Dolores del Río (Spanish pronunciation: [doˈloɾez ðel ˈrio]; born María de los Dolores Asúnsolo López-Negrete; August 3, 1904 – April 11, 1983) was a Mexican actress who was the first major female Latin American crossover star in Hollywood, with a career in American films in the 1920s and 1930s. She was also considered one of the more important female figures of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema in the 1940s and 1950s. Del Río is remembered as one of the most beautiful faces of the cinema in her time. Her long and varied career spanned silent film, sound film, television, stage and radio.
After being discovered in Mexico by the filmmaker Edwin Carewe, she began her film career in 1925. She had roles in a series of successful silent films like What Price Glory? (1926), Resurrection (1927) and Ramona (1928). During this period she came to be considered a sort of feminine version of Rudolph Valentino, a "female Latin Lover". With the advent of sound, she acted in films that included Bird of Paradise (1932), Flying Down to Rio (1933), Madame Du Barry (1934) and Journey into Fear (1943). In the early 1940s, when her Hollywood career began to decline, del Río returned to Mexico and joined the Mexican film industry, which at that time was at its peak.
When del Río returned to her native country, she became one of the more important promoters and stars of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema. A series of films, including Wild Flower (1943), María Candelaria (1943), Las Abandonadas (1944), Bugambilia (1944) and The Unloved Woman (1949), are considered classic masterpieces and helped boost Mexican cinema worldwide. Del Río remained active in Mexican films throughout the 1950s. She also worked in Argentina and Spain.
In 1960 she returned to Hollywood. During the next years she appeared in Mexican and American films. From the late 1950s until the early 1970s she also successfully ventured into theater in Mexico and appeared in some American television series. Del Río performed her final screen appearance in 1978. After a period of inactivity and ill health, del Río died in 1983 at the age of 78.
Dolores del Río is a mythical figure in Latin America and is considered representative, par excellence, of the feminine face of Mexico in the whole world.
In 1978, she was diagnosed with osteomyelitis, and in 1981 she was diagnosed with Hepatitis B following a contaminated injection of vitamins. In 1982, del Río was admitted to Scripps Hospital, La Jolla, California, where hepatitis led to cirrhosis.
On April 11, 1983, Dolores del Río died from liver disease, aged 78, in Newport Beach, California. She was cremated and her ashes were interred in the Dolores Cemetery in Mexico City, Mexico. That same day she had been invited to appear at the next Academy Awards telecast.