.. nce, that large cities were marvelous places where only wealth existed; and everything I heard about them from other people confirmed that belief. They talked about the great city as if it were a wonderful paradise where everything was beautiful..I seemed to feel, from what they said that people there were more really people than those I saw around me in my town. Eva knew that the only place she could realistically become a star, was 150 miles across the pampas, in Buenos Aires. At fifteen she was determined to shake the pampas dust from her shoes and head to the concrete paradise of her dreams.
Her chance came in the form of a young handsome tango singer named Agustin Magaldi. Magaldi was in Junin performing at the local theatre. The story from there is a bit sketchy. Some say they became lovers, other theories are tamer and suggest that Magaldi just gave Eva a lift. Either way, Eva made it to her city of dreams Buenos Aires.
BUENOS AIRES Buenos Aires in the 1930s was a kaleidoscope of opportunity for an aspiring actress. It was the Paris of Latin America. The city contained twenty-five theatres, nine radio stations, and three film companies. On her first day in the city she found a room in a cheap hotel in the middle of the theatre district. Her new home was just off of Calle Corrientes, a street known for its nightlife by the locals.
The first few months in Buenos Aires were tough for the country girl. With no references or experience it was difficult to even get in to see an agent. Eva was not as particular about her appearance either. Subsisting on a diet of sandwiches and coffee, or less, became the norm. Her brother Juan tried to persuade Eva to return home but her determination and stubbornness won out.
She was not about to quit before she even got started. Eva told everyone she met that she was going to be Argentinas leading actress. In March of 1935 Eva got a break. She was offered a small part in La Senora de Perez, at the Comedia Theatre. It was there that she met Pascual Pelliciota, a fellow cast member.
This was the beginning of a series of bit parts and affairs with bit players. In July Eva was in a production of Theres a World In Every Home. Eva was dropped from the production when the play went on tour. Once again she found herself beating the pavement for another job. Evas first touring role was in the production of The Mortal Kiss. Unfortunately she was fired halfway through the trip.
After this episode Eva struggled to regain her health. She never gave up and became even more determined than ever to work. She drove agents, friends, and anyone who could possibly help her, mad soliciting for parts. A contemporary of Evas, Pierina Dealessi, recalls: “..Evita was a plain girl, very thin, black hair. I asked her if she ever worked on the stage before.
She told me that she was just back from a provincial tour. We took her on at a miserable salary 180 pesos a month. There were no rest days; besides which we gave four shows on Sunday..She looked so thin and delicate that I used to add a little milk to her mat to give her some nourishment. She weighed nothing at all..time and time again I told her “eat more; dont stay up late..” She told me she had to moonlight other jobs in order to sent her mother 700 pesos per month. That was a lot of money in those days.
Poor Evita.” Throughout the time that Eva had been struggling to become an actress, she is noted to have had many affairs. Usually with men who might possibly help her in her career. When she was eighteen she had a romance with the owner of Sintonia Magazine , Emilio Kartulovic. Hunger became a thing of the past and Eva was getting jobs. She appeared in a few forgettable films , performed bit parts for radio and stage, and even a few modeling assignments. After a few set backs here and there , her finances stabilized enough for her to move out of her dreary digs into a better hotel. Real stardom for Eva came in the form of a wealthy soap manufacturer.
He fell in love and gave Eva a radio program of her own. Cesar Marino, head producer at Radio Argentina, remembers his boss called him into his office and introduced him to Eva Duarte. “She had obtained the backing of the Radical Soap Company and was looking for a station to put her show on the air. [The boss] was more interested in the advertiser than the actress..”she is going to be our leading star.” I didnt know where to begin, as the kid was a very, very poor actress. But she was docile, well behaved, nicely mannered and serious..” Evas radio work kept her busy; she had a show on another radio station, Radio El Mundo. The Soap opera format used for the radio shows in the 1930s were the misty-eyed love stories with titles like Love Was born When I Met You, Love Promises, or My Kingdom of Love. After appearing on the cover of Antena twice Eva was, if not the leading actress in Argentina, a very well know actress.
In the cover stories about the country girl from the pampas, Argentineans learned that she loved dancing and Greer Garson films. Eva confessed in an interview that she was a tranquil woman, a homemaker, one who loved family life. In 1943 her salary jumped from 150 pesos a month to 5,000 at Radio Belgrano. The owner, Jaime Yankelevich, had discovered that Evas current boyfriend was Colonel Anibal Imbert , the Minister of Communications. Yankelevich figured that the girlfriend of an official, who controlled his very existence, was worth a raise. Not only had Eva risen in the entertainment field, to become a popular radio star, but she was beginning to socialize in more political circles too.
History took a sharp turn on January 15, 1944. An earthquake struck 500 miles west of Buenos Aires. Thousands of people were killed, and many were left without homes. National sympathy prompted a huge fund raising drive and all of the personalities of the day came to lend their support. Evas date for the evening was Colonel Imbert. This event would not only change the lives of the victims of San Juan, but of Eva Duarte, the actress.
Colonel Juan Pern was also in attendance that night. Eva knew who he was and arranged an introduction. It was love at first sight for Eva, and she made sure that Colonel Pern was not lonely during the gala. Evas description of the marvelous day that she met Pern probably sums up her feelings best: I put myself at his side. Perhaps this drew his attention to me and when he had time to listen to me I spoke up as best I could: “If, as you say, the cause of the people is your own cause, however great the sacrifice I will never leave your side until I die.” Eva was true to her word, and from that day on she became inseparable from Juan Pern. Throughout his rise in the military, through his arrest, and through his election Eva stood by his side.
Eva was going to become a new woman, Evita. No longer the poor country girl, no longer the struggling actress, but the right-hand of the President of Argentina. A First Lady. Bibliography BIBLIOGRAPHY Skidmore, Thomas, & Smith, Peter. (1997) Modern Latin America 4th Ed. New York: Oxford University Press. Fraser, Nicholas, & Navarro, Marysa.
(1996) Evita: The real life of Eva Pern. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. Barnes, John. (1978) Evita: First Lady.
New York: Grove Press, Inc. Neill, Michael. Evita: Woman and myth, beloved in death, her legend in Argentina lives on. People Weekly 16 December 1996 Juan Pern (1994) In Comptons Interactive Encyclopedia. Ash, David.
(Writer & Director). Julia, Raul (Narrator) Ash, David, & Di Tella, Andres (Producer). (1993). Americas: The Garden of Forking Paths. [Television program]. Boston: WGBH.
Unknown author. Evita Pern: Discovering the Real Evita The Woman behind The Myth. [On-line]. Available: http://expage.com/page/evaforever [1998, July].