The First Puer­to Rican Who Appeared in a Hol­ly­wood Film

Born on May 18, 1922 in the city of Fajar­do, Puer­to Rico, Mar­qui­ta Rivera was a famous actress, dancer, and singer and the first ever Puer­to Rican who appeared in a major Hol­ly­wood film “Road to Rio.”

Born as Maria Hero­ina Rivera de San­ti­a­go, Rivera was the youngest child among the brood of 12. At the age of three months, her fam­i­ly migrat­ed to New York City in the Unit­ed States where her musi­cal career start­ed. At a very young age of six, Rivera stud­ied fla­men­co and dance under the famous dance teacher and mas­ter Eduar­do Cansino.

River­a’s tal­ent in music was noticed dur­ing her teenage years. Her first fea­tured role was through the movie “George White’s Scan­dals of 1936” where she played the role of a dancer. For Rivera, she believed that the high­light of her career was when she per­formed before King George VI and his daugh­ter Queen Eliz­a­beth II dur­ing the New York World’s Fair in 1939. In addi­tion, Rivera also toured dif­fer­ent cities around the Unit­ed States such as Philadel­phia, Boston, and Chica­go with the band led by Noro Morales and Paul Whiteman.

Rivera estab­lished her name on the club cir­cuit when she start­ed putting her own show at Havana-Madrid and Latin Quar­ter in the state of New York. In Puer­to Rico, Rivera also gained pop­u­lar­i­ty per­form­ing in El San Juan The­atre and Zero’s Night­club. She also land­ed an act­ing con­tract in Mex­i­co with Azteca Stu­dios where she act­ed in var­i­ous films such as “El Con­quis­ta­dor” and “Me perigue una mujer.”

After her con­tract with Azteca Stu­dios, Rivera land­ed a Hol­ly­wood con­tract mak­ing her the first Puer­to Rican actress and dancer to do so. In 1947, she starred in the film “The Road to Rio” togeth­er with Hol­ly­wood actors Bing Cros­by, Dorothy Lam­our, and Bob Hope.

Source by Pol­lux Parker