Mona Maris
Mona Maris was an Argentine
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 film actress who was born in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...


Ancestry and education

Her given name was Mona Maria Emita Cap de Vielle. Her mother was a Spanish Basque
Basque people
The Basques as an ethnic group, primarily inhabit an area traditionally known as the Basque Country , a region that is located around the western end of the Pyrenees on the coast of the Bay of Biscay and straddles parts of north-central Spain and south-western France.The Basques are known in the...

 and her father a French Basque. Maris was educated in England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, and Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and by the age of nineteen she spoke four languages.

Motion Pictures

Maris' ambition to become an actress originated during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, when she was a pupil in Luders, France. Together with her classmates she wrote, directed, and presented short plays to entertain soldiers billeted near the school. After graduation Maris begged to go to England and her mother finally relented. In England she found a woman was given much more freedom than in either Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 or South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

. She traveled to England under the indirect chaperonage of an Argentine family.

Her stay was intended to last only six months, but was extended another two years. The Argentine ambassador in Berlin received a letter which led to Maris being introduced to the President of the United Film Association. Soon she journeyed to Germany, where she participated in Universum Film AG
Universum Film AG
Universum Film AG, better known as UFA or Ufa, is a film company that was the principal film studio in Germany, home of the German film industry during the Weimar Republic and through World War II, and a major force in world cinema from 1917 to 1945...

 productions. She was given a screen test during which the camera was not loaded with film. A prominent director noticed Maris and offered her a five-year contract. She counseled with her grandmother, who reluctantly allowed her to accept.

Joe Schenck
Joseph Schenck
Joseph Michael Schenck was a pioneer executive who played a key role in the development of the United States film industry.Born in Rybinsk, Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia to a Jewish household, he and his family-including younger brother Nicholas- emigrated to New York City in 1893, he and Nicholas...

, president of United Artists
United Artists
United Artists Corporation is an American film studio. The original studio of that name was founded in 1919 by D. W. Griffith, Charles Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks....

, granted her the prospect of a Hollywood career. At the time she had completed just four films in Germany. Her Hollywood film career began with the 1925 movie The Apache and continued until the 1980s when she appeared in Camila (1984).

It was her inability to speak fluent English which interrupted, and nearly ended Maris' film career. Spanish, French, and German came easily for her, but in the early years of talkies, her English was almost unintelligible. From 1931 until 1941 she starred in nineteen Spanish-language versions of successful American pictures, which were produced by the Fox Film Company. Maris also appeared in seven English dialogue motion pictures for three studios.

Personal life

She was married twice. Her first marriage took place while she was working in Europe and was terminated before she travelled to the United States, and her second marriage was to Clarence Brown
Clarence Brown
Clarence Brown was an American film director.-Early life:Born in Clinton, Massachusetts, to a cotton manufacturer, Brown moved to the South when he was 11. He attended Knoxville High School and the University of Tennessee, both in Knoxville, Tennessee, graduating from the university at the age of...


Mona Maris died of lung disease in Buenos Aires on March 23, 1991.

External links

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