Heroes of Cult

Heroes of Cult: Soledad Miranda

Soledad Miranda was born Soledad Rendón Bueno on 9th July 1943 in Seville, Spain. Soledad was the niece of the famous Spanish singer-actress-flamenco dancer Paquita Rico. Soledad was the first child of parents who had little money and, eventually, six children. It was necessary to contribute to the family income. At eight years old, Soledad made her professional debut when she was hired as a flamenco dancer and singer, first in the “Youth Galas” at the Seville Fair and San Fernando theatre, and then on a tour throughout southern Spain.

Soledad’s dream was to become an actress, so at age sixteen, she moved to Madrid and drew an artistic stage name out of a hat. After a difficult start, she made her film debut in 1960 as a dancer in a musical called La bella Mimí. She struggled for a few years, but eventually found regular work and was able to send money back home. She was often in the tabloids as the rumored girlfriend of the most famous bullfighter of the time, Manuel Benítez aka El Cordobés.

Soledad was well received in Spanish cinema as well as international co-productions, appearing in over thirty movies between 1960 and 1970. Her hits included Ursus, Cervantes, Sound of Horror, Pyro, The Castilian, Eva 63 and Sugar Colt.

In 1964, Soledad had made a trio of films in Portugal. José Manuel da Conceiçao Simões, a Portuguese racecar driver, was a producer and also acted in them. In one of the films, Un día en Lisboa aka A Day in Lisbon), they played a couple traveling between Estoril and Lisbon. After a secret courtship, the pair married in 1966. In April 1967, Soledad gave birth to a boy whom she named Antonio. Her husband retired from racing and took a job in the auto industry. Both parents liked cars, and hoped little Tony would follow his father’s footsteps. At that point, Soledad retired from performing in order to raise her son.

After two years in retirement Soledad was offered a role in the western 100 Rifles. She decided to return with the aim of becoming an international star stating that if she did not succeed within a couple of years, she would retire forever.

In 1969, legendary cult director Jess Franco was casting in Spain for his film Count Dracula. Remembering a girl who’d had a tiny cameo in his musical La reina del Tabarín nearly a decade before, Franco hired Soledad and she became his leading star. In the brief period between late 1969 and the summer of 1970, she made seven films with Jess Franco altogether, including Eugénie de Sade, Vampyros Lesbos, She Killed in Ecstasy, and The Devil Came From Akasava. Due to the erotic nature of these films, Soledad took the stage name Susann Korda (also spelt Susan Korday). According to Franco, she greatly enjoyed working with him and was transformed. Once a young, dimpled, bubbly starlet, she became the pale, haunted, mysterious black-eyed icon of Jess Franco’s movies.

On 18th August 1970 – near the end of filming The Devil Came From Akasava – Soledad and her husband were on holiday in Portugal celebrating the news that Jess Franco’s producer wanted to offer her a multi-year film contract that would make her a star. Sadly, on the way to Franco’s hotel to sign the contract, Soledad and her husband were involved in a collision with a small truck that completely crushed their car. Though her husband, who was driving, only had minor injuries, Soledad received serious fractures to her skull and spine, placing her in a deep coma. She died several hours after the accident at the Hospital of São José in Lisbon, never having come out of her coma. The doctors had little hope since her head was smashed almost completely flat from the impact, according to Jesus Franco. He later said it was one of the worst days of his life when he heard on the phone that she had been killed.

Soledad was a well-rounded performer who as well as acting enjoyed a music career, enjoyed writing poetry, painting, and reading books.

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