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Lita Baron , born Isabel Castro (Almería, Spain, August 11, 1929 – Palm Springs, United States, December 16, 2015) was a actress who stood out as a movie star in the early days of Hollywood.
Isabel Castro left her hometown, Almeria, in 1933, at 4 years of age, to emigrate with her family to the United States.
His first incursion in the world of the show was by the hand of Xavier Cugat with whom he sang at the Trocadero, presenting himself with the stage name of Isabelita. As early as 1943, the actor Francis Timothy McCown, who later triumphed under the stage name of Rory Calhoun, while Lita sang along with the Cugat orchestra in San José (California), was in attendance.
Soon after, in 1945, she was hired by RKO Pictures to appear on what would be her first Pan-Americana feature. During the following years, the Paramount counted on her in several productions of class A, in technicolor. The papers of her early years pigeonholed her into archetypal Latin characters: the girl from the canteen, the beautiful mermaid from the jungle, etc. Her first role as a star with specialist Fred Coby in Don Ricardo Returns (1946), a swashbuckling adventure film produced by RPC, did not have the expected success, so Isabelita decided to change her stage name to Lita Baron in 1948 However, one of his films of those years, Champagne for Two (1947), was nominated for the Academy Awards.
At the beginning of the 1950s, he would share a set with Sabu, the Indian actor in the first version of The Jungle Book, in the film Savage Drums (1951). During the decade that began, she caught the attention of producers such as David O. Selznick or Milton H. Bren, who would take her to stardom with films such as Border Incident (Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer) or Three for Bedroom C. In addition, she would appear again and again on the small American screen as a guest star in series such as I Love Lucy, Frontier Doctor or The Texan, among other productions and television programs.
Lita Baron had married in 1948 with the actor Rory Calhoun, seven years older than her, whom he had met five years before and with whom he had three children. Rory Calhoun, an inveterate donjuán according to the sources of the time, left his supposed adventures for the Spanish, which curiously was much lower than him (around 1 m 50 cm), which caused great impression at the time. Both shared screen in Network Sundown (1956) and they published a disc together, His and Hers, that would see the light the following year. This musical facet was of great popularity in Lita Baron, that interpreted diverse subjects throughout its cinematographic and televising production, like The Lady in Red (in I Love Lucy), Jack, Jack, Jack or Tacos, Toasted, Tamales in the movie Samba-Mania and Ho! Ho! Joseph! in Champagne for Two.
In 1960 he appeared in Compadece the delinquent, his only film in Spain, under the orders of director Eusebio Fernández Ardavín.
At Christmas 1952, he would travel to Korea along with other Hollywood stars in order to participate in a show for the US troops at war. He was part of the Spanish-speaking committee to support the reelection of Richard Nixon in October 1972.
His last appearance on the big screen took place in 1979, in the film Bitter Heritage, again with Rory Calhoun.
Lita Baron would end up divorcing him in 1970. Later she was informally connected with actor George Burns and gangster Mickey Cohen. Throughout her career, Lita Baron shared a set with many other stars, including Johnny Weissmüller, George Reeves, Robert Taylor, Lucille Ball and the Mexican Ricardo Montalbán, and has worked under directors such as Arthur Dreifuss or Anthony Mann .
Died in Palm Springs, California, on December 16, 2015.
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