Born in the city of Puebla on December 17, 1939, Maria Elena Velasco Fragossi She became one of the most recognized actresses in Mexican cinema, especially thanks to her character in ‘The Indian Maria‘, although few remember that in the beginning she tried her luck as a star.
One of the films in which he can be seen in this facet is The Possessed of Ring, filmed in 1966 by director Alfredo B. Crevenna.
Maria Elena Velasco’s artistic career began in the 1960s, when she had to take charge of her family, after the illness and subsequent death of her father, Tomás Velasco.
At that time she left Puebla to look for opportunities in Mexico City, thus becoming a vedette, in the shows that were presented at the Blanquita Theater.
It was at this stage that she discovered her passion for the stage, in addition to also participating as a radio actress, acting with actors such as José Jasso.
His first roles in Mexican cinema were in the films: ‘Ruletero a Toda Marcha’ and ‘El rey del tomato’ from 1962 and 1963, respectively, where he participated with minor roles.
Between 1962 and 1967 his appearances were minor, with supporting characters, and in 1968 he appeared for the first time with the character of ‘La India María’, in the film ‘Los Bastardos’, directed by Miguel Morayta Martínez.
The character was proposed to him by the Puerto Rican director Fernando Cortés, who later directed his films. Cortés gave her the idea of playing an indigenous woman named “Elena María” who would eventually become the ‘india María’.
María Nicolasa Cruz was an indigenous Mexican woman of the ancient era originally from San José de los Burros.
Her clothing was very similar to that of a Mazahua woman, but the ethnic group to which she belonged varies according to the different films, as well as her personal situation, which indicates that her life does not have continuity from one film to another.
The writer José Manuel Valenzuela Árce points out in his book ‘Neither from here nor from there. Popular symbols in Indian films Maria ‘, that the main character in Velasco’s career is linked to the historical present in which he appears.
It arises in a context where the emigration of indigenous Mazahuas to Mexico City became frequent.
The main means of support for these women when they arrived in the city was the sale of fruit in the street or rag dolls.
Adding that the people of the city uniformed them with the name of “Marias”, term “pejorative and racist with which the mestizo population refers to indigenous women who live in urban areas”.
Like most indigenous Mexicans, María lives in poverty, but tries to be happy with the little she has. She is a cheerful, shy and witty, honest, carefree, bold and noble woman.
for his condition indigenous and poor is often segregated, underestimated and humiliated by elite circles. She often meets people who try to take advantage of her good faith and her ignorance about life in the city.
In addition to her clothing, another characteristic feature of the character created by María Elena Velasco is her way of speaking, using idioms generally associated with Mexican indigenous groups.
She was usually the protagonist of absurd situations, but her wit always helped her get ahead of difficult situations.
Velasco married in 1965 Vladimir Lipkies Chazan, a Mexican actor, film director and choreographer of Russian origin, who, when he moved to Argentina in the 1930s, changed his name to Julian de Meriche.
The couple had two children: producer and director Ivan Lipkies; and the writer, actress and producer Ivette Eugenia Lipkies, whose stage name is “Goretti”.
The marriage with Meriche, who moved to Mexico in the 1940s, lasted until July 27, 1974, when the actor died.
There is a version that María Elena Velasco had two more daughters that she gave up for adoption: Mirna Velasco, who discovered that she was the daughter of the actress and that she was given to an American family.
Although it is not confirmed, there is a version that Denisse Guerrero, vocalist of the pop group Belanova, would also have been the daughter of Velasco and given up for adoption as a baby to a family from Los Mochis, Sinaloa.
María Elena Velasco Fragossi died on May 1, 2015 at the age of 74, due to stomach cancer that she had suffered for five years. Her remains were cremated and later scattered in the wind according to the wishes of the actress.