The Mexican Film Star Who Conquered Hollywood — and Marlon Brando

Katy Jurado & Marlon Brando Relationship
December 16, 2020 - 21:52 / Lucas Anderson

One great legacy of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema is the talented stars who defined the classic movies. Some even managed to make it big in Hollywood — and Katy Jurado was one of the best known to breakthrough. This is her story of conquering the hearts of an entire industry and many of its leading men.

Katy Jurado (1924-2002) is one of the best-known stars of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema. But in addition to her Mexican films of the 1940s and '50s, she also made it big in Hollywood, starring in notable Westerns such as High Noon and One-Eyed Jacks. Jurado conquered the hearts of an entire industry, including one of Hollywood's all-time icons: the great Marlon Brando.

Katy Jurado: The Mexican movie star who conquered Hollywood

With a stern look and striking features, but, above all, immeasurable talent, Katy Jurado was a Mexican film star who made the move to Hollywood in the 1950s. Her personality and beauty quickly made her one of the best actresses of her day, eventually leading to work alongside legends including Gary Cooper, Anthony Quinn, and even Elvis Presley.

Katy Jurado, the Mexican movie star, in 1955.

But one of her most famous connections, Marlon Brando, noticed her in work in the 1952 western High Noon (probably her best-known film today). At the time, Brando was married to his second wife, Movita Castaneda, though he was also having an affair with Rita Moreno. Still, when Jurado received a call from the prestigious actor, she decided to meet with him. She was already aware of his relationships, but, she explained: "Hell, it was just a date. I didn't plan to marry him."

Katy Jurado & Marlon Brando's relationship

Although Brando and Jurado's relationship began without commitment, it would escalate and last for several years. The chemistry they had was so great that eventually it was impossible not to play it out on-screen. In 1961, the couple starred in the film One-Eyed Jacks, directed by Brando himself.

It's unknown when the relationship ended, but the pair maintained a great friendship over the years. Jurado is also associated with other personalities such as John Wayne and Tyrone Power. In turn, she was briefly married to the actor Ernest Borgnine. But in reality, the one she always considered her great love was Louis L'Amour, the noted Western genre novelist.

Katy Jurado and Marlon Brando in One-Eyed Jacks, 1961 movie.

However, Jurado's legacy is not her notable relationships with film icons or her famous beauty, but rather her great talent. Katy was the first Mexican to be nominated for an Oscar for her acting work in 1954 (for Broken Lance), and it would take 49 years before the Academy recognized the work of another Mexican actor. She died in 2002 at age 78.

For more, take a look back at Marlon Brando's amazing career here.