Torremolinos - Famous faces in the 1970's


by Tony Bryant


However, not all of the literary figures were at first welcomed in the town: the local residents became somewhat alarmed at the arrival of an infamous American named Alvin Karpis, who set up home there during the 1970's.

Alvin Francis Karpis was a Depression-Era gangster turned author who was part of the Baker-Karpis gang, one of the most notorious criminal gangs of the 1930s; best known for the myth that it was run by the gun totting Ma Baker.

Karpis moved to Torremolinos in 1973, shortly after being released from Alcatraz, where he had served a twenty-six year prison sentence for kidnapping, armed robbery and murder. He published his first book, Public Enemy Number One in 1971 and wrote his second, The Alvin Karpis Story, whilst living in Torremolinos between 1973 and 1979. His death, in 1979, was originally ruled as suicide, but was later changed to death from natural causes, but there are those who believe foul play may have been involved.


The legendary Dutch pianist Pia Beck owned the famous Blue Note Bar, which was situated in the Pasaje Begoña (now Pasaje Gil Vicente).

This popular basement club's centrepiece was two grand pianos, one of which became a bar top: Pia would often entertain her clients on the other. She also had a resident quartet made up of musicians she brought over from Holland; although the line-up would change constantly, for it is said that the Pia rarely paid her musicians. 

Pia Beck, one of the first artists of the time to admit her homosexuality, moved to Churriana, just outside of Torremolinos, with her life partner in1965. She died of a heart attack in 2009. Jazz pianist, Oscar Peterson, described her as "The greatest jazz pianist in the world."

Continued....... Famous Faces of Torremolinos in the 1980's


Famous Faces in the 19th and 20th Century

The Picasso family and many more... More >

Famous Faces in the 1950's

Frank Sinatra and Anthony Quin...
More >

Famous Faces in the 1960's

John Lennon, Grahame Green and many more... More >

Famous Faces in the 1970's

Alvin Karpis and Pia Beck...
More >

Famous Faces in the 1980's

Baynard Osborne, Dani La Rue and many more... More >





Search hotel in Torremolinos

Show only available hotels