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Maria Africa Antonia Gracia Vidal de Santo Silas

Also Known As: "The Caribbean Cyclone", "Maria Montez", "Maria Africa Gracia Mc Feeters"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Barahona, Barahona, Dominican Republic
Death: September 07, 1951 (39)
Paris, Paris, Île-de-France, France (drowned in her bath, apparently after a heart attack)
Place of Burial: Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Ysidoro García; Isidoro Gracia y Garcia; Maria Teresa Vidal and Regla María Teresa Vidal y Recio
Wife of William Gourley Macfeeters and Jean-Pierre Aumont
Ex-wife of William G. McFeeters
Mother of Tina Aumont; Private and Maria Cristina (Tina) Aumont
Sister of Ada Teresa Gracia; Private; Jaime Enrique Gracia and Ada Teresa Gracía Vidal

Occupation: actress
Managed by: Erica Howton
Last Updated:

About Maria Montez

María Africa García Vidal de Santo Silas (6 June 1912 – 7 September 1951), best known as Maria Montez, was a Dominican motion picture actress who gained fame and popularity in the 1940s as an exotic beauty starring in a series of filmed-in-Technicolor costume adventure films. Her screen image was that of a hot-blooded Latin seductress, dressed in fanciful costumes and sparkling jewels. She became so identified with these adventure epics that she became known as "The Queen of Technicolor". Over her career, Montez appeared in 26 films, 21 of which were made in North America and five in Europe.

The 39-year-old Montez died in Suresnes, France on 7 September 1951 after apparently suffering a heart attack and drowning in her bath.[7][8] She was buried in the Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris where her tombstone gives her amended year of birth (1918), not the actual year of birth (1912).

family

She was one of ten children born to Ysidoro García, who worked as the Spanish consul in Dominican Republic, and his wife Teresa. Montez was educated at the Sacred Heart Convent in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. In the mid-1930s, her father was appointed to the Spanish consulship in Belfast, Northern Ireland where the family moved. It was there that Montez met her first husband, William G. McFeeters, whom she married at age 17.[1] In the book, "Maria Montez, Su Vida"[3] by Margarita Vicens de Morales, 2003 edition, on page 26, there is a copy of Maria Montez birth certificate proving that her original name was Maria Africa Gracia Vidal. Her father's name was Isidoro Gracia (not Garcia) and her mother's name was Teresa Vidal.

Montez was married twice. Her first marriage was to William G. McFeeters, a wealthy banker who served in the British army.[5] They married when Montez was 17 years old and later divorced.

While working in Hollywood, she met French actor Jean-Pierre Aumont. They married on 14 July 1943 at Montez's home in Beverly Hills.[6] Aumont had to leave a few days after their wedding to serve in the Free French Forces fighting against Nazi Germany in the European Theatre of World War II. At the end of World War II, the couple had a daughter, Maria Christina (also known as Tina Aumont), born in Hollywood on 14 February 1946.

Legacy

Shortly after her death, a street in the city of Barahona, Montez's birthplace, was named in her honor.

In 1976, Margarita Vicens de Morales publishes a series of articles in the Dominican newspaper Listín Diario, in its magazine called Suplemento, where she presented the results of the research she was carrying out in order to get to the real-life story of Montez. The research culminated in 1992 with the publication of the biography Maria Montez, Su Vida. After the first edition, a second edition was published in 1994 and a third in 2004.

In 1996, the city of Barahona opened the Aeropuerto Internacional María Montez (María Montez International Airport) in her honor.

The American underground filmmaker Jack Smith idolized Montez as an icon of camp style. He wrote an aesthetic manifesto titled "The Perfect Filmic Appositeness of Maria Montez", and made elaborate homages to her movies in his own films, including the notorious Flaming Creatures.

In Dominican Republic she received the decoration with the Order of Juan Pablo Duarte in the Grade of Officer and the Order of Trujillo in the same grade, which was given by the dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo in November, 1943.


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Maria Montez's Timeline

1912
June 12, 1912
Barahona, Barahona, Dominican Republic
1946
February 14, 1946
Los Angeles, California
February 14, 1946
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, United States
1951
September 7, 1951
Age 39
Paris, Paris, Île-de-France, France
????
Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France