Retrato de Amparo Fernández de Villegas Niño
Person - Villegas, Amparo (1885-1969)

Villegas, Amparo (1885-1969)




Preferred form:

Villegas, Amparo (1885-1969)Other forms

Dates of existence/Biographical dates:

Salamanca  1885-02-01 - Ciudad de México (México)  1969-06-19


Classical theatre, cinema, TV and dubbing actress. She was the eldest child of Amparo Niño Villaverde and Francisco Fernández Villegas Hernández. While her mother came from a well-known family from Salamanca, her father, better known under the pseudonym ¿Zeda¿ or Francisco Villegas, was PhD in Philosophy and Arts, journalist, writer, literary critic and playwright of classical works. In 1988, her parents were the owners of the school and high school at the 14 Espoz y Mina Street in Salamanca. It was one of the first schools that introduced in Spain the pedagogical system created by the German Friedrich Fröbel or Froebel, the creator of the pre-school education and the concept of kindergarten. Without a shadow of doubt, the pedagogical knowledge of Amparo¿s parents influenced on her cousin¿s interest on pre-school education, nursery schools and school libraries. Amparo Cebrián Fernández de Villegas was the daughter of her aunt Concepción.

Amparo Fernández de Villegas Niño was born in Salamanca (Spain). Even though most of the bibliographic references point out that she was born in 1890, the Sevilian playwright Álvaro Muñoz Custodio, who worked with her in the ¿Teatro Clásico de México¿, confirmed that she was born in Salamanca in February 1885. Her maternal grandfather, Faustino Niño, was a dentist teacher at his own establishment in Corrillo and a hairdresser in the 2 Toro Street in Salamanca. This location changed in 1874, when it was established in 55 Mayor Street in Comendador de Béjar. Her maternal grandmother, Margarita Villaverde, was also from Salamanca. Her maternal grandparents lived near the hair salon and the dental establishment that her grandfather possessed at the 3 Sordolodo Street, currently known as Meléndez Street. Several testimonies, including the one of her cousin Amparo¿s daughter, the teacher Carmen de Zulueta, explained that the family moved from the city of Tormes to Madrid some years later. In 1897, when her uncle Cristino Cebrián Villanova, a military doctor and teacher at the Free School of Medicine in Salamanca, died, her parents help her aunt Concepción Fernández-Villegas and her younger children to settle in the capital. Amparo and her sisters Pura, Concepción and Margarita coincided with them at the ¿Instituto-Escuela¿* of the Free Teaching Institution. Therefore, Amparo Villegas was cousin of the pedagogues from Salamanca Dolores, Amparo and María (Antonia) Cebrián Fernández-Villegas, respectively married to the politicians Julián Besteiro (PSOE**), Luis de Zulueta (AR*** and IR****), Nicolás de Benito Alonso (IR) and Amadeo Ribó Simont (PSOE). With her father¿s support, Amparo Villegas started her career as an actress in 1907 at the theatre of la Princesa (currently called María Guerrero). She was employed at the age of 22 by María Guerrero and her husband, Fernando Díaz de Mendoza. Two years later, the first modern adaptation of La Celestina was performed for the first time at the Spanish Theatre of Madrid. It was composed by her father and she obtained the role of Melibea. This representation marked the start of her acting career. She did not stop growing professionally since then and worked together with the most important figures of her time: María Guerrero, Rosario Pino, Emilio Thuiller and Enrique Borrás. She became the protagonist together with the most complete and formidable Spanish theatre actor of the 20th century: Francisco Morano. Amparo was the leading actress of her company between 1912 and1933, when Morano died. She interpreted together with him the leading roles of the classic, romantic and modern repertoire of Spain, North Africa and South America. Her sister Pura also worked as a supporting actress. When Morano died in 1934, she worked in several works at the company of Antonio Vico and Carmen Carbonell as a character actress. In 1935, she played the role of mother superior at the film Currito de la Cruz, directed by Fernando Delgado. When the Civil War started, she was employed by the company of Pepita Díaz and Manuel Collado to tour America. Carmen de Zulueta wrote in her book ¿La España que pudo ser¿ the encounter with the theatre company in Bogota in the summer of 1938, city where she was exiled together with her parents, Amparo Cebrián and Luis de Zulueta. It also explained the reunion with Alejandro Casona, his wife Rosalía Martín Bravo, her primary teacher and Amparo, her mother¿s cousin, who had been removed from the family due to morality reasons. This meeting supposed a new beginning for the family. In Bogota, she was informed about her aunt Concepción Fernández Villegas¿ death in Paris in February 1938. In addition, she knew about her cousin María (Antonia)¿s detention in July 1936, her subsequent release after paying a 2000 pesetas fine and her husband Nicolás de Benito¿s disqualifications as a French teacher. When the company dissolved, Amparo was exiled in Mexico, where she coincided with her sisters Pura and Margarita. The last one was the widow of José Robles Pazos, the translator of John Dos Passos¿ work. She worked there with María Teresa Montoya, Prudencia Grifell Masipon, Pepita Melià and Virginia Fábregas. In 1944, she was a member of the first group of Mexican actors that went to New York to dub into Spanish films of the Metro-Goldwin-Mayer for the Latin American market. She stayed there for 2 years. When her contract as a dubbing actress finished, she was employed by the University of Río Piedras in Puerto Rico for some months. When she returned to Mexico, she resumed her career as a classical actress, taking part of several companies like the one of Pepita Melià and Benito Cibrián, the ¿Teatro Español de América de Cipriano Rivas Cherif¿ and the ¿Teatro Clásico de México de Álvaro Custodio¿. She had her last success in this last company playing the role of Celestina. She also played a role in works of Lope de Vega, Calderón, Unamuno¿s ¿Medea¿ or Federico García Lorca¿s Blood Wedding (Bodas de Sangre). She participated in a long series of soap operas of the new emergent medium like ¿Mi esposa se divorcia¿, ¿Gran teatro¿ or ¿Detrás del muro¿. She arrived in Mexico as a recognised Spanish actress of the time. She also achieved to be recognised as a Mexican theatre, television and film actress. In addition, she participated actively in the meetings and activities organized by the Corporation of former students of the Free Teaching Institution, the ¿Instituo-Escuela¿ and the Student Residence of Madrid, Group of Mexico. Amparo Villegas died in the City of Mexico on the 19th of June 1969. Her friend Álvaro Muñoz Custodio, old member of ¿la Barraca¿ of García Lorca, affirmed in an obituary of the actress that she was ¿one of the most expressive and profound actresses of the Mexican theatre. On the other hand, her culture was very extensive and she translated several comedies and books from French. Her open nature and her artistic and moral integrity made her not only a wonderful actress in love with her profession but also an unforgettable friend and fellow.

