Katy Jurado was a famous actress from Mexico that became a role model for all young Mexican women. Maria Cristina Estela Marcela Jurado Garcia, her full name, was born on the 16th of January 1924 in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Katy Jurado comes from an educated and artistic family, as her father was a lawyer, and her mother was a famous Mexican singer. Both of her parents said that she was a child of great spirit, and she always ‘acting’ when she was young. But, they wanted more for her, and they were always pushing towards education ahead of performing. They were not supportive of her artistic soul and talent, which will shape her as a person. Her parents were very stern, so they put her in the Catholic school in Guadalupe Inn, and later, when she signed a movie contract and didn’t tell them, they threaten that they will send her to boarding school. On the movie set of one of her Mexican movies, she met Victor Velazquez, a famous actor whom she married and had two children with, a son named Victor Hugo, and a daughter Sandra. Katy Jurado married young, as she was looking to escape her strict parents and in need of more freedom.
At a young age, she expressed her love for acting and became famous in Mexico, especially during the ’40s and ’50s that is now also known as the Golden Age of the Mexican cinematography. Some of her best acting performances were in the movie classics No Mataras and El Bruto, where she got Arial Award for Best Supporting Actress. In these movies, her performance was notable, and she got everyone’s attention by playing the role of a woman with exotic beauty. It didn’t take her long to be noticed by the famous American filmmakers, and at the age of 27, she stared in her first Hollywood movie Bullfighter and the Lady. Even though her English wasn’t that good, her strong performance charmed everybody, including Stanley Kramer, a famous American producer. The successful debut meant a lot for young but experienced Katy, and it made way for her future projects. Although Katy Jurado stared in some great films, undoubtedly, her best performance was in the movie High Noon (1952), where she acted along with Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly. Jurado’s performance in this movie won her a Golden Globe award for the best-supporting actress. Her role in this movie also got the attention of a movie star Marlon Brando, who adored Katy.
Since her first movie was such a success, that the achievement of this movie brought Katy Jurado more serious roles, and her appearance in the film Broken Lance (1954), got her the nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. At the same time when she filmed the movie Broken Lance, she starred in the Mexican film Vera Cruz, which got her another award. On the set of this movie, she met her next husband, a movie actor Ernest Borgnine. They were together for five years when they decided to marry at the New Year’s Eve in 1959. This marriage lasted for only 4 years, which is by today’s Hollywood standards very long, and there were rumors that their marriage got physical. Even though this was a stormy marriage, they were very creative individuals and a hard-working couple, and they founded a production company named Sanvio Corp in 1960. The divorce was very hard for Katy and soon after she went back to Mexico, where she filmed a couple of films. It took her two years to overcome everything and to move back to Hollywood, where she starred in the movie Smoky. In the early 70’s she tried herself out on Broadway in the play The Red Devil Battery Sign, written by Tennessee Williams, along with Claire Bloom and Anthony Quinn.
During the filming of the movie, in 1982, Katy Jurado found out that her son had tragically passed away in the car accident. She took this very hard, and this tragedy left a huge mark in both her private and professional life. After taking a break from movies and public life, two years later she decided that it is time to put all her feelings on the stage, in the best way that she knows – by acting. Her huge return was in the movie called Under the Volcano. In her long-lasting career, she made her name playing mostly in Western genre movies. All of this wasn’t overlooked as she got honored in 1992 with the Golden Boot Award for her exceptional contribution to the Western genre. In the last years of her life, she appeared in a couple of films, and in 1998 she was acting as Mama Dorita in the Mexican movie El Evangelio de las Maravillas. This amazing acting performance was honored by another Ariel Award, her second one.
The last movie that she made was Un Secreto de Esperanza, which she filmed in 2002, but didn’t live long enough to see the premiere, as it was released after her death earlier that year (5th of July). Katy Jurado’s net worth is estimated to be 7 million dollars, which she gained during her long-lasting career (7 decades) in Mexico and the USA. She was always looking to act and earn her own money, even though she grew up in a wealthy family. Today, the Mexican legend and icon would make even more money, but what her appearance, career, and life meant for countless people can never be measured.
Maria Cristina Estela Marcela Jurado Garcia’s life and her significant role in the Mexican cinematography will forever be remembered and cherished. Her turbulent life and remarkable career is a good starting point for all young Mexican girls, who looked upon her as a genuine role model. Katy Jurado is the best Mexican actress that Mexico ever had, and her legacy will stay for generations. Those who knew her, always said that they are grateful that they got the chance to meet her.