Thursday, April 26, 2012
Her name may ring only the faintest of bells today, but 86 years ago today, the tempestuous Spanish star Raquel Meller rated the cover of Time.
She was, in her day, an international sensation, and while her vogue was fairly short (little better than a dozen years or so), she covered a lot of ground, both professionally (she sang, danced the tango, and made a string of well-received European silents) and geographically (performing everywhere from Paris to Uruguay, with a starry U.S. tour right around the time of this cover).
The coming of sound shouldn't have fazed a polymath like her, but she never clicked in sound pictures (which if nothing else made it significantly harder to sustain a multi-lingual career), and she seems to have married well and more or less left the limelight by the mid-30s. She did have one great lost opportunity - Chaplin wanted her for City Lights; she would have deprived Virginia Cherrill of her little moment of immortality, so perhaps it's all for the best.
And how can you not admire a lady who can with such aplomb carry off a mantilla larger than her head?