Silvia Derbez was a renowned Mexican actress who appeared in hundreds of radio, television, and film roles. She was the mother of Eugenio Derbez, one of the most successful comedians and producers in Latin America. This article will explore her life and career, and how she faced her illness with courage and dignity.
Silvia Derbez’s Early Life and Career
Silvia Derbez was born on March 8, 1932, in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, as Lucille Silvia Derbez Amézquita. She was the daughter of a French businessman and a Mexican homemaker. She developed a passion for acting at a young age, and participated in school plays and local theater productions. She moved to California with her family in the late 1930s, and began her professional career as a radio actress. She also worked as a dress model and a secretary to support herself.
She made her radio debut in 1937, and soon became a regular on various shows, such as Call the Police, The Fat Man, Our Gal Sunday, and The Romance of Helen Trent. She played a variety of roles, from ingenues to villains, and demonstrated her range and versatility. She also met her future husband, Frank Behrens, a fellow radio actor, whom she married in 1946. They had one son, Tim Behrens, who became a theater director and actor.
Silvia Derbez’s Transition to Television and Film
As television became more popular, Silvia Derbez made a smooth transition to the new medium. She made her television debut in 1952, and appeared in numerous shows, such as Dragnet, I Love Lucy, The Twilight Zone, Perry Mason, The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Golden Girls, ER, and many more. She often played supporting or guest roles, such as neighbors, teachers, nurses, secretaries, mothers, and grandmothers. She was known for her ability to adapt to different genres and styles, from comedy to drama, from westerns to sci-fi.
She also had a successful film career, appearing in more than two dozen movies, such as Captain Newman, M.D., Penelope, Kotch, Harper Valley PTA, Pretty Woman, Doc Hollywood, Shiloh, and Krippendorf’s Tribe. She usually played minor or cameo roles, but she always made an impression with her screen presence and charisma. She was especially praised for her portrayal of Gladys Schmades, a wholesome and naive woman who unwittingly helps a professor fake his research on a fictional tribe, in Krippendorf’s Tribe (1998).
Silvia Derbez’s Later Years and Death
Silvia Derbez retired from acting in 2001, after a career that spanned more than six decades and over 650 television appearances. She moved to Spokane, Washington, to be closer to her son and his family. She suffered from lung cancer in her later years, and died peacefully in her sleep on April 6, 2002. She was cremated and her ashes were placed in her husband’s grave at Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York. Her name does not appear on the headstone.
According to her son Eugenio, Silvia Derbez was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2000, and underwent chemotherapy and surgery. However, the cancer spread to her brain and other organs, and she fell into a coma
Silvia Derbez’s Legacy and Influence
Silvia Derbez was a remarkable actress who left a lasting legacy in the entertainment industry. She was admired and respected by her peers and fans for her talent, professionalism, and versatility. She was a role model and an inspiration for many aspiring and established actors, especially women and character actors. She was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003, and was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2004.
Silvia Derbez’s cause of death may not be widely known, but her life and career are well remembered. She was a part of many iconic and beloved shows and movies, and entertained millions of people with her performances. She was a true legend, a class act, and a gem. She was Silvia Derbez, the Mexican actress who lost her battle with cancer.