payares/La Marquesa
  • Huellas del pasado - 1950
  • Te sigo esperando - 1951 ... Elena Montenegro
  • La loca - 1951 ... Elena Prim viuda de Villaseñor
  • La mujer sin lágrimas - 1951 ... Consuelo
  • Ansiedad - 1952 ... María de Lara
  • Nunca es tarde para amar - 1952 ... Malisa Morales
  • Acuérdate de vivir - 1952 ... Yolanda
  • Rostros olvidados - 1952 ... Rosario Velazquez
  • Si volvieras a mi - 1953 ... Alejandra
  • When I Leave - 1953 ... María Grever
  • La Infame - 1953 ... Cristina Ferrán
  • Anxiety - 1953
  • Reportaje - 1953
  • La mujer X - 1954
  • Bodas de oro - 1955
  • Música de siempre - 1955
  • Historia de un amor - 1955 ...Elena Ramos
  • Escuela de música - 1955 ... Laura Galván
  • Bambalinas - 1956
  • Mis padres se divorcian - 1957 ... Diana Váldes
  • Cuatro copas - 1957 ... Eugenia Pavel
  • La mujer que no tuvo infancia - 1957 ... Rosaura
  • Sabrás que te quiero - 1958 ... Amelia Rey/Mónica/Gabriela
  • Love in the Shadows - 1959 ... Claudia
  • Yo, pecador - 1959 ... Doña Virginia
  • El pecado de una madre - 1960 ... Ana María
  • La cigüeña dijo sí - 1960
  • El cielo y la tierra - 1962 ... Sor Lucero/Sister María de la Luz
  • Canción del alma - 1963 ... María Maragón
  • Los hijos que yo soñé - 1964 ... Mariana
  • Canta mi corazón - 1964 ... Luisa Lamas
  • Arrullo de Dios - 1966 ... Luz
  • El hijo pródigo - 1968 ... Alegría Román
  • Rosas blancas para mi hermana negra - 1969 ... Laura
  • Hoy he soñado con Dios - 1971 ... Lina Alonso
  • La loca de los milagros - 1973 ... Aurora Durban
  • Negro es un bello color - 1973 ... Eugenia

Films in Spain

Other media productions





  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Romero, Simon (25 December 2000). "Libertad Lamarque, Mexican Star, Dies at 92". New York City, New York: The New York Times. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Moran, Julio (23 October 1993). "Viva Libertad: Entertainment: Magazine honors Latina star for 70 years in film and music. She became a living legend in Mexican cinema.". Los Angeles, California: LA Times. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Pinsón, Néstor. "Libertad Lamarque" (in Spanish). Buenos Aires, Argentina: Agencia el Vigia. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  4. 1 2 Nudler, Julio (13 December 2000). "Murio en Mexico Libertad Lamarque, "La Novia de America"" (in Spanish). Buenos Aires, Argentina: Página/12. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Libertad Lamarque". London: The Telegraph. 14 December 2000. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  6. Lechner, Ernesto (12 September 2014). "Libertad Lamarque, recordando a la novia de América" (in Spanish). AARP. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  7. Fraser, Nicholas; Navarro, Marysa (1996). Evita: The Real Life of Eva Perón (Norton paperback ed.). New York: W.W. Norton. p. 202. ISBN 978-0-393-31575-2. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  8. Pigna, Felipe (2007). Evita (1. ed.). Buenos Aires: Planeta. p. 275. ISBN 950-491-798-4. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  9. García Blaya, Ricardo. "Libertad Lamarque y Eva Perón: dos muñecas bravas" (in Spanish). Buenos Aires, Argentina: Agencia el Vigia. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  10. 1 2 "Homenaje continental a Libertad Lamarque" (in Spanish). Mexico City, Mexico: La Crónica. EFE. 24 November 2008. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  11. 1 2 3 4 Ortega, Josefina (29 June 2012). "La verdadera novia de América" (in Spanish). Havana, Cuba: La Jiribilla. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 Cosentin, Olga (13 December 2000). "El final de un sueño" (in Spanish). Buenos Aires, Argentina: Clarín. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  13. "Libertad Lamarque". The New York Times. New York, New York: The New York Times. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  14. 1 2 Acevedo-Muñoz, Ernesto R. (2003). "Buñuel and Mexico: The Crisis of National Cinema" (PDF). Berkeley, California: University of California Press: 49–53.
  15. "Muere famosa actriz argentina Libertad Lamarque" (in Spanish). Santiago, Chile: Emol - El Mercurio. 12 December 2000. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  16. 1 2 3 4 5 "Ariel > Ganadores y nominados > Libertad Lamarque". Academia Mexicana de Cine (in Spanish). Mexico City, Mexico: Academia Mexicana de Cine. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  17. Espinosa Domínguez, Carlos (26 August 2011). "Con vida negra y pureza propia" (in Spanish). Madrid, Spain: Cuba Encuentro. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  18. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Libertad, la "Novia de América"" (in Spanish). Buenos Aires, Argentina: La Capital. 29 July 2010. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  19. "Jesús Quiñones Ledesma". Jesús Quiñones Ledesma. Jesús Quiñones Ledesma. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  20. Carrera, Claudio (3 February 1998). "Remembering Mexico's 'Mr. Theatre,' Manolo Fabregas". Playbill. New York City, New York. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  21. "Adiós a la estrella de América" (in Spanish). Buenos Aires, Argentina: La Nacion. 13 December 2000. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  22. "Homenaje a Libertad Lamarque" (in Spanish). Mexico City, Mexico: Terra. 9 April 2007. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
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