Did You Know?
Salma Hayek was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Frida. She is the first and only Mexican-born actress to be nominated for this category. This award-winning movie narrates the story of Frida Kahlo, a world-famous painter, who was also Mexican.
Here is a compilation of ten most famous Mexicans who received international acclaim for their work. They have and will continue to inspire generations. We have enlisted them in the alphabetical order.
Agustín de Iturbide
Also known as Augustine I of Mexico, he was born on December 27, 1783. In his family, he was the only male who survived and became its head. He studied at a catholic seminary. He was a good horseman. In his teens, he joined the royalist army and later became the second lieutenant in the provincial regiment. In 1806, he became full lieutenant. He was known for his valor, was a threat to the enemies, and became popular among the royalists. He was a general in the Mexican army and played a major role in the Mexican War of Independence. In 1821, he became the President of the Regency of Mexico, and the Constitutional Emperor of Mexico in 1822. He ruled from May that year to March 1823. The first Mexican flag is believed to have been designed by him.
Alfonso Garcia Robles
Born on March 20, 1911, Robles was a famous Mexican diplomat and politician. He was a student of the National Autonomous University of Mexico after which he joined the foreign services of his country. He was a delegate to the San Francisco Conference in 1945, which established the United Nations. He served as the ambassador to Brazil for two years from 1962 and was later appointed as the state secretary to the ministry of foreign affairs. He represented Mexico in the United Nations from 1971 to 1975 and served as foreign minister in the following year. He was later the permanent representative of Mexico to the Committee on Disarmament. Alfonso Garcia Robles, together with Alva Myrdal of Sweden, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1982. His death in 1991 meant the loss of one of the efficient diplomats of Mexico.
Born in Chihuahua, Mexico, on April 21, 1915, he was brought up in Texas and then in Los Angeles and California. As a child, he played in the band of the church he attended. As a youngster, he was a professional boxer for a brief period. He then studied art and architecture. It was probably during that time that he realized his inclination towards acting. Starting as a stage actor, he entered films in 1936, with Parole. He played character roles and villains. Some of his notable film appearances include La Strada, Zorba the Greek, The Message, and Lust for Life and Viva Zapata, both earning him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He was the first Mexican-born actor to win two Oscars in the same category. He continued acting even as he aged. He was also a painter and writer. He died in Boston at the age of 86.
Born on January 28, 1940, in Mexico City, he is a Mexican businessman and investor. He is also involved in philanthropy. He learned the basics of business from his father and worked for his father's company since age 17. At the early age of 12, he had invested in shares in a bank in Mexico. After completing civil engineering, he started working as a trader and eventually started his own brokerage firm that invested in various sectors. Expanding and diversifying his business in several domains, in 1980, he formed Grupo Galas, as the parent company. Establishing and acquiring different businesses, he ventured sectors like airlines, hotel, and television. In 2007, he made it to the list of world's richest people with a wealth of $53.1 billion. With a net worth of $59 billion, Fortune Magazine reported him as the world's richest person in 2007. Till 2014, he remained in the top three on the list of world's wealthiest people, switching positions with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. In July 2014, Forbes declared him as the world's richest person with a net worth of $79.6 billion. He also tops the list of billionaires.
Eduardo del Río
Born on June 20, 1934, he is a political cartoonist from Mexico. He used the pen name Rius. He began his career in the 1960s by making cartoons for newspapers and magazines. Los Supermachos and Los agachados were two of his cartoons that earned him recognition. Both bore a political theme. The books he wrote and illustrated for, became popular for the humor and wit that his cartoons carried. Marx for Beginners, a translation of his Marx para principiantes, based on the life and ideas of Karl Marx was an international bestseller. He also illustrated for some political humor magazines. His successful career is a source of inspiration for many political cartoonists of today.
Born on September 29, 1786, Guadalupe Victoria was the first President of Mexico, in office from 1824 to 1829. He was a republican who fought for the overthrow of Emperor Iturbide. On accomplishing the establishment of an independent Mexico, he became Mexico's first President. During his tenure, he played a vital role in the eradication of slavery and founding of the Military Academy. His name bore a symbolic significance wherein 'Victoria' meant victory and 'Guadalupe' was a symbol of gratitude towards and protection of what was known as 'Our Lady of Guadalupe'. He died in 1843. He is held in high regard in Mexico.
Guillermo Gonzalez Camarena
Born in Guadalajara in 1917, Guillermo moved to Mexico City with his family, when he was 2 years old. His flair for science was evident in his small creations at a very young age. He used to make electrically propelled toys and when he was only 12, he built his first amateur radio. In 1930, he graduated from the School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineers. He built a telescope and became a member of the Astronomical Society of Mexico. He was also the holder of a radio license. He devised a mechanism of the transmission and reception of colored pictures over the wire. He obtained a patent for this invention in 1942. He was the first one to introduce Mexico to color television. He died in a car accident in Puebla in 1965. He has a foundation that benefits Mexican inventors, named in his honor. He is remembered for his work that gave a new dimension to television.
Joaquin Capilla Perez
Born on December 23, 1928, he was a Mexican diver. He holds the record of winning the highest number of Olympic medals, as of 2010. He won two bronze medals, the first one in the London Olympics of 1948 in the platform diving event and the second one in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne in the springboard event. In the same event, he also won a gold medal in platform diving. In 1952, during the Olympic Games in Helsinki, he won a silver medal in the platform diving event. He won four golds at the Pan American Games, two in 1951, and two in 1955. He was a coach at many diving clubs in Mexico. He died of cardiac arrest on May 8, 2010.
Mario J. Molina
Born on March 19, 1943, son of Roberto Molina Pasquel, a lawyer and diplomat, and Leonor Henriquez de Molina, Mario was one of the pioneering precursors to the discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole. He graduated in chemical engineering, earned a master's from the Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg, West Germany and a doctoral degree in Chemistry from the University of California. His research in dangers to the ozone layer led to the moves towards the worldwide ban on the CFC-emitting aerosol cans and refrigerators. For his contribution to science, he was honored with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Today he is a member of a number of science organizations and 18 honorary degrees have been conferred on him. Mario Molina is one of those famous Mexicans who revolutionized the studies on the Earth's ozone layer.
Born on March 31, 1914, Octavio Paz was a Mexican writer, poet, and diplomat. He was brought up by his mother, aunt, and his paternal grandfather. Paz was introduced to literature during his childhood through his grandfather's library. The works of some of the great European poets and Spanish writers influenced Paz's writings. During his teen years, he published two collections of his poems. In 1937, he discontinued his law studies to work in a school for sons of peasants and workers in Merida. There he could involve in poetry and literary works. He was the winner of a number of awards as also the very prestigious Nobel Prize for Literature. 'El Laberinto de la Soledad', a study of the Mexican identity and thought and his poetic works like 'Piedra de sol' are some of his most famous contributions to Mexican literature. He died in 1998, aged 84. He remains to be one of the well-noted figures in literature.
These were only a few of those great names that made the Mexicans proud. They earned recognition for their valuable work and have made a mark in their respective fields. They will be remembered for years to come.