Biography of Carmen Seville Spanish dancer, actress, singer, television presenter, wife, mother. Above all, it was the “Carmen of Spain“.
Childhood and family of actress Carmen Sevilla
She was born in Seville on October 16, 1930. In the baptismal font, she received the name of “María Sevilla del Carmen García Galisteo“.
Her father, Antonio García Padilla was the son of an Andalusian journalist and wrote lyrics for the songs in movies where Spanish actresses acted: Imperio Argentina, Concha Piquer or Estrellita Castro.
Her mother, Florentina Galisteo Ramírez, lived almost 100 years. Carmen was the eldest of two other brothers: Antonio and José.
From an early age, Carmen was familiar with the artistic world.
Once the Spanish civil war ended (1936 -1939), her family moved to Madrid. There she was able to attend singing and dancing classes at the Conservatory of Music.
Carmen Sevilla’s first steps as an actress
One day in 1942, the singer and actress Estrellita Castro noticed the beautiful and funny 12-year-old girl who had gone to the Calderón Theater to deliver some song lyrics.
Estrellita decided to be the artistic godmother of that charming young woman: Carmen.
This is how Carmen Sevilla began her career as a dancer in Estrellita Castro’s shows, which encouraged her more to sing than to dance.
Soon after, the also Sevillian Paquita Rico, joined the cast of artists, as a singer.
Due to these happy beginnings, even when in her professional life she was already focused as an actress and singer, Carmen always danced in all her movies and shows.
Much later, in 2005, when she was already seventy-five years old, Carmen Sevilla became part of the cast of famous contestants on the television program “Look who’s dancing!” Once again she could be seen dancing.
Carmen Sevilla’s first performance in cinema
Juan de Orduña was in 1947 one of the most prolific filmmakers of the moment and also one of the public’s favorites.
He had been Director of comedies very much to the taste of the time, such as “It was Adam’s fault” or “She, he and his millions“.
Juan de Orduña had seen Carmen Sevilla’s brief performance in a documentary from 1946.
He fell in love with her beautiful face and the sympathy that radiated from her whole being. He offered her a brief role in a feature film titled “Spanish Serenade“, in 1947.
Carmen’s name did not appear among the artist credits, but the public could see that a great star was out there.
Carmen Sevilla protagonist with Jorge Negrete
The following year, in 1948, she got her first leading role in “Jalisco sings in Seville“.
The film was a Spanish Mexican co-production, in which a Mexican charro (Jorge Negrete) arrived in Seville and, thanks to the help provided by Araceli (Carmen Sevilla), daughter of a retired bullfighter, managed to collect an inheritance.
After this movie, Carmen’s film career skyrocketed.
In the 1950s she did not stop appearing on screen. Her beautiful face was a true reflection of the enormous sympathy that radiated throughout her person.
In addition, she sang and danced wonderfully, with that Andalusian salt shaker that she always had.
Soon she began to establish herself as a singer, thanks to the songs she performed in her films.
The decade began with the film “Tales of the Alhambra“, followed by “Violets imperial” with the popular tenor Luis Mariano.
Seven other blockbuster movies followed incessantly, followed by the already popular Carmen Sevilla.
Carmen Sevilla in the cinema of the 1960s
In the 1960s, her great popularity allowed her to participate in American and European co-productions, starring in films with famous actors such as Charlton Heston and Paulette Goddard.
One of the most endearing films for lovers of Spanish cinema was “The balcony of the moon“.
It was released in 1962 and Carmen Sevilla, Lola Flores and Paquita Rico worked together. They were baptized with the nickname “The three Marías“.
Carmen Sevilla had all the cards in her hand to become a great Hollywood star.
She rejected a seven-year contract with a large Hollywood studio and preferred to focus her career on Spain.
She had her heart in Spain, a great country where she was always welcomed with appreciation and affection.
In the 1960s she worked on seven films. She made the leap to Anglo-Saxon cinema playing Mary Magdalene in Nicholas Ray’s “King of Kings” (1961), shot in Spain.
In those 1960s, Carmen Sevilla established herself in the world of song.
She released more than 15 albums, including coplas, boleros, tangos and chotis.
Augusto Algueró enters the life of Carmen Sevilla
Many of these songs had been composed by one of her admirers, the musician Augusto Algueró.
On February 23, 1961, in the Basilica of Our Lady of Pilar in Zaragoza, Carmen married Augusto Algueró Dasca.
On July 3, 1964, their only son, Augusto José Algueró García, was born.
At Christmas 1965, Carmen was invited to perform on the show “The Ed Sullivan Show“, as one of the celebrities who attended this program that had started in June 1948.
For the first time, Carmen appeared on American television.
The great actress Carmen Sevilla in the 1970s
In 1971 she participated in the film “The Glass Ceiling” (1971), by Eloy de la Iglesia, for which she won the Best Actress Award from the Film Writers Circle.
The following year, she starred opposite Charlton Heston in “Marco Antonio and Cleopatra“, based on the play by William Shakespeare.
