María Félix, the accomplished Mexican film actress who was known for defying stereotypes and famously turning down Hollywood roles, would have turned 104 years-old Sunday. To celebrate her birthday, Google is honoring her with her own Google Doodle.
The Mexican star, who died in 2002 at age 87, acted in more than 47 films in her lifetime and was a muse to famous artists and writers like Diego Rivera and Jean Cocteau. Her incredible career spanned more than three decades. The entire time she “reigned as the supreme goddess of Spanish-language cinema,” according to her New York Times obituary.
Félix, did not speak English, which ultimately prevented her from pursing meaningful work in Hollywood (aside from the generic offers to play “Latin spitfires” which she rejected), but she acted in films everywhere from Mexico, Spain, France and Italy to Argentina. She landed her first part in 1942 in the well-known film El Peñón de las Ánimas. It was during the filming of El Peñón that “her offscreen defiance of famous co-star Jorge Negrete (who she eventually married) earned her the reputation for toughness that followed her throughout her life and career,” according to Google.
She came to embody the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema almost overnight, becoming an international sensation and force of nature who attracted fascinated fans from across the globe.
Mexican actress Maria Félix sitting on an armchair wearing a lace nightgown in the film La belle Otéro. 1954.
Mondadori Portfolio/Mondadori/Getty Images
Félix, was known not just for her bold personality, but also as an influencer of culture and fashion. Designers like Christian Dior and Cartier Paris made custom clothing and jewelry for the dynamite film icon, Google wrote. But her charisma and power on movie sets also allowed her to have a say over things like lighting, set design and wardrobe, decisions usually reserved for the male-dominated roles of directors and producers.
The film icon’s personal life was just as passionate and fiery as her on-screen life. Félix, was married and divorced four times and broke the hearts of many famous men over the course of her lifetime, according to the Times. She had one child, a son named Enrique Álvarez Félix, when she was 19 years old.
Her biographer Paco Ignacio Taibo described Félix as someone unlike anyone else in cinema at the time: ”This was the appearance of a personality who had nothing to do with the rest of Mexican cinema,” Taibo writes in his book. ”María was not only a singular beauty. She had a lofty bearing that stood in complete contrast to the traditionally submissive Mexican actress.”
Sunday’s Google Doodle was created by artist Paulette Jo.