in 1905, Dolores Martínez Asúnsolo y López Negrete was born to an aristocratic family in Durango, Mexico. the family lost everything they had in the Mexican revolution of 1916 and emigrated to Mexico City, where Dolores became a socialite. in 1921 she married Jaime del Río, and the two moved to Hollywood to launch careers in the movie business (she as an actress, he as a screenwriter). Dolores made her first film, Joanna, in 1925, and the couple divorced shortly after.
during the silent era, Dolores' career soared. she became the first Mexican movie star with international appeal and was often hailed as 'the female Valentino'. Orson Welles, with whom Dolores had an affair that would end her second of three marriages, referred to her as "the most exciting woman i've ever met".
with the advent of sound, however, came many forgettable roles for del Río, who eventually left Hollywood for Mexico in 1942. at the age of 37, filming in Spanish for the first time, del Río was partly responsible for creating what is referred to as the Golden Era of Mexican Cinema. with films such as María Candelaria (Xochimilco) (1944), Las abandonadas (1945) and Bugambilia (1945), she became the prototypical Mexican beauty in foreign countries.
in 1954, she was set to appear in the 20th Century Fox film Broken Lance, but was denied permission to work in the USA, accused of being a communist sympathizer by the U.S. government. it wasn't until 1960 that Dolores finally returned to Hollywood, playing the part of Elvis' native american mother in Flaming Star, Elvis' sixth film, costarring Barbara Eden.