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Ms. Velez was Johnny Weissmuller's wife from 1933-1939.Lupe Velez met actor Johnny Weissmuller while the two were in New York. After they both returned to Los Angeles, they dated off and on while Vélez also dated actor Errol Flynn. On October 8, 1933, Vélez and Weissmuller were married in Las Vegas. As in her past relationship, this coupling was also stormy with reports of domestic violence and public fights. In July 1934, after ten months of marriage, Vélez filed for divorce citing cruelty. She withdrew the petition a week later after reconciling with Weissmuller. On January 3, 1935, she filed for divorce a second time and was granted an interlocutory decree. That decree was dismissed when the couple reconciled a month later. In August 1938, Vélez filed for divorce for a third time again charging Weissmuller with cruelty. Their divorce was finalized in August 1939.
Vélez's well documented temper and jealousy also served to perpetuate the "Mexican Spitfire" persona. Her often tempestuous romantic relationships became tabloid fodder and often overshadowed her career. Vélez did nothing to stop these stories and regularly contacted gossip columnists to give them stories about her romantic exploits. Vélez was involved in several highly publicized and often stormy relationships over the course of her career. Upon arriving in Los Angeles, she was linked to actors Tom Mix, Charlie Chaplin and Clark Gable. Her first long-term, high-profile relationship was with actor Gary Cooper. Oft repeated tales chronicling her notorious temper include Vélez chasing her then lover Gary Cooper around with a knife during an argument and, on one occasion, slashing him severely enough to require stitches. After their breakup, Vélez attempted to shoot Cooper while he boarded a train. During her marriage to actor Johnny Weissmuller, stories of their frequent physical fights were regularly reported in the press. As with Cooper, Vélez reportedly inflicted scratches, bruises and hickeys on Weissmuller during their fights and "passionate lovemaking".
Lupe Velez was born on July 18, 1908, in San Luis de Potosi, Mexico, as Maria Guadalupe Villalobos Velez. She was sent to Texas at the age of 13 to live in a convent. She later admitted that she wasn't much of a student because she was so rambunctious. She had planned to become a champion roller-skater but that would change. Life was hard for her family, and Lupe returned to Mexico to help them out financially. She worked as a sales girl for a department store for the princely sum of $4 a week. Every week she would turn most of her salary over to her mother, but kept a little for herself so she could take dancing lessons. By now, she figured, with her mature shape and grand personality, she thought she could make a try at show business, and it was a lot more glamorous than dancing or being a sales clerk.
In 1924 Lupe started that career on the Mexican stage and wowed audiences with her natural beauty and talent. By 1927 she had emigrated to Hollywood, where she was discovered by Hal Roach, who cast her in a comedy with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Douglas Fairbanks cast her in his feature film, The Gaucho (1927), with himself and wife Mary Pickford. Lupe played dramatic roles for five years before she switched to comedy.
In 1933 she played the lead role of Pepper in Hot Pepper (1933). This film showcased her comedic talents and helped her to show the world her vital personality. She was delightful. In 1934 Lupe appeared in three fine comedies: Strictly Dynamite (1934), The Great Schnozzle (1934) and Laughing Boy (1934). By now her popularity was such that a series of "Mexican Spitfire" films were written around her. She portrayed Carmelita Lindsay in Mexican Spitfire (1940), Mexican Spitfire Out West (1940), The Mexican Spitfire's Baby (1941) and Mexican Spitfire's Blessed Event (1943), among others. Audiences loved her in these madcap adventures but it seemed, at times, she was better known for her stormy love affairs.
She married one of her lovers, Johnny Weissmuller, but that only lasted five years and was filled with battles. Lupe certainly did live up to her nickname. She had a failed romance with Gary Cooper, who never wanted to wed her. By 1943 her career was waning. She went to Mexico in the hopes of giving herself a jump start. She gained the best reviews yet in the Mexican version of Naná (1944). Bolstered by that movie, Lupe returned to the US where she starred in her final film as Pepita Zorita in Ladies' Day (1943). There were to be no others.
On December 13, 1944, tired of yet another failed romance, with a part-time actor named Harald Maresch, and pregnant with his child, Lupe committed suicide with an overdose of Seconal. She was only 36 years old.
Lupe Velez on YouTube: MYSTERIES AND SCANDALS
Johnny Weissmüller and Lupe Velez: YOU BELONG TO ME
Velez, known for her stormy love affairs, summed up her relationships by saying,
"The first time you buy a house you think how pretty it is and sign the check.
The second time you look to see if the basement has termites. It`s the same with men."
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