From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
Overview Soledad Rendón Bueno (9 July 1943 – 18 August 1970), better known by her stage names Soledad Miranda or Susann Korda (or sometimes Susan Korday), was an actress who was born in Seville, Spain to Portuguese parents of Roma ancestry. She frequently starred in the films of Jess Franco, such as Count Dracula and Vampyros Lesbos. She died in a car accident on a Lisbon highway.
Soledad was the first child of Portuguese parents, Soledad (whose name translates as solitude or loneliness) was the niece of the famous Spanish singer-actress-flamenco dancer Paquita Rico. Soledad's parents had little money and, eventually, six children. It was necessary to contribute to the family income. At eight years old, Soledad made her professional debut when she was hired as a flamenco dancer and singer, first in the "Youth Galas" at the Seville Fair and San Fernando theatre, and then on a tour throughout southern Spain.
Career Soledad's dream was to become an actress, so at age sixteen, she moved to Madrid and drew an artistic stage name out of a hat. After a difficult start, she made her film debut in 1960 as a dancer in a musical called La bella Mimí. She struggled for a few years, but eventually found regular work and was able to send money back home. She was often in the tabloids as the rumored girlfriend of the most famous bullfighter of the time, Manuel Benítez (El Cordobés).
Soledad was well-received in Spanish cinema as well as international co-productions. The fragile beauty worked constantly, appearing in numerous movies (she played in over thirty altogether from 1960 to 1970). There were epic adventures (Ursus, Cervantes); horror films (Sound of Horror); dramas (Canción de cuna, Currito de la Cruz); comedies (Eva 63, La familia y uno más); and even a Spaghetti western (Sugar Colt). American producer Sidney Pink gave Soledad important roles in the international productions The Castilian and Pyro. Her talents in singing and dancing were shown off in several movies as well as on stage in Spanish folkloric shows, and she also released a couple of yé-yé pop records in the mid-1960s with some success. Soledad was a well-rounded girl who enjoyed writing poetry, painting, and reading books.
For nearly two years, Soledad did not work at all, but when she was offered a role in the western 100 Rifles she decided to return, hoping to receive a great role and become known outside of Spain. But she said if she hadn't truly triumphed within a couple of years, she would retire forever.
In this second phase of her career, Soledad took on a lot of work, appearing in several films and in Spanish television shows. This was also when, in 1969, the prolific legendary cult director Jess Franco was casting in Spain for his film Count Dracula. Remembering a girl who'd had a tiny cameo in his musical La reina del Tabarín nearly a decade before, Franco hired Soledad and managed to save her from becoming forgotten; she became his leading star. Soledad was very happy and fulfilled, and told friends that she was convinced that 1970 would be her biggest year. In the brief period between late 1969 and the summer of 1970, she made seven films with Jess Franco altogether, including Eugenie De Sade, Vampyros Lesbos, She Killed in Ecstasy, and The Devil Came From Akasava. Due to the erotic nature of these films, Soledad took the stage name Susann Korda (alternately spelled Susan Korday). According to Franco, she greatly enjoyed working with him and was transformed. Once a young, dimpled, bubbly starlet, she became the pale, haunted, mysterious icon of Jess Franco's movies.
Accident and death
In August 1970, near the end of filming The Devil Came From Akasava, Soledad and her husband took a short holiday in Portugal. She was looking forward to theatrical performances in Latin America and was thrilled with some news from Jess Franco: his producer wanted to offer her a multi-year contract that would make her a star. On the morning of 18 August 1970, reportedly on the way to sign the Franco contract, Soledad and her husband went out driving along the Costa do Sol highway between Estoril and Lisbon (which, in an eerie coincidence, was the same route they'd taken years earlier in the film Un día en Lisboa). They were involved in a collision with a small truck which completely crushed their car. Though her husband, who was driving, only had minor injuries, Soledad received serious fractures to her skull and spine. She died hours after the accident at the Hospital of São José in Lisbon, never having come out of her coma. Everyone who knew her; friends, family, and all the artistic circles in Spain, were shocked by the news.
Legacy and cult stardom
Soledad was a well-known figure in Spanish cinema, but it had always been her dream to be known outside of Spain as well. Her life was cut short just as that was about to happen. However, after many years of obscurity, her legacy is spreading due to Jess Franco's popularity and the fact that many of her films are on DVD. Soledad Miranda has posthumously become the international celebrity she always wanted to be. Not until the years after her death has she become a cult starlet with fans all over the world now discovering the beautiful, doomed actress.
- 1. Soledad Miranda Biography