Actress Norma Pons dies at 71
Former starlet turned actress Norma Pons died yesterday in her home, after allegedly suffering a stroke. The 71-year-old artist was in the best moment of her life: she was starring in Federico García Lorca’s La casa de Bernarda Alba (The House of Bernarda Alba) for a second consecutive year and was rehearsing to participate in the local version of Dancing with the Stars on Showmatch. She was found dead by her sister Mimí Pons.
Pons was at the peak of her career. She was recognized by the public and the critics and was feeling great. This summer she received the top prize at the Estrella de Mar Awards — which are given to shows staged in the Mar del Plata seaside resort. She won the Best Drama Actress and the Golden Award.
On Monday night she participated in a sketch during Tinelli’s comeback with Showmatch, playing his aunt Mirta. She seemed thrilled and lively. This can clearly be perceived in the Tweet she wrