Olga San Juan

Olga San Juan O'Brien (March 16, 1927 – January 3, 2009)[1] was a Nuyorican (a New York-born Puerto Rican) actress, dancer and comedian, mainly active in films during the 1940s.[2]

Olga San Juan
Alan Young.jpg
Olga San Juan with Alan Young
Born(1927-03-16)March 16, 1927
DiedJanuary 3, 2009(2009-01-03) (aged 81)
OccupationActress, dancer, comedian
Years active1943–1960
(m. 1948; div. 1976)
Children3; including Brendan O'Brien

Early yearsEdit

San Juan was born in Brooklyn, New York to Puerto Rican parents.[3] When she was 3 years old, her family moved back to Puerto Rico, then moved back to the US mainland a few years later.[4]


San Juan was dubbed the "Puerto Rican Pepperpot" or "Beauty Siren" for singing and dancing roles alongside Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and many others.[5]

After talent scouts found her at the Copacabana nightclub in New York City,[3] she signed a contract with Paramount Pictures in 1943.[6] In 1951, she starred on Broadway in the Lerner and Loewe musical, Paint Your Wagon.

Personal lifeEdit

San Juan was married to actor Edmond O'Brien. They met at a publicity luncheon for Fox studios, and married in 1948. San Juan retired in the 1950s to raise her children. They had three children: television producer and actors Brendan O'Brien, Maria O'Brien, and Bridget O'Brien, who is married to Barry Adelman, executive producer of the Golden Globe Awards. O'Brien and San Juan were married 28 years, until their divorce in 1976.

San Juan's health began to fail after a stroke in the 1970s, but she lived to enjoy her family for decades to come. She died on January 3, 2009, of kidney failure stemming from a long-term illness, at age 81, at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, in Burbank, California.[5] She was buried at San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, Los Angeles, California.


  • Donaldson Award for her work in Paint Your Wagon.[7]
  • Screen Actors Guild Latino Legacy Award for work throughout her long career and an Oscar nomination for The Countess of Monte Cristo (1948 film).


Year Title Role Notes
1943 Caribbean Romance Linda Short
1944 Rainbow Island Miki
1945 Bombalera Rose Perez 'La Bomba' Short
1945 Out of This World Member, Glamourette Quartet
1945 Duffy's Tavern Gloria
1945 Hollywood Victory Caravan Herself Short
1945 The Little Witch Guadalupe, Nightclub Singer Short
1946 Blue Skies Nita Nova
1946 Cross My Heart Dancer Uncredited
1947 Variety Girl Amber La Vonne
1948 Are You With It? Vivian Reilly
1948 One Touch of Venus Gloria
1948 The Countess of Monte Cristo Jenny Johnsen
1949 The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend Conchita
1954 The Barefoot Contessa Minor Role Uncredited
1960 The 3rd Voice Blonde Prostitute


  1. ^ "Actress, dancer Olga San Juan dies at 81". Nydailynews.com. 2009-01-06. Retrieved 2014-04-13.
  2. ^ "Olga San Juan bio]" (in Spanish). San Juan, Puerto Rico: National Foundation for Popular Culture.
  3. ^ a b Rosado, Luis (September 6, 1943). "Meet the Stars". Texas, Big Spring. Big Spring Daily Herald. p. 3. Retrieved March 13, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
  4. ^ Tamara WartaDance Company Director. "Olga San Juan Biography". Dance.lovetoknow.com. Retrieved 2014-04-13.
  5. ^ a b Actress, dancer Olga San Juan dies at 81, Posted 1/6/2009, USA Today
  6. ^ Hopper, Hedda (April 28, 1943). "Hedda Hopper's Hollywood". Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. Harrisburg Telegraph. p. 9. Retrieved March 13, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
  7. ^ [1] Archived January 9, 2009, at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit