Marbella Celebrities - 50's and 60's

Marbella celebrities of the 1950s and 1960s

by Chris Chaplow and Fiona Flores Watson

Glossary of famous people connected to Marbella in the 1950s and early 1960s

Marbella was part of the route frequented by the intellectual jetset in the 1950s and 60s, when the town first started to attract celebrities. The other stopping points on this route were Malaga, Torremolinos, Gibraltar, and Tangiers.

These were the avant-garde characters who made up the bohemian-aristocratic social circle of Marbella, of who one of the main characters was French writer and artist Jean Cocteau. There was a strong gay leaning; many were from aristocratic families, and of right-wing political beliefs - an unusual combination.

Ana von Bismarck (Ann-Mari Tengbom) (1907-1999) Swedish by birth, married to German aristocrat Prince Otto von Bismarck. Mother of Countess Gunilla von Bismarck, Marbella socialite

Monseñor Rodrigo Bocanegra (1908-1973) Spanish priest, ordained in Gibraltar in 1933 and settled in Marbella in 1949 as the town's parish priest. "Mayor behind the mayor", confessor to Franco's wife, he became the mediator between Marbella's business interests, social projects, and the authorities. Account by Christopher Clover

Pepe Carleton (1924-2012) Interior designer. Grew up in Tangiers; his father was a diplomat who went to Club Americana. Gay pre-Beat Generation magazine Zero was an important source of inspiration for artistic ideas. He was introduced to Marbella by Ana de Pombo. Friend of Cocteau and owned most of the material now in Sala Cocteau. He died in 2012 - the last of the original Marbella jet-set.

Alberto Closas (1921-1994) Prolific Catalan film actor who appeared in Argentinian films in the 1940s and 1950s and in Spanish cinema after 1955.

Coca family - controversial Spanish banking family, whose head (until his suicide in 1986) was Ignacio Coca. They developed Los Monteros hotel and estate in 1962.

Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) French writer, artist and film-maker. Visited Marbella in April, May, August and September 1961.

Luis Escobar (1908-1991) Don Luis Escobar y Kirkpatrick, 7th Marquess of Marismas del Guadalquivir - Spanish actor, theatre director and playwright.

Manual Fraga (1922-2012) Minister for Information and Tourism under Franco, 1962-1969, launched "Spain is Different" slogan. Later senior politician in the Popular Party; president of the Galician Junta.

Jean Marais (1913-1998) French star of swashbuckling films; the first openly homosexual celebrity in Europe, he was Jean Cocteau's lover. He acted in a number of Cocteau films, most famously Beauty and the Beast (1945). Later he became a painter and sculptor in Vallauris, France, where he had a gallery.

Mingote (1919-2012) Don Antonio Mingote Barrachina, 1st Marquess of Daroca - Spanish cartoonist, writer, and journalist. He drew a daily cartoon in ABC from 1953 until his death.

Conchita Montes (1914-1994) Spanish aristocratic actress and intellectual, companion of Edgar Neville.

Paul Morand (1888-1976) - French right-wing diplomat and writer.

Edgar Neville Romrée (1899 -1967) Count of Berlanga de Duero, Anglo-Spanish playwright and film director, member of Generation '27, and friend of Charlie Chaplin, Lorca and de Falla. Lived in Los Angeles in the '30s and after the Civil War took up residence in Marbella, buying Casa Malibu from Ricardo Sorriano with companion Conchita Montes, who after his death sold it to Sean Connery.

Ana de Pombo (Ana Caller de Donosteve) (1900-1985) Spanish fashion designer who worked with Coco Chanel in Paris; she moved to Marbella in 1957 and collaborated with Pepe Carleton on a salon de té called El Camello de Oro. Ana opened fashion and interiors boutique La Maroma in 1961, where Cocteau painted four panels.

Antonio El Bailarin, Antonio Ruiz Soler, internationally renowned flamenco dancer and choreographer who owned Villa Martinete, scene of many notorious parties.

Ricardo Soriano, (1883-1973) Marqués de Ivanrey. In 1947 he opened La Venta y Albergues del Rodeo, Marbella's first hotel. He then began to sell plots of the surrounding land on condition that the houses built were no more than two storeys and in the traditional Andaluz style.