Spanish Actress Sara Montiel Dies at 85

Sara Montiel 1954 - P 2013
AFP/Getty Images

Sara Montiel 1954 - P 2013

Known in Spain for her acting, beauty and singing voice, the star brought a new sensuality to the screen in the 1960s.

MADRID -- Spanish actress Sara Montiel, best known for in the U.S. for her roles in Vera Cruz (1955) with Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster and Run of the Arrow (1957) with Rod Steiger, died Monday in her home in Madrid. She was 85.

Originally from a poor, rural family, Montiel was Spain's first actress to travel to Hollywood, where her sensuous beauty and singing voice made a splash and fueled a 30-year film career, spanning almost 50 movies.

Her first role in Te Quiero Para Mi came as a prize in a beauty contest.

After filming dozens of films in Mexico, she married director Anthony Mann, who directed her in the 1956 Serenade.

Much loved in Spain for her courage that pushed her to cross the border when few Spaniards ventured abroad, she is best known for Juan de Orduna's The Last Torch Song and as a singer of folkloric music, which included a recording career in five languages.

She retired from film in 1975 but continued her music career.