Sara Montiel

Sara Montiel
Sara Montiel

Sara Montiel with MC Joaquin Santiago during a presentation at the "Teatro Puerto Rico"
Born María Antonia Abad
March 10, 1928 (1928-03-10) (age 83)
Campo de Criptana, Ciudad Real, Spain
Years active 1944 - 2002
Spouse Tony Hernández (2002-2005) (divorced)
José Tous Barberán (1979-1992) (his death) 2 children
José Vicente Ramírez Olaya (1964-1970) (divorced)
Anthony Mann (1957-1961) (divorced)

Sara Montiel (also Sarita Montiel or Saritísima) (born March 10, 1928) is a Spanish singer, and actress. She is still a much-loved and internationally known name in the Spanish-speaking movie and music industries.

Montiel was born in Campo de Criptana in the region of Castile-La Mancha in 1928 as María Antonia Abad (complete name María Antonia Alejandra Vicenta Elpidia Isidora Abad Fernández). After her unprecedented international hit in Juan de Orduña's El Último Cuplé in 1957, Montiel achieved the status of mega-star in Europe and Latin America. She was the first woman to distill sex openly in Spanish cinema at a time when even a low cut dress was not acceptable.

Montiel was the most commercially successful Spanish actress during the mid twentieth century in much of the world. Miss Montiel's film "Varietes" was banned in Beijing in 1973. Her films "El Último Cuple" and "La Violetera" netted the highest gross revenues ever recorded for films made in the Spanish speaking movie industry during the 50s and 60s. She also played the role of Antonia, the niece of Don Quixote, in the 1947 Spanish film version of Cervantes's great novel.

She was recently portrayed in the Pedro Almodóvar film Bad Education by a male actor in drag (Gael García Bernal) as the transsexual character Zahara, and a film clip from one of her movies was used as well.


Acting career

Montiel started in movies at 16 in her native Spain where she filmed her first international success playing an Islamic princess in the 1948 film Locura de Amor, released in the US as "The Mad Queen". Later she conquered Mexico, starring in a dozen films in less than five years. Hollywood came calling afterwards, and she was introduced to US moviegoers in the film Vera Cruz (1954) co-starring with Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster, and directed by Robert Aldrich. She was offered the standard seven-year contract at Columbia Pictures, which she quickly refused, afraid of Hollywood's typecasting policies for Hispanics. Instead she free-lanced at Warner Bros. with Mario Lanza and Joan Fontaine in Serenade (1956), directed by Anthony Mann, and at RKO in Samuel Fuller's Run of the Arrow (1957), opposite Rod Steiger and Charles Bronson.

The unexpected success of "El Ultimo Cuple" (1957) turned her into an overnight sensation both as an actor and a singer. From then on she combined filming highly successful vehicles, recording songs in five languages and performing live all over the world. Among the films that kept her immensely popular during the 1960s and early 1970s were "La Violetera" (1958) "Carmen, la de Ronda" (1959), "Mi Ultimo Tango" (1960), "Pecado de Amor" (1961), "La Bella Lola" (a 1962 version of "Camille"), "Casablanca, Nid d'espions"(1963), "Samba" (1964), "La Femme Perdue" (1966), "Tuset Street" (1967), "Esa Mujer" (1969), "Varietes" (1971)and others. By then she had become a legend to her millions of fans but became dissatisfied with the movie industry when producers started offering her roles in soft core porno films. In 1974 Montiel announced her retirement from movies but continued performing live, recording and starring on her own variety television shows in Spain. Currently she remains one of the highest paid celebrities in Spain's TV talk and reality shows.

In November 2009, Alaska from the pop group Fangoria invited Montiel to record a track sharing vocals with her for the re-release of the band's album Absolutamente. They recorded the title track Absolutamente as a duet and when the single was released it became an instant Top 10 hit. The music video for the song was also highly successful when released in early 2010.[1] Sara has no retirement plans and in May 2011, after almost 40 years without making a movie, she accepted to appear in a feature film directed by Óscar Parra de Carrizosa. The film title is Abrázame and it was shot on location in Montiel's birth place in La Mancha. According to the star, in this film she dares to do "a parody of her old screen image, just for fun."

