Cuban Theater Digital Archive

Velia Martínez


Velia Martínez was a well known actress, singer and former nightclub dancer.

Martínez was born in Tampa to Spanish parents. In 1941, she settled in Havana, where she became a well-known show business personality. In 1945, while in Mexico, she married the Cuban actor, producer and writer, Ramiro Gómez Kemp (1914-1981). They had two daughters Georgina and Mayra Gómez Kemp.

She was an accomplished dancer and cabaret star, she performed in Cuba's most prestigious theaters including the Montemarte. In 1945, she played the title role in the play Filomena Marturano in Havana's Thalia Theater, which is considered her pivotal role in her career. In 1958 she acted opposite Errol Flynn in the movie The Big Boodle. She left Cuba in 1960 with her family and lived two years in Puerto Rico where she appeared in a TV soap opera Yo Compro Esa Mujer (I'll Buy That Woman). In 1962, she came to Miami and continued performing on stage. In 1965 she appeared in My Son Is Not What He Seams, at the Marti Theater. In 1966, she appeared in the movie, The Devil's Sister as Carmen Alvarado.

In 1977, she reached the pinnacle of popularity as the grandmother Adela in the PBS series ¿Qué Pasa, USA?. Her last great performance on stage was in 1989 in Luis Santiero's play, Mixed Blessings at the Coconut Grove Playhouse and her last television role was of Elena, a hair salon owner in the Univision series Corte Tropical in 1992.



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