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Estelita Rodriguez Profile

Estelita Rodriguez
Estelita Rodriguez
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(Estelita M. Rodriguez)
2 July 28 is born in Cuba. Her mother’s maiden name is Santurio.
c. 37 starts to perform at age 9
c. 41 starts at the Copacabana in New York at age 14
c. 42 arrives in Hollywood at age 15 with an MGM contract
? attends school at MGM
? doesn't make a movie at MGM and returns to New York
? marries Chu-Chu Martinez, Mexican singer
c. 46 her daughter, Estelita / Nina, is born
? divorces Martinez in Mexico. Martinez is granted custody of their daughter. She doesn't care about Latin lovers anymore. "They tell you to stay home and then they go out," she says.
? becomes a favorite of producer Herbert J. Yates
January 49 shows her 2 1/2-year-old daughter to the press in New York and claims she took her from her husband in Mexico City because "the lawyers couldn't help me."
March 49 performs at the Havana-Madrid in New York
June 49 is seen at Charley Foy’s with actor John Payne
September 49 signs a 5-picture-a-year deal with Republic
has her first starring role in Belle of Old Mexico. She is 22 but wishes she were 26. "Everyones," she says, "treat me me like a kid. I am a mother."
rushes back to actor Lew Ayres. He's about 18 years her senior.
September 50 will get the Lupe Velez treatment at Republic. Screenwriter Charles Roberts, who ground out Lupe’s films at RKO for 15 years, is scripting Cuban Fireball for her.
April 51 bit player Roy Brent falls for her during the filming of Havana Rose
May 51 is seen at the Mocambo with actor Grant Withers
October 51 her marriage to Grant Withers can’t take place until December 1952. That’s when Grant has been promised his legal freedom.
November 51 she and Grant Withers guest at the SAC celebrations in Omaha. Phil Silvers and his wife, Alice Faye, attend too.
January 52 the studio drops the Rodriguez from her name, so she will just go by Estelita
? concludes her contract with Republic to go free-lancing
January 53 marries actor Grant Withers, the ex of actress Loretta Young, in Reno, Nevada. Former newspaperman Withers was previously married four times. He's 49; she's 24. John Wayne serves as best man.
August 53 their house in the Valley is hit by a supersonic shock wave from a jet plane, breaking a priceless antique chandelier. It can't be replaced, but it was insured. She and Withers live on Woodcliff Avenue in Sherman Oaks.
Mid-September 53 sings at the Woolhurst Country Club in Denver, Colorado. Her husband flies in to be with her. During a pleasure drive, Withers suddenly is stricken with severe pains in the chest and body. She stops the car and summons an ambulance. Halfway to Denver, the ambulance runs out of gas. Luckily for Withers, the seizure isn't a heart attack.
29 September 53 opens at the Coconut Grove. It becomes a smash hit engagement.
October 53 her husband is afraid to call a doctor about a needed back operation for fear he will be refused permission to attend her New York opening at the Waldorf
December 53 performs in the Waldorf's Empire Room with her cargo of Spanish and American songs. She is supported by brilliant young harpist Robert Maxwell.
January 54 an anonymous letter sent to her and Withers in New York demands $2,000. The police locate the sender in an East Side paint shop, and put the crank under close surveillance while she sings at the Waldorf.
22 September 54 finds her husband unconscious in his bedroom, the door locked. She has to break a pane of glass to get in from a patio. He's taken to a sanitarium.
September 54 she and Withers start a trial separation. Withers recuperates from an overdose of ulcer medicine at the local sanitarium. His doctor says Withers accidentally took an overdose that produced an adverse reaction. He's 51; she's 25.
December 54 sues Withers for divorce. He’s 51; she’s 26. Withers will commit suicide in 1959 with sleeping pills.
February 55 it looks like reconciliation between her and Withers, but it's positively not. She wants everything to be sweetness and light, but she's going ahead with the divorce.
July 55 is seen at a Hollywood nightspot with Withers
9 November 55 divorces Withers in Los Angeles Superior Court. She testifies that she is good enough to get top billing in films but got nothing but criticism from her husband. Withers will take his life in 1959 by an overdose of sleeping pills leaving a note saying, "Please forgive me, my family. I was so unhappy. It's better this way."
November 56 can't wait for her divorce from Withers to become final so that she can wed Ismael Alfonso Halfss, a.k.a. Henry Half, also a nightclub entertainer. He's a juggler.
26 December 56 marries Halfss in New York. He’s 25; she’s 28.
January 59 she and Halfss appear on a nightclub bill together for the first time at Bimbo's in San Francisco. Immediately after the engagement, she plans to fly to Cuba to visit her father.
16 November 59 her husband files for divorce. As of April 1960, no hearing date has been set.
November 59 she and Halfss reconcile. She says: "I don't know if it will work, but we are trying."
May 60 wins a divorce from Halfss in Los Angeles. She testifies he was so stingy that he wanted her to use olive oil on her face instead of cold cream. She says: "I told him I was no salad." Halfss will die at age 60 in 1992 in Los Angeles.
28 December 61 marries Dr. Ricardo A. Pego in Los Angeles. He's 42; she's 33.
August 64 her pretty daughter, Nina, works as a hostess-waitress at the Pancho Villa Inn in Tarzana, the Valley's newest Mexican restaurant
March 66 is enthusiastic about starring in Lupe Velez's life story
12 March 66 as Estelita M. Pego, she is found dead on the kitchen floor of her North Hollywood / Van Nuys, California, home, at age 37. The cause of death isn't made public. Some sources give influenza. Her mentor, Yates, died a month earlier. Her husband Pego survives.
is interred at San Fernando Mission Cemetery, Mission Hills, California
10 September 67 Pego dies at age 47 in Los Angeles
Sources:
Chronicle-Telegram, The Monessen Daily Independent, Gazette and Bulletin, The Post-Standard, Van Nuys News, Nevada State Journal, The Times Recorder, Syracuse Herald-Journal, Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, Council Bluffs Iowa Nonpareil, Humboldt Standard, The News, The Odessa American, The Lethbridge Herald, Atchinson Daily Globe, Ironwood Daily Globe, The Odessa American, Burlington Daily Times-News, The Daily Gleaner, The Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, The Era, The Independent Record, Waukesha Daily Freeman, The Sheboygan Press, Fallen Angels by Kirk Crivello, Hollywood Babylon II by Kenneth Anger, www.Findagrave.com, www.Ancestry.com
Recommended Books:
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Filmography
Find A Grave: Estelita Rodriguez