Personal information

Montiel was born Maria Antonia Alejandra Abad Fernández on March 10, 1928 in Campo de Criptana in the province of Ciudad Real, Spain. She entered films after winning a beauty and talent contest at age 15. In her first movie she was credited as "Maria Alejandra" a shortened version of her real name. For her next film she changed her name to Sara, after her grandmother, and Montiel after the Montiel fields in the Castile-La Mancha region of her birth. She has been married four times:

  • Anthony Mann (American, Actor & Film Director) In Beverly Hills, California 1957-1963 (divorced)
  • José Vicente Ramírez-Olaya (Industrial Attorney) Rome, Italy 1964-1978 (annulled)
  • José Tous-Barberán (Attorney-Journalist) Palma de Mallorca, Spain 1979-1992 (Tous's death)
This marriage produced two adopted children: Thais (born 1979) Zeus (born 1982)
  • Antonio Hernández (Cuban Videotape Operator) Madrid, Spain 2002-2005 (divorced)

During the Francisco Franco dictatorship Spanish stars were forbidden to behave in any way that could be perceived at odds with Christian principles and morality, consequently they kept their private lives very private. Montiel was no exception. Pre-marital or out of wedlock relationships were never mentioned and her civil marriage to Anthony Mann was underplayed along with the divorce.

Her 1964 Catholic wedding in Rome was granted great publicity but no one was informed that the marriage only lasted a couple of months. By 1965 the couple had separated and Montiel had started a very secret love affair with Italian actor Giancarlo del Duca (aka Giancarlo Viola) It was all kept under wraps since divorce was illegal in both Italy and Spain.

In 1970 Sara broke up with Giancarlo and started a long-term relationship with José Tous. By the mid '70s censorship in Spain was abolished and the truth began coming out. Montiel requested an annulment of her second marriage and the Catholic Church granted it in 1978. The following year she married Tous in a civil ceremony and the marriage lasted until his death of cancer in 1992. By 1993 Sara was involved again with Giancarlo Viola. In 2002 the couple parted, and Montiel married a much younger man who resided in Cuba, a union that was doomed from the start and ended in divorce in 2004. Soon after, Viola was back in Montiel's life, and they seem committed to each other in spite of the fact that Montiel lives in Madrid and her partner remains in Italy.

In 2000 Montiel published her autobiography "Memories: To Live Is A Pleasure", an instant best seller with ten editions to date. A sequel "Sara and Sex" followed in 2003. In these books Montiel revealed other relationships in her past including one-night stands with writer Ernest Hemingway as well as actor James Dean. She also claimed a long term affair in the 1940s with playwright Miguel Mihura and mentioned that science wizard Severo Ochoa, a Nobel Prize winner, was the true love of her life.


  • Te Quiero para Mi - 1944 (credited as "Maria Alejandra")
  • Empezó en Boda - 1944
  • Bambu" - 1945
  • Se Le Fue el Novio - 1945
  • El Misterioso Viajero del Clipper -1946
  • Por El Gran premio - 1946
  • Vidas Confusas - 1947
  • Confidencia - 1947
  • Mariona Rebull - 1947
  • Don Quijote de la Mancha (Don Quixote in the U.S.) - 1947 (released in the US in 1949)
  • Alhucemas - 1948
  • Locura de amor (The Mad Queen in the U.S.) - 1949
  • La Mies es Mucha - 1949
  • Pequeñeces - 1950
  • That Man from Tangier -1950 (released in the US 1953)
  • Furia Roja - 1950 (English version: "Stronghold" with Veronica Lake in the Montiel part)
  • Cárcel de mujeres - 1951
  • Ahí viene Martín Corona - 1951
  • El Enamorado - 1951
  • Ella, Lucifer y Yo - 1952
  • Yo Soy Gallo Dondequiera - 1952
  • Piel Canela - 1953
  • Porque Ya No Me Quieres - 1953
  • Se Solicitan Modelos - 1954
  • Frente Al Pecado De Ayer - 1954
  • Yo No Creo en Los Hombres - 1954
  • Vera Cruz - 1954
  • Donde el círculo termina -1955 (Circle of Death in the U.S.)
  • Serenade - 1956
  • Run of the Arrow - 1957
  • El último cuplé - 1957
  • La Violetera - 1958
  • Carmen la de Ronda (The Devil Made a Woman in the US and UK.) - 1958
  • Mi Último Tango - 1960
  • Pecado de Amor - 1961
  • La Reina Del Chantecler - 1962
  • La Bella Lola - 1962
  • Noches De Casablanca - 1963
  • Samba - 1964
  • La Dama de Beirut - 1965
  • La Mujer Perdida - 1966
  • Tuset Street - 1967
  • Esa Mujer - 1969
  • Varietés - 1971
  • Cinco Almohadas para una Noche - 1973
  • Asaltar los Cielos(documental - 1996) As herself.
  • Sara Una Estrella (documental - 2001) As herself.
  • Machin, Toda Una Vida (documental -2002) As herself.
  • A Thousand Clouds of Peace - 2003 (Sara's recording of "Nena" used as theme song)
  • Bad Education -2004 (features a couple of Sara's songs and film clips)
  • Abrazame - 2011


