Maria Montez was born Maria África Gracia Vidal in Barahona, Dominican Republic on June 6, 1912. She moved to New York in 1939 and with her beautiful exotic looks and accent she had success in a short lived modeling career before making an appearance in her first movie Lucky Devils in 1940 and then in the movie Boss of Bullion with Johnny Mack Brown, a ‘B’ production western also in 1940. By the intelligent and creative ways that she promoted herself, she was soon gaining lots of attention in and around Hollywood. Her soft exotic look allowed her to play the roles of many different racial characters and was soon starring in many Technicolor movies such as Arabian Nights 1942, White Savage 1943, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves 1944, Cobra Woman 1944, Sudan in 1945 and she also appeared in the Technicolor western, Pirates of Monterey in 1947, just to name a few. Many of her movies were an escape from reality type, were she often played the jeweled up, sexy dressed beauty in danger from all sort of villains. In all, Montez appeared in twenty-six films. Maria found the love of her life when she met French actor Jean-Pierre Aumont and they were married on July 13, 1943. When her husband returned from World War II they moved to Paris, France where she would eventually die on this day September 7, 1951.
Technicolor is a trademark of a color film process, which was the second color film process after Kinemacolor. It was the most used process in Hollywood from 1922-1952. It was a hyper-realistic use of color used in such films as The Wizard of Oz, The Adventures of Robin Hood and animated films such as Fantasia. The movie Arabian Nights that Montez starred in was the first time that Universal Studios used the process of Technicolor, and Maria’s next film White Savage was the movie that gave her the name “The Queen of Technicolor.”