On June 18, 1963, Pedro Armendariz, one of the pillars of Cinema of the Mexican Golden Age, a gun was placed Colt Magnum calibre 357 in the chest, at the level of the heart and fired. The actor was 51 years old and had a terminal cancer diagnosis that augured, in the most positive scenario, one more year of life.
However, seven years ago, Armendariz would have filmed the movie that would be his death sentence, since the location of the recording could be closely related to your diagnosis and the death of much of the cast of the film.
The suicide of the protagonist of films such as Wild flower, Different sunrise, The Pearl Y In love It was given four months before the premiere of his last film, the second installment of the James Bond series, titled: From Russia with love.
During filming, Armendariz began to have severe pain in his hip, causing him to limp. On several occasions he even had to lean on something to stay upright and continue playing “Karim Bey”, the Turkish spy who would help the Agent 007 on your new mission.
The diagnosis was lymphatic gland cancer that was metastasizing to the esophagus and lungs. The final scenes I had to shoot next to Sean Connery They had to be made by the director of the film himself, who also acted as his double.
This is how, interned at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, The actor took advantage of the fact that his wife, Carmen Bohr, left the room to eat something to end his suffering.
The news, in addition to generating great controversy in the world, gave rise to different theories that explained the origin of the evil that destroyed the life of one of the actors who opened the door to international success in Mexico.
Since the impulsiveness of the actor had negatively affected his body, to one of the most controversial theories about his disease: the radioactivity of the Utah desert.
In 1956, Pedro began to record the first films with a Mexican cast outside the country. On that occasion, he was called to participate in the American film The Conqueror of Mongolia.
His performance alongside John Wayne and Susan Hayward marked his life forever, not only because the film was a resounding failure that ended up classifying it as one of the worst films in the history of cinema, but because its filming involved the exposure of the protagonist of The malquerida to a high degree of radiation.
Due to the nature of the story, the cast shot in locations close to St. George in the Utah desert, very close to Yucca Flat, where the United States government had been conducting nuclear weapons tests.
The production knew about the state of the recording locations, but they did not take precautions because there was very little information on the effects of radiation on the human body at that moment.
By 1981, of the 220 people who participated in the film, 91 of them already had a diagnosis of some type of cancer, while 46 had already died for the same reason. In all, 150 people died from the disease.
In addition to Armendariz, among the people who died of cancer related to the filming of this film are director Dick Powell, actors Agnes Moorehead, Susan Hayward and John Hoyt, as well as composer Victor Young and John Wayne himself.
Even if there is no way to verify that the development of cancer in so many people is directly related to having been in a place with radioactive contamination, This explanation is one of the most accepted about the terrible disease that took Armendariz’s life.
Pedro Armendáriz was born in Mexico City and participated in more than 100 films that forever marked the history of cinema in Mexico. He acted alongside great figures of the time, such as María Félix and Dolores del Río, in addition to working under the direction of Emilio “El Indio” Fernández and Gabriel Figueroa.