In the 1970s, she worked in more dramatic roles, in films by Rafael Gil, José María Forqué, Pedro Olea, Gonzalo Suárez, Eloy de la Iglesia and Mariano Ozores.
Carmen Sevilla was contemporary with two other great actresses: the Swedish Liv Ullman and the Italian Sofía Loren.
Some of the musical shows in which she participated was with Lola Flores, along with her daughter Lolita Flores and her sister, Carmen Flores.
They carried the titles of “The Concert of Flowers“, “One more flower” and “The Flower Saga“.
Vicente Patuel, the great love of Carmen Sevilla
In 1974, Carmen Sevilla separated from Augusto Algueró and began a ten-year relationship with whom was the great love of her life: the film entrepreneur Vicente Patuel.
Finally she married him, in Arcos de la Frontera, in 1985.
Since Vicente Patuel wanted to live in the fields and take care of the cattle and everything he planted. Carmen Sevilla, for love of him, forgot about her popularity, her premieres, her parties and everything.
She adapted to the life of the country and, according to herself, laughing, “I dedicated myself to caress and count sheep“; in that Badajoz estate, in Herrera el Duque.
Carmen Sevilla triumphed on television
In 1991, Valerio Lazarov, Director of the recently created television network Telecinco, had the brilliant idea of convincing Carmen Sevilla to be the presenter of the daily “Telecupón” space.
The success of this program was so great that it remained on the air until 1997, when Lazarov left the Telecinco.
In this space, where the ONCE draw took place daily, Carmen conducted contests and gave way to musical performances, galas, shows and interviews with famous people.
Her spontaneity, friendliness and sense of humor kept viewers’ attention and preference day after day.
The program reached high levels of popularity in both the adult and younger audiences.
Carmen’s misdirections, spontaneous or simulated, became the subject of funny imitations by humorists. Among them, the great members of “Martes y Trece“.
During her time at Telecinco, practically all the celebrities went through the program: Lola Flores, Paquita Rico, Perlita de Huelva, Manolo Escobar, Agustín Bravo, Beatriz Rico, Ángela Molina, the bullfighter El Litri, Marifé de Triana, El Fary, Las Soles, Rocío Martín, José María Íñigo, Laura Valenzuela.
After her departure from Telecinco in 1997, the directors of Antena 3 put her in charge of a weekly variety program under the title “La noche de Carmen“.
Along with Bertín Osborne and Lolita Flores, Carmen Sevilla presented the great stars of the song, such as Rocío Jurado, Sara Montiel, Raphael, Alejandro Sanz.
Unfortunately, the great Spanish soprano, Montserrat Caballé, acted in another range. Otherwise, their presence would have been the perfect complement in the Spanish representation of the song.
The last years of her artistic life
Together with Bertín Osborne, she presented in Antena 3, the year-end chimes 1998-1999.
In the summer of 1999, she began her brief stint on Canal Sur TV, where she worked until January 2000, the date of the death of her dear husband Vicente Patuel, who died in Carmen’s arms due to a heart attack.
After a one-year break, Canal 9 TV offered her to present, together with Juan y Medio, the musical program “Our Songs”.
In late 2003, Televisión Española chose her to present the New Year’s Chimes with Ramón García on December 31, 2003.
In January 2004 Carmen Sevilla was chosen to replace José Manuel Parada in the Spanish cinema program, Cine de barrio, broadcast by TVE, the first Spanish television channel.
As in the previous cases, this choice was based on Carmen’s enormous popularity.
In May 2005, she presented a particularly emotional program on TVE, entitled “Querida Lola“. It was dedicated to commemorating the 10th anniversary of the death of her great friend Lola Flores.
On December 14, 2010, Carmen Sevilla recorded what was her last program as a television presenter. They were 7 years as a presenter on TVE.
To know much more about this great Spaniard, there is nothing better than reading her memoirs written in 2005, by journalist Carlos Herrera in the book entitled “Carmen Sevilla, memories“.
In recent years, that insidious disease called Alzheimer’s began to take its toll on Carmen’s brain.
At the most unexpected moment in the program, she forgot the text and spluttered the same adjectives as always, like “my dearest friends” and the like.
What in any other presenter would have been definitely catastrophic, Carmen Sevilla always imposed her sympathy and photogenicity. In such a way that the public welcomed these blunders in a good mood.
Those closest to her knew that her mother, Doña Florentina, had suffered from the same Alzheimer’s disease and that she was admitted to a residence until her death, in 2004, when she was missing “days” to turn 100. The father, Antonio García, had died in 1987.
Carmen Sevilla has been ill in recent years
In 2010, Carmen’s illness had already worsened considerably.
Her son Augusto José was forced to withdraw her from all public activities and went to live with her.
Finally, in 2015, the family considered that the most appropriate thing was to take her to a residence specialized in the care of Alzheimer’s patients.
May you live and be happy, Carmen from Spain!