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Tuesday, 9 April, 2002, 16:26 GMT 17:26 UK
Mexico mourns its 'Marilyn'
Felix was placed in a closed coffin in Mexico City
Felix was placed in a closed coffin in Mexico City
Thousands of Mexicans have paid tribute to one of the country's most famous actresses, Maria Felix, who died from a heart attack on her 88th birthday.

She was renowned as a femme fatale throughout Latin America and the one-time lover of the painter Diego Rivera.

There have been few of her stature and quality

Mexican president Vicente Fox
The body of Felix, described as Mexico's Marilyn Monroe, was placed in a closed coffin in Mexico City's Palacio de Bellas Artes.

Mourners including government officials and fellow actors such as Salma Hayek have paid their respects.

Mexican president Vicente Fox said Felix left a legacy of history and prestige behind her.

He said: "This was a great loss for all Mexicans, of a great Mexican that brought a great shine to our country.

"She was one of the drivers of democratic change in the nation. As an artist, she gave a huge world image to Mexico. There have been few of her stature and quality."

Felix was married four times
Felix was married four times
Striking for her long, dark wavy hair and pale complexion, Felix made her film debut in 1942 in El penon de las Animas (The Crag of the Souls) alongside popular Mexican actor Jorge Negrete, whom she later married.

She made 47 films in her career though few of them were shown widely outside Spanish-speaking nations.

She often portrayed strong, silent women, endowed with intelligence and a voluptuous glamour.

She was married four times and linked romantically with the late Mexican painter Rivera.

In an interview she once said: "I cannot complain about men. I have had tons of them and they have treated me fabulously well.

"But sometimes I had to hurt them to keep them from subjugating me."


Born in 1914 in Alamos, northern Sonora state, her real name was Maria de los Angeles Felix Guerena but she became affectionately known as La Dona, or The Dame in Mexico after her film hit Dona Barbara in 1943.

She also had a home in Paris where she spent half the year and in 1996 France awarded her the nation's highest distinction, the National Order of Arts and Letters.

Felix last starred in La Generala (The Lady General) in 1970, after which she worked on a series of film projects but none reached fruition.

Asked once how old she was, Felix quipped: "I have been very busy living my life and haven't had time to count."

See also:

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05 Apr 00 | Americas
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