Maria-Rosa Rodriguez

German postcard by Krüger, nr. 902/334. Photo: Art Messick.

Exotic starlet Maria-Rosa Rodriguez was the sexy leading lady of a dozen French and Italian films of the 1960’s and early 1970’s. Her main claim to fame was the Louis de Funès comedy Le grand restaurant.

There is not much biographical information to be found about Maria-Rosa Rodriguez on the internet. A source suggests she was a Spanish actress, but possibly she is born in Ecuador. In 1960 a Maria-Rosa Rodriguez was crowned Miss Ecuador Mundo 1960. However, there is a bit more information about her film career. IMDB writes that during her film career she was also credited as Maria Rosa Rodrigues, Rosa-Maria Rodrigues, Rosa Rodriguez and Toty Rodriguez. Her first film appearance was an uncredited part as ‘Palma Diamantino’ in the French comedy Pouic-Pouic (1963, Jean Girault) starring Louis de Funès. Soon followed more film parts as a stripper in the kinky cannibal comedy Aimez-vous les femmes?/Do You Like Women? (1964, Jean Léon),co-written by Roman Polanski, and the sexploitation drama L'amour à la chaine/Tight Skirts, Loose Pleasures (1964, Claude de Givray). She appeared again as eye-candy in the spy film Coplan FX 18/FX-18 Superspy (1965, Riccardo Freda), the comedy Les gorilles/The Gorillas (1964, Jean Girault) and the crime comedy La grande frousse/The Big Scare (1964, Jean-Pierre Mocky) starring Bourvil. Other French films of the mid-1960’s in which she appeared were Les enquiquineurs/The pests (1965, Roland Quignon), the comedy anthology Les bons vivants/How to Keep the Red Lamp Burning (1965, Gilles Grangier, Georges Lautner) and the melodrama Le chant du monde/Song of the World (1965, Marcel Camus) starring Hardy Krüger.

1966 must have been a good year for Maria-Rosa Rodriguez. She was the leading lady opposite the immensely popular Louis de Funès in the hit comedy Le grand restaurant/The Big Restaurant (1966, Jacques Besnard). The choleric and energetic De Funès is the chef of Septim's, a very exclusive Paris restaurant. Problems occur when the president of an unnamed country gets kidnapped while having a dinner at Septim's. With police, gangsters and Maria-Rosa Rodriquez behind his back the always gesticularing De Funès tries to find the missing head of state by himself. The highlight of the film is a fabulous scene where a DS Citroen falls into a river and continues its ride as a boat. Maria-Rosa Rodriguez soon followed this up with a role in the fun filled caper Estouffade à la Caraïbe/The Gold Robbers (1967, Jacques Besnard) costarring with swimming champion Frederick Stafford, Jean Seberg and Serge Gainsbourg. She also appeared on tv in Amalia Escudero an episode of Au théâtre ce soir (1966). More tv roles followed in series like Les chevaliers du ciel/The Aeronauts (1967) – about the adventures of the French comic book heroes Tanguy and Laverdure - and Fortune (1969, Henri Colpi). In the early 1970’s she moved to Italy where she appeared in the ‘giallo’ thriller Il coltello di ghiaccio/Knife of Ice (1972, Umberto Lenzi) starring Carroll Baker. Her last film was a Spanish horror production La novia ensangrentada/Blood Castle (1972, Vincente Aranda).

Most of Maria-Rosa Rodriguez’s biographies on the net stop here, but she kept on working as an actress. Under the name of Toty Rodriguez she is now a well known stage actress in Ecuador. In 1989 she appeared in another film, the East-German production Die Besteigung des Chimborazo/The Ascent of the Chimborazo (1989, Rainer Simon) filmed on location in Germany, France, Spain and Ecuador. In this adventure film she appeared briefly as a countess. More recently she was seen in a leading part in the Ecuadorian film Un titán en el ring/A Titan in the Ring (2002, Viviana Cordero). According to Rotten Tomatoes it’s an inspiring drama about the world of masked wrestling, set in a small community in the Andean Mountains.

Sources: IMDb, All Movie Guide, Rotten Tomatoes and Wikipedia.

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Anonymous said...

I don't contest the information about where she was from but I can assure you that after watching the film (le grand restaurant) and hearing this actress speaking in Spanish she sounds completely Argentinian, not Ecuadorian

Anonymous said...
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