Carmen Guerrero

born: 02 September 1911
Mexico City,
died: 11 December 1986
Mexico City,
(cardiorespiratory arrest, age 75)

Mexican actress, whose Hollywood film work primarily consisted of Spanish-language versions of early 1930s films. In addition to the Charley Chase shorts below, these also included the Spanish versions of "Dracula" (playing the Frances Dade role) and "The Big Trail" (where she essayed Marguerite Churchill's leading lady role).
Her parents were Luis Guerrero y Romero (1872-1931), a civil engineer for the Mexican government, and Ana Maria Garcia y San Román (1888-1942); they married on 12 February 1903. It's hard to keep track of exactly how many siblings Carmen had, since they seemed to go by different names on a bunch of individual records and as such are hard to pin down, but she is one of five children in the 1920 Census, and one of six children in the 1930 Census. At age 6, the Guerrero family moved to San Diego, California. By 1918, they were settled in Calexico, California. Carmen was reportedly discovered by Hoot Gibson, who spotted her while she was in Mexicali, and she acted in one of his films. Although she declined a contract, she later arrived in Hollywood and began acting in more films. This included "bathing beauty" work in Mack Sennett and Al Christie comedies.
In 1930, Carmen attempted to produce her own film, "Peregrina." Her intention was to produce a film showcasing the positive aspects of Mexico. Actor Charles Stevens began as director, with Carmen herself playing one of the leading roles. Unfortunately, production proved troubled, leading to a new director being appointed. After some months, Carmen ultimately deemed her noble project a failure, feeling the story was dull and that the result did not live up to her expectations, and she had the footage burned. In June/July 1930, she was signed by Paramount to a term contract ("five years full of options") as a result of her work in the Spanish version of "Slightly Scarlet"; her first assignment under the deal was being loaned to Roach for the Chase shorts.
In January 1931, newspapers reported that Carmen was the victim of a series of telephone threats, climaxing in one demanding that unless $1,000 was forwarded to the threatening party within a few hours, her two-year old son would be kidnapped and her own life endangered. She appealed to police for aid, despite threats of death if she notified them. As of this writing, I have yet to find concrete evidence of Carmen having ever had a child; in the 1930 Census, taken in April less than a year before, Carmen is single and living with her parents and five siblings, with the youngest child present being her 3-year old brother Iver. After the early 1930s, with the phasing out of alternate foreign-language productions, Carmen worked exclusively in Mexican cinema. Carmen married for the first (known) time, to Félix Romero Arias, on 02 September 1933 in Mexico City. One 1936 article called her "the Norma Shearer of Mexico."
Back in Mexico, Carmen co-starred in several films with musician, composer, and orchestra director Adolfo Girón (1904-1973). In January 1937, Girón's wife, Mrs. Jewel Gauthier de Girón, accused Carmen of alienating her husband's affections; Mrs. Girón even claimed that Carmen had kidnapped their daughter to bring her to Adolfo, and it was alleged that Carmen had been living for several years in Girón's company. Carmen denied the kidnapping accusation and claimed she and Girón only bumped into each other when working at the studio. Well, whatever the case, Carmen and Adolfo were married on 25 June 1938 in Mexico City. I'm not sure when this nor her previous marriage ended, but I assume both ended in divorce.
By 1965, Carmen was back stateside, living in Baldwin, New York. On 28 December 1965 (in Alexandria, Virginia), she married for the third (known) time, to executive Glen Coben (b. Milton Glen Cohen, 1908-1996). Carmen passed away at 11:00pm on 11 December 1986 at Centro Médico ABC [American-British Cowdray (ABC) Medical Center] in Mexico City, Mexico. The cause of death, translated from her death certificate, was "Non-traumatic cardiorespiratory arrest--Septic shock--Generalized peritonitis due to intestinal perforation." She was survived by her husband Glen Coben y Smith, who died ten years later.
Real name: Carmen Guerrero y Garcia
Films listed on this page: complete Hal Roach filmography.


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Laurel And Hardy: The Magic Behind The Movies 3rd Edition by Randy Skretvedt (book - IDs her in Double Whoopee) (baptism record) (1920 Census) (1930 Census) (1933 marriage) (1938 marriage) (1965 marriage) (death certificate) (Agrasánchez Film Archive) (Cinelandia, Nov 1929) (Hollywood Filmograph, 14 Jun 1930) (Variety, 09 Jul 1930) (Calexico Chronicle, 10 Nov 1930) (Cinelandia, Jan 1931) (Mensajero Paramount, Jan 1931) (Waterloo Daily Courier, 12 Jan 1931) (Racine Journal-News, 12 Jan 1931) (Madera Daily Tribune and Madera Mercury, 12 Oct 1936) (Cinelandia, Jan 1937) (Cinelandia, Aug 1937) (Variety, 27 Dec 1944) (parents' marriage, 1903) (parents' marriage, 1903) (father's birth registration) (father's baptism) (father's baptism) (father's World War I draft reg. card) (father's death) (mother's birth registration) (mother's death certificate)
Richard Finegan (portrait)
James L. Neibaur (stills)
Jesse Brisson (extensive research and bio notes; identification in Great Gobs!)
Her identification in Double Whoopee is my own opinion

This page was last updated on: 15 October 2022