  • Sara Montiel en Mexico
  • El Último Cuple
  • La Violetera
  • Baile con Sara Montiel
  • Carmen la de Ronda
  • Besos de Fuego
  • Mi Último Tango
  • El Tango
  • Pecado de Amor
  • La Bella Lola
  • Noches De Casablanca
  • Samba
  • La Dama de Beirut
  • Canta Sarita Montiel
  • Esa Mujer
  • Sara
  • Varietés
  • Sara... Hoy
  • Saritisima
  • Anoche con Sara
  • Purisimo Sara
  • Sara De Cine
  • Sara A Flor de Piel
  • Amados Mios
  • Todas Las Noches A Las Once
  • Sara Montiel La Diva
  • Sara Montiel La Leyenda


  • "Gold Medal", for life achievement, Spain's Academy of Arts and Cinema Sciences, 1997
  • The Legion of Honor1983 France
  • Ben Gurion Medal of Valor, Israel 1981
  • Premio del Sindicato 1957 (Spain's Oscar equivalent) Best female performance for El Último Cuple
  • Premio del Sindicato 1958 (Spain's Oscar equivalent) Best female performance for La Violetera
  • Ricardo Montalbán Nosotros Foundation Golden Eagle Award for life achievement, Hollywood 1987
  • 2001Rita Moreno HOLA Award for Excellence from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA).


External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Sara Montiel — Données clés Nom de naissance María Antonia Alejandra Vicenta Elpidia Isadora Abad Fernández Naissance …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sara Montiel — (* 10. März 1928 in Campo de Criptana, Provinz Ciudad Real, Spanien als María Antonia Alejandra Vicenta Elpidia Isidora Abad Fernández) ist eine spanische Schauspielerin. Leben Als 16jährige gewann Montiel einen Nachwuchswettbewerb und wurde von… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sara Montiel — Maria Antonia Abad Fernandez más conocida como Sara Montiel nace en Campo de Criptana, Ciudad Real, España, el 10 de marzo de 1928, es actriz de cine y cantante española …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Montiel (surname) — Montiel is a surname of Spanish origin. It comes from the area of Southern Spain known as Campo de Montiel and the town located within the area called Montiel, in the Spanish province of Ciudad Real. People with the last name Montiel most likely… …   Wikipedia

  • Montiel — heißen die Orte Montiel (St. Gallenkirch), ein Maisäß im Bezirk Bludenz Montiel (Spanien), Ort in Kastilien La Mancha Montiel ist der Familienname folgender Personen: José Montiel (* 1988), paraguayischer Fußballspieler Rafael Montiel (* 1981),… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sara (nombre) — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Este artículo trata sobre el nombre de mujer. Para otros usos, véase Sara (desambiguación). Sara Sarah Bernhardt Origen Hebreo Género Femenino …   Wikipedia Español

  • Montiel — es una población del sudeste de la provincia de Ciudad Real en España (comunidad autónoma de Castilla La Mancha). Se encuentra dentro de la comarca del Campo de Montiel en el margen izquierdo del río Jabalón y dentro del valle que forman las… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Montiel, Sara — (1928 )    Sara Montiel was the most international Spanish star of the 1950s and 1960s. Her musicals were popular in France and Italy, where she was regarded as Spain s answer to Italian maggioratas such as Gina Lollobrigida. She was born into a… …   Guide to cinema

  • Montiel, Sara — (1928 )    Sara Montiel was the most international Spanish star of the 1950s and 1960s. Her musicals were popular in France and Italy, where she was regarded as Spain s answer to Italian maggioratas such as Gina Lollobrigida. She was born into a… …   Historical dictionary of Spanish cinema