Julián de Meriche was a Russian-born Mexican actor and choreographer who appeared in more than 100 films and TV shows from the 1930s to the 1970s. He was known for his villainous roles, his raspy voice, and his marriage to the famous comedian María Elena Velasco, also known as “La India María”. He died on July 27, 1974, at the age of 65, due to complications from a skin infection. His death marked the end of a remarkable career that spanned several countries and genres.
From Russia to Mexico: A Journey of Music and Dance
Julián de Meriche was born as Vladimir Lipkies Chazan on October 10, 1910, in Russia. He grew up in a poor and abusive family, where his mother was killed by his stepfather when he was a child. He found solace in music and dance, learning to play the harmonica from his uncle, who was a professional musician. He also taught himself to sing and dance, and started performing on the streets for tips.
He moved to Europe in the 1920s, where he worked as a dancer in music halls and cabarets. He adopted the stage name of Julián de Meriche, which he said was inspired by a French poet. He traveled to Argentina in the 1930s, where he began his film career, appearing in several musical comedies and dramas. He also met and married his first wife, the actress and singer Libertad Lamarque, with whom he had a daughter, Mirtha.
He moved to Mexico in the 1940s, where he continued his film career, playing supporting roles in many genres, such as westerns, dramas, comedies, and musicals. He often portrayed foreigners, such as Germans, Italians, Russians, or Americans, using his accent and his knowledge of languages. He also worked as a choreographer, creating dance routines for films and stage shows. He became a popular and versatile actor, working with some of the most famous stars and directors of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema.
A Love Story with La India María: A Comedy Duo
Julián de Meriche met María Elena Velasco, a young actress and comedian, in the 1950s, when they were both working in a theater company. They fell in love and married in 1965, forming a comedy duo that became very successful. Velasco created the character of La India María, a naive and funny indigenous woman who faced various adventures and challenges in the modern world. De Meriche played her husband, a grumpy and greedy man who often exploited her. They starred in several films and TV shows, such as “La India María y el Oso”, “La India María en el Carnaval”, and “La India María y el Gran Pillo”. They also had three children, Iván, Ivette, and Goretti, who followed their parents’ footsteps in the entertainment industry.
De Meriche and Velasco were not only partners on screen, but also in real life. They supported each other’s careers and shared a deep love and respect. They were one of the most beloved and admired couples in Mexican show business, and their films and shows were very popular among the audiences.
A Tragic End: A Skin Infection That Turned Fatal
Julián de Meriche died on July 27, 1974, at Ochsner Hospital in Jefferson, Louisiana, after being hospitalized for over a month due to a skin infection that had spread to his bloodstream. His son confirmed his death on Facebook, and asked for prayers and respect for the family. His cause of death was not widely reported by the media, and some fans speculated that he may have had other health problems, such as diabetes or cancer. However, his family did not disclose any further details, and requested privacy and discretion.
His death was a shock and a sorrow for his family, his friends, and his fans, who remembered him as a talented and generous man who brought joy and laughter to many people. His wife, Velasco, was devastated by his loss, and dedicated a tribute to him at the end of her film “La India María y el Tío Gamboín”, which was released shortly after his death. She also continued his legacy by producing and directing films and shows featuring La India María, until her own death in 2015.
Julián de Meriche cause of death was a tragic end to a remarkable life. He overcame many hardships and challenges, and never gave up on his passion and his dream. He used his music and dance as a way to express himself, to connect with others, and to entertain them. He was a Russian-Mexican actor who became a legend of the screen and the stage, and a loving husband and father who touched many hearts. He will always be remembered and missed by his family, his friends, and his fans. Rest in peace, Julián de Meriche. You are in a better place now.