*Spanish educational institution founded in Madrid in 1918 as a teaching experiment to extend the pedagogical principles of the Free Teaching Institution and the most advanced European pedagogy through the secondary education.

**Spanish Socialist Worker's Party.

***Action for the Republic.

****Republican Left.

Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939

Date of the event: 1936 - 1939



Profession (carried on by):



Teatro Español (Madrid, España)  Obs.:  Lugar de trabajo

Teatro María Guerrero (Madrid, España)  Obs.:  Lugar de trabajo

Lugar de Nacimiento:

Salamanca in 1885-02-01

Lugar de Defunción:

Ciudad de México (México) in 1969-06-19


Related Authorities

Carbonell, Carmen (1900-1988)  ( He/She is friend with )

Associative relations :

Cibrián, Benito (1890-1974)  ( He/She is friend with )

Collado Montes, Manuel (?-1950)  ( He/She is friend with )

Díaz, Pepita (1891-1976)  ( He/She is friend with )

Guerrero, María (1867-1927)  ( He/She is the tutor/teacher/boss of )

Institución Libre de Enseñanza. Instituto-Escuela (Madrid, España)  ( Estudiante )

Meliá, Pepita (1893-1990)  ( He/She is the tutor/teacher/boss of )

Morano, Francisco (1876-1933)  ( He/She is friend with )

Vico, Antonio (1903-1972)  ( He/She is friend with )

Family relationships :

Cebrián Fernández de Villegas, Amparo (1883-1955)  - Collateral (He/She is the cousin of)

Cebrián Fernandez de Villegas, Carmen (1895-1979)  - Collateral (He/She is the cousin of)

Cebrián Fernández de Villegas, Dolores (1881-1973)  - Collateral (He/She is the cousin of)

Cebrián Fernández de Villegas, Francisco (1886-1958)  - Collateral (He/She is the cousin of)

Cebrián Fernández de Villegas, María (1891-1972)  - Collateral (He/She is the cousin of)

Cebrián Fernández de Villegas, Mercedes (1896-1991)  - Collateral (He/She is the cousin of)

Cebrián Villanova, Cristino (1855-1897)  - Collateral (He/She is the nephew/niece of)

Fernández de Villegas, Concepción (1859-1938)  - Collateral (He/She is the nephew/niece of)

Fernandez de Villegas Niño, Cristino (1888-1968)  - Collateral (He/She is the brother/sister of)

Fernández de Villegas Niño, Jorge (1920-2002)  - Collateral (He/She is the uncle/aunt of)

Fernández de Villegas, Purificación (1887-1968)  - Collateral (He/She is the brother/sister of)

Robles Pazos, José (1897-1937)  - Collateral (He/She is my brother-in-law/sister-in-law)

Villegas Niño, Margarita (1899-1983)  - Collateral (He/She is the brother/sister of)

Fernández de Villegas, Francisco (1856-1916)  - Descendant (He/She is the son/daughter of)

Niño Villaverde, Amparo (1857-1915)  - Descendant (He/She is the son/daughter of)

See ancestors

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