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Lupe Velez: The Life and Career of Hollywood's Mexican Spitfire Paperback – 30 Jun 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland (30 Jun. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078646139X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786461394
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 17.1 x 26 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,273,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John on 7 Sept. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At last, a detailed, well researched biography of one of the most underrated and misrepresented Hollywood actresses of the 1930s and 40s.
Michelle Vogel draws on a wide variety of sources, including contemporary newspaper and magazine articles, and interviews with Lupe Velez, as well as reminiscences from many of the people she worked with, to provide a very comprehensive and unsensationalist account of Lupe's fascinatingly complicated life.
The book also, through a properly investigated chapter on Lupe's final, fateful evening, finally dispels the ridiculous, decades-old rumour, that Lupe died with her head down the toilet. In fact, the author thankfully restores to Lupe, a great deal of the dignity which previously many lazy writers and gossip mongers have sought to destroy.
There are dozens of photographs illustrating the biography; a lot of them candid shots of Lupe with various lovers and co stars, as well as pictures of Lupe's family, many of which I've never seen before.
At the end of the biography, there is a 50 page guide to Lupe's film, radio and stage career; easily by far the most detailed guide to her professional appearances ever compiled.
I found this a thoroughly entertaining and informative read, and I can readily recommend it both to Lupe's fans, and general film buffs alike........ and perhaps Kenneth Anger should give it a read as well.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 11 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
MUST HAVE book on Lupe Velez, Mexican-born Screen Legend 26 Nov. 2012
By H. M. Neely - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is THE book on Lupe. And quite likely, it will remain THE book for a very, very long time. Michelle Vogel has done an incredible and profoundly impressive job of research, uncovering a great deal of new and indispensable information on this fascinating, talented and beautiful performer and movie star.

Full disclosure here: I am a documentary filmmaker who has previously done some research on Lupe Velez for a planned film. I know Ms. Vogel and offered her my own research and opinions, and I am acknowledged and quoted in the book. That said, I am not an uncritical reviewer. The fact is, despite or perhaps because of the complete coverage of BOTH the woman and the legend, it is essential that purchasers approach this book as active readers, who judge the information presented, in part, by its sources (which are always carefully documented by Vogel). A previous reviewer calls Lupe, "on the surface," an obscure B-movie actress, and notes that Vogel includes various questionable reports without passing judgement on their veracity. First, Lupe was an A-movie actress with an international career. She appeared in films made in the US, Mexico, and the UK. She was a stage performer, appearing on Broadway. Only later in the 40s did her film appearances switch to some very popular B-movies. Summing her up as an obscure B-movie actress is wrong. As Vogel notes in her Preface, a researcher/writer faces a daunting task to separate myth from fact after some seven decades, when virtually no previous serious research exists (in English or Spanish). The myths have become so intertwined with the facts that some defy absolute determination. Vogel has included everything, and offered analysis of the evidence where possible. When no other proof is offered beyond the citation of a questionable source, such as an unsigned newspaper clipping that reads like a studio press release, or an unsupported allegation from Charles Higham or Floyd Conner, the reader can (and should) judge for himself. That's fair.

As has been noted in other reviews, Vogel does yeoman's work in thoroughly and accurately trouncing Kenneth Anger's crude lie about the circumstances of Lupe's death. That spawn of Anger's "mental telepathy" can now be permanently buried. But what few have noted is the feast of information Vogel offers not only on Lupe, but on her film and stage work. There are dozens of photographs, some very rare, spread throughout the text, and the quality of the reproduction is good. There is a 37-page detailed filmography, which includes information on surviving films and their availability, as well as valuable appendices on lost productions, film appearances in newsreels and non-fiction films, and her important stage work. Chapter notes, bibliography and index are all present and valuable.

Having spent some time researching Lupe myself, I understand how difficult Vogel's task was, and as I read her book I was repeatedly blown away by the amount, depth and detail of information that she reveals. There is so much that is new, and fascinating, and most important: revealing of Lupe's complexity, humanity, and real talent. This is the story of a strong, passionate woman, who achieved significant success. The real Lupe Velez is here, waiting to be discovered anew. That is Vogel's achievement, and it is an important one. Long live Lupe!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Finally! 20 Aug. 2012
By Michael G. Ankerich - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Finally, someone sets the record straight about Lupe Velez's life and sad death. Michelle Vogel, after three years of extensive research, provides the truth. For me, one of the most fascinating parts of the book is the chapter that deals with Velez's final days and the anxiety she was under as a mother to be. I don't believe the story has been told in this depth. It was time to clear up the nasty rumors, and Vogel does it!

The photos Vogel chose for the book are astonishing. Most of them I had never seen before, probably because they came from Velez's own family. She even had copies of her suicide notes, which I had ever seen.

Vogel puts the Mexican Spitfire's often misunderstood life into perspective. She was not the loose woman that people have written about over the years. As Vogel told me in an interview for my blog, Close-ups and Long Shots [...], "Sure, she loved to party and have a good time, but she was fiercely loyal to her men. Between her long-term relationship with Gary Cooper and her marriage to Johnny Weissmuller, she was committed to both of these men for almost ten years of her life. She may have been many things, but she was certainly devoted - to her men, her family, her friends, even strangers who asked her for a helping hand. She helped everyone and she supported her extended family in Mexico for much of her life."

Finally, I was impressed by the detail Vogel put into Velez's filmography. She has collected details about her films that the reader will never in one place. What is particularly helpful is information about which films are readily available for viewing.

If you're even remotely interested in old Hollywood, add this book to your shelf.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
An excellent biography of a screen legend 7 Sept. 2012
By John - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
At last, a detailed, well researched biography of one of the most underrated and misrepresented Hollywood actresses of the 1930s and 40s.
Michelle Vogel draws on a wide variety of sources, including contemporary newspaper and magazine articles, and interviews with Lupe Velez, as well as reminiscences from many of the people she worked with, to provide a very comprehensive and unsensationalist account of Lupe's fascinatingly complicated life.
The book also, through a properly investigated chapter on Lupe's final, fateful evening, finally dispels the ridiculous, decades-old rumour, that Lupe died with her head down the toilet. In fact, the author thankfully restores to Lupe, a great deal of the dignity which previously many lazy writers and gossip mongers have sought to destroy.
There are dozens of photographs illustrating the biography; a lot of them candid shots of Lupe with various lovers and co stars, as well as pictures of Lupe's family, many of which I've never seen before.
At the end of the biography, there is a 50 page guide to Lupe's film, radio and stage career; easily by far the most detailed guide to her professional appearances ever compiled.
I found this a thoroughly entertaining and informative read, and I can readily recommend it both to Lupe's fans, and general film buffs alike........ and perhaps Kenneth Anger should give it a read as well.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The first acurate & well-balanced biography of Lupe Vélez 20 Aug. 2012
By Pedro J. Quintanilla - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I am related to Lupe Vélez and, for that reason, I was happy to share with author Michelle Vogel some anecdotes from Lupe's family, especially as relate to her father Jacobo Villalobos but others as well. I am very happy with the end result, and so is my family. Michelle has set the record straight and has dispelled that awful lie about Lupe dying with her head in the toilet. NOTHING is further from the truth. Why? Two things at least. One, the person who first found her dead, found her lying on her bed as she intended to be found. Hence, at least one witness. Second, having taken 80 Nembutal plus alcohol, it would have been medically impossible for her to get up from her bed while she was dying. So much for Kenneth Anger's sensationalist lies, which were concocted only to sell more of his trashy books. Michelle's' book is extremely well researched and this is the very first biography (in English AND in Spanish) that truly tells Lupe's story exactly as it was, no embellishments but also no sensationalist lies. As for the possibility of Lupe having suffered from bipolar, I agree with Michelle. At that time, such diseases were not commonly recognized; much less did they even have a name. And it is absolutely NO embarrassment to suffer from that disease or any other mental disorder, however slight it might have been as I believe was Lupe's case. In fact, many great persons throughout history suffered from such disorders, which in fact is in part what allowed them to become great and in many cases even change the world for the better or make it at least more fun, as Lupe did. In short, Michele's book is very accurate, balanced and extremely well written, and I strongly recommend it if you are a fan and want an accurate description and analysis of her life.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A worthy study of a complicated woman 14 July 2012
By Hagar the Horrible - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Author Michelle Vogel has woven the many aspects of the spitfire personality of Lupe Velez into a cohesive whole that makes for a fascinating read. After reading about Velez I'm not sure if I like her as a person. She could be cruel, petty, vindictive and just plain tiresome to be around. Her film career was uneven with many throwaway films in among the good.

The most interesting aspect of Vogel's book is Velez's personal life and intimate relationship with Gary Cooper and marriage to Johnny Weismuller. Tempestuous is a word that fits Velez like a glove. Nothing was quiet for very long in her life. She was tossed around like a swimmer fighting against the waves of a storm. And sadly the waves eventually overcame her fragile temperament. Her suicide was a tragic end to a life but somehow inevitable. Vogel covers her suicide in depth. The well known head in the toilet scenario is shown to be salacious fiction posing as fact and the despair of her death is highlighted by the actual suicide note.

Vogel's book is packed with rare family photographs and an extensive appendix covering her entire career. A must read for all Velez fans and even if you're not a fan like me you'll still find her story of interest for the tale of a Mexican girl seeking fame in Hollywood but unable to find lasting personal happiness and contentment.
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