Katy Jurado , also known by her birth name Maria Cristina Estela Marcela Jurado Garcia, was born into a wealthy family on January 16th, 1924 in Mexico. Her acting career began during the early 1940s when she found fame during the Golden Era of Mexican Cinema, playing villainous “femme fatale” characters across numerous films. Although she was never given consent to jump into the acting world, as her family stuck to aristocratic ideals, she went ahead any way, taking on her first role in 1941 on the set of The Isle of Passion. In 1943 she was offered a role in No Mataras, where she began specializing in playing the role of wicked and seductive women. Jurado’s Hollywood career didn’t begin until the 1950s, when she was picked up by Budd Boetticher to play in The Bullfighter and the Lady (1951). From here on out she played in a number of successful Western Films like High Noon (1952), Arrowhead (1953), and Broken Lance (1954). Here are her top five greatest performances.
1 High Noon
A 1952 American Western film starring Grace Kelly, Gary Cooper, and Lee Van Cleef was selected for preservation by the United States National Film Registry for its cultural and historical significance. The story of the film tells of a town marshal that was forced to face a gang of killers by himself. It won four Academy Awards and four Golden Globes, one of which was awarded to Jurado for her performance. Jurado specifically learned to speak English for her role and played the saloon owner, Helen Ramirez, a former lover of Gary Cooper’s character, Will Kane. She was awarded the title, Best Supporting Actress, and gained notice of the American film industry.
2 Broken Lance
A 1954 Western film made in technicolor by Twentieth Century Fox, features Katy Jurado as Senora (a Native American), the wife of Matt Devereaux (played by Spencer Tracy), a ranch owner who has a mining empire and three sons. The movie is about the family struggle between the three sons and the father and includes a Native American blood feud. It brought in $3.8 million at the box office and ran for 96-minutes. Jurado won Best Supporting Actress for her role in Broken Lance.
A 1961 religious film starring Anthony Quinn (Barabbas), Silvana Mangano, Arthur Kennedy, Ernest Borgnine, Jack Palance, Katy Jurado, Harry Andrews, and Vittorio Gassman. The film was distributed by Columbia Pictures and was based on Par Lagerkvist’s 1950 novel, Barabbas. It is a Christian Passion narrative found in the Gospel of Mark and is considered a Roman Epic.
4 One-Eyed Jacks
Is a 1961 Western film directed by Marlon Brando, where Katy Jurado plays a supporting role as Maria Longworth. The plot involves a bank robbery in Sonora Mexico, a mounted police chase, and a classic western escape that involves romance, heists, and smuggling. It brought in $4.3 million at the US/Canadian box office. It was selected for preservation by the United States National Film Registry.
5 Pat Garrett & The Billy Kid
This 1973 American Western was nominated for two BAFTA Awards for Film Music and Most Promising Newcomer and one Grammy Award for Best Original Score. Katy Jurado played Mrs. Baker, who comforts a dying lawman after one of the film’s coveted gunfight scenes. The film’s plot is about a hired lawman who is hired by a group of wealthy cattle barons, to take down Billy the Kid an old friend. The film was known for being re-edited and truncated by the director, Sam Peckinpah, to which many of the cast disowned. Sam Peckinpah’s released preview version was hailed as a mistreated classic which lead it to being re-evaluated.
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