01 August 2013


Marisol (1948) was a Spanish child star of the 1960s. When she became an adult she stayed a popular actress and singer under her real name, Pepa Flores.

Dutch postcard.

Spanish postcard by Ediciones TarjeFher, no. 112, 1964. Photo: Juan Gyenes / Manuel J. Goyanes.

Spanish postcard by Ediciones TarjeFher / Ediciones Mandolina, no. 126, 1964. Photo: Manuel J. Goyanes.

Maria Josefa Flores González was born in Málaga, Spain in 1948. She has an older sister, Victoria, and a younger brother, Enrique. From early on, she demonstrated a great love for singing and traditional flamenco dance. She was discovered by her future producer Manuel J. Goyanes on Spanish Television in the show Coros y Danzas de Málaga/Songs and Dances of Malaga in 1959. Her cinema debut as Marisol was in the musical Un rayo de luz/A Ray of Light (Luis Lucia, 1960). She became an international sensation, from Spain to Japan. She won the Best Child Actress award at the Venice Film Festival in 1960. In the following decade she starred in a dozen musical comedy-dramas. She also made records, did concerts and TV shows. The title song of her third film, Tómbola/Lottery (Luis Lucia, 1962), became a Spanish classic. Other of her film vehicles were Marisol rumbo a Río/Marisol Is Bound For Rio (Fernando Palacios, 1963), a Spanish variation on The Parent Trap with Marisol playing both the poor teenager from Madrid as well as her estranged sister in Rio De Janeiro, and La nueva Cenicienta/The New Cinderella (George Sherman, 1964) with Robert Conrad and Fernando Rey. Mel Ferrer directed her in Cabriola/Everyday Is A Holiday (1965) where she sang one of her most beautiful songs: Cabriola. The child star became a stunning beauty and in 1967 she starred as a grown-up opposite Jean-Claude Pascal in Las 4 bodas de Marisol/The Four Weddings of Marisol (Luis Lucia, 1967) as a film star with man trouble. She continued to make popular films, including Carola de día, Carola de noche/Carola during day and night (Jaime de Armiñán, 1969), a Spanish variation on Roman Holiday about a princess, who secretly goes out by night to find out how Spaniards live. That year she married with Carlos Goyanes, the son of her discoverer.

Dutch postcard by Takken, Utrecht, no. 5060. Photo: Hafbo. Publicity still for Ha llegado un angel/An Angel Has Appeared (Luis Lucia, 1961).

Dutch postcard by Takken, Utrecht, no. 5220. Photo: Hafbo.

Marisol, Jean Claude Pascal
Marisol and Jean-Claude Pascal. Spanish postcard by Postal OscarColor, S.A., Hospitalet (Barcelona), no. 702.

A Living Myth
Marisol started to appear in more serious films. She played the titel character in the thriller La corrupción de Chris Miller/The Corruption of Chris Miller (Juan Antonio Bardem, 1973) opposite Jean Seberg. She also appeared in Bardem's (the uncle of awarded Spanish actor Javier Bardem) El poder del deseo/The Power of Desire (Juan Antonio Bardem, 1975) opposite British actor Murray Head and in Los días del pasado/The Days of the Past (Mario Camus, 1978) with flamenco dancer and choreographer Antonio Gades. She was awarded the Best Actress prize at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival for her role in the latter film. In 1982 she married Antonio Gades in Cuba. The best man to their wedding was Fidel Castro. She acted with Gades in Bodas de sangre/Blood Wedding (Carlos Saura, 1981) based on Federico García Lorca's revenge play, and Carmen (Carlos Saura, 1983). She worked then under the name Pepa Flores. She appeared in the title role of the Spanish national television series Mariana Pineda in 1984, in which she played a Liberal Party's hero. In 1985, when she was still at the height of her career, she left show business. Her last film was the political film Caso cerrado/Case Closed (Juan Caño Arecha, 1985) with in a small role the young Antonio Banderas. She returned to her homeland, Malaga. She received many invitations to return and requests for TV interviews, but she declined all of them. In 1986 she and Gades divorced. They have three daughters: Maria, Tamara, and Celia. Her daughter Maria Esteve is now a well known actress in Spain, and her youngest daughter, Celia, is a pop flamenco singer. Pepa Flores still lives in Málaga with her partner Máximo Stecchiny and works as a humanitarian activist. Twentyfive years after her retirement, she is 'un mito', a living myth in Spain. Last year she was the subject of a TV miniseries, Marisol (Manuel Palacios, 2009).

Marisol sings Tengo el corazon contento in a 1968 TV show. Source: seductor25 (YouTube).

Tribute to Marisol with Tómbola a.o. Source: producionesgallago (YouTube).

Sources: Miguel A. Andrade (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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