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Chelo Alonso in Morgan il pirata (1960)

Chelo Alonso (born April 10, 1933) is a former Cuban/Mexican actress who became a star in Italian cinema, and ultimately a 1960s cult film heroine and sex symbol in the U.S. She was well known for playing femmes fatales with fiery tempers and sensual dance scenes.


Alonso was born Isabella Garcia in Central Lugareño, Camagüey, Cuba, to a Cuban father and Mexican mother. She initially achieved recognition in Cuba for her dancing ability, becoming a sensation at Cuba's National Theatre in Havana.

Soon after, she emerged as a new exotic dancing talent at the Folies Bergère in Paris. She was billed as the "new Josephine Baker", who had also performed and become famous at the Folies. Alonso was billed as the "Cuban H-Bomb", and mixed Afro-Cuban rhythms from her homeland with "bump and grind".

Alonso was first noticed internationally in the 1959 film, Nel segno di Roma (Sheba and the Gladiator), which starred Anita Ekberg and Georges Marchal. Owing to a particularly erotic dance number, her picture and name became more prominent on the movie's publicity posters than either of the two leads, much to Ekberg's dismay.

Most of Alonso's films were adventure movies in the style of Le fatiche di Ercole (Hercules). Hercules starred Steve Reeves and was a wildly popular new genre in film. It paved the way for movies attempting to emulate it. These films required exotic talent, and Alonso's dark beauty fit the bill; she even starred with Steve Reeves himself in Goliath and the Barbarians (1959) and Morgan il pirata (1960). Goliath and the Barbarians earned Alonso the award of "Italian Cinema's Female Discovery".

Following Desert War in 1962, Alonso left film for a time to turn her attention to television. She did not return until 1966's spaghetti western The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly - her most widely distributed film - ironically playing a small, non-speaking role.

In 1961, Alonso married Aldo Pomilia, a production manager and producer for many of her films. She has one son, Aldino Pomilia.

After the death of her husband in 1986, Alonso moved to the city of Siena in Tuscany, Italy. She retired from film and started a cat-breeding business, as well as a four-star hotel.


Year Title Role Notes
1959 Guardatele ma non toccatele Pepita Garcia
Nel Segno di Roma (Sheba and the Gladiator) Erica
Tunis Top Secret Sherazad / Soraya
Il terrore dei barbari (Goliath and the Barbarians) Landa
La scimitarra del Saraceno (The Pirate and the Slave Girl) Princess Miriam
I Reali di Francia (Attack of the Moors) Suleima
1960 Il terrore della maschera rossa (Terror of the Red Mask) Karima
La strada dei giganti (Road of the Giants) Stella Von Kruger
Le signore Rosaria
La regina dei tartari (The Huns) Tanya, Queen of the Tartars
Morgan il pirata (Morgan, the Pirate) Concepcion
Maciste nella Valle dei Re (Son of Samson) Queen Smedes
Gastone Carmencita
1961 Maciste nella terra dei ciclopi (Atlas Against the Cyclops) Capys
La ragazza sotto il lenzuolo (it) (Girl Under the Sheet) Maria Celeste Cortez d'Aragona
1962 Quattro notti con Alba (Desert War) Alba Petti
1966 Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) Stevens' Wife Uncredited
1968 Corri uomo corri (Run, Man, Run) Dolores
1969 La notte dei serpenti (de) (Night of the Serpent / Nest of Vipers) Dolores (final film role)

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