Sara (Sarita) Montiel - biography

Sara (Sarita) Montiel (Campo de Criptana, Spain, March 10, 1928 - Madrid, Spain, April 8, 2013)

A Spanish film actress, born María Antonia Alejandra Vicenta Elpidia Isadora Abad Fernández. In her early teens she had already won a beauty and talent show organised by Cifesa, at the time the most influential Spanish film studio. As a winner she signed an acting contract and in 1944 made her debut in Ladislao Vajda’s I Want you for myself (1944). Noticing her talent, the studio gave her the leading role in the Empezó en boda (1944), for which she became a blond and took the aristic name Sara Montiel. Her grandmother’s first name was Sara, and Montiel is the name of a field in La Mancha where she was born. Her colleagues started calling her Sarita because of her youth and the name stuck. By 1950, she had acted in fourteen films, including Rafael Gil’s Don de la Mancha (1947). Her first international success came with Juan de Orduñe’s movie Madness of Love (1948) in which she portrayed an Arabian princess. Thanks to this film she got the opportunity to make a film in Mexico where she shot Red Fury (1951). Continuing to shoot there she became one of the most popular actresses in Mexico. From 1950 to 1955, she made thirteen movies in Mexico. Some of them are: Miguel Zacarías’ I Need Money (1952) and Little Love of My Life (1952), Juan José Ortega’s Cinnamon Skin (1953), I Do Not Believe In Men (1954), Alfred B. Crevenn’s The Scapegoat (1956). Audiences outside of Mexico knew her best from her role in Luis María Delgada and Robert Elwyn’s action comedy That Man From Tangier (1953), filmed in Spanish-American co-production. Thanks to her talent and popularity in Mexico her next big break came in an American production, Robert Aldritch’s western Vera Cruz (1954) with Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster. For Warner Bros. studio she made the Anthony Mann’s drama Serenade (1956). Two years later Montiel married the director Anthony Mann. After some time acted in the Spanish film biography of the singer Maria Luján directed by Juan de Orduñea The Last Torch Song (1957). The film did extremely well in Spanish movie theatres and fairly well in Western Europe and Latin America. At this time she was the most popular singer and actress in Spain. She acted in Samuel Fuller’s western Run of the Arrow (1957), and her performance in Luis César Amadori’s The Violet Seller (1958) surpassed her popularity from The Last Torch Song. Because of the great popularity of her songs from the movies, she began to sell records and hold concerts in tandem. She starred in Tuli Demicheli’s drama A Girl Against Napoleon (1959) and this movie was as successful as her next ones, My Last Tango (1960) and The Sin of Love (1961) by Luis César Amadori. During the 1960’s she continued to increase her popularity in Eastern Europe, Israel and Japan, at the same time performing in concerts. In this period she made films such as The Lovely Lola (1962), Casablanca, Nest of Spies (1963), Samba (1965), The Missing Woman (1966), Tuset Street (1968), That Woman (1969) and Varietés (1971). After shooting Pedro Lazage’s Five Pillows For Tonight (1974), she announced her retirement. She was disappointed in the open eroticism on film that became popular with the cease of censorship in post Franco’s Spain. During the 1970’s and 19080’s she had many successful roles in theatre musicals. In 1990, she acted in her own TV miniseries Sara and point. From 1992 to 1993, she was the host of the TV show Ven al Paralelo and at the same time sang and acted in sketches in front of a live audience in a theatre in Barcelona where the show was being recorded. Apart from the abovementioned roles she continued to have cameos in numerous TV series and the occasional movie and stayed active right until she passed away. In 2000, she published her autobiography. In the Spanish region of La Mancha, not far from where she was born, a windmill was converted into a museum dedicated to Sara Montiel.


The 2 Faces of Death (2012) (video)

Embrace Me (2011)

Zero/infinity (2002) (voice)

Not for Ketty (1997) (TV series, 1 episode)

Sara and point (1990) (TV series, 5 episodes)

Mare i fill, societat limitada (1980) (TV series, 1 episode)

Five Pillows For Tonight (1974)

Varieties (1971)

The House of The Martinez (1971)

That Woman (1969)

Tuset Street (1968)

The Missing Woman (1966)

The Lady of Beirut (1965)

Samba (1965)

Casablanca, Nest of Spies (1963)

Queen Chantecler (1962)

The Lovely Lola(1962)

Sin of Love (1961)

My Last Tango (1960)

A Girl Against Napoleon (1959)

The Violet Seller (1958)

Run of the Arrow (1957)

The Last Torch Song (1957)

The Scapegoat (1956)

Serenade (1956)

Yesterdays Waterfront Sin (1955)

Vera Cruz (1954)

Requested Models (1954)

Why Don’t You Want Me (1954)

I Do Not Believe In Men (1954)

Cock o’ The Walk!.. (1953)

Cinnamon Skin (1953)

That Man From Tangier (1953)

Ella, Lucifer and I (1953)

The Love (1952)

Little Love of My Life (1952)

I Need Money (1952)

Captain Poison (1951)

Women’s Prison (1951)

Red Fury (1951)

Trifles... (1950)

Confusing Lives (1949)

Madness of Love (1948)

Confidential (1948)

Lavenders (1948)

The Harvest Is Plentiful (1948)

Mariona Rebull (1947)

For The Grand Prize (1947)

Don Quijote de la Mancha (1947)

Bamoo (1945)

He Was The Boyfriend (1945)

The Mysterious Clipper traveller (1945)

Empezó en boda (1944)

I Want You For Myself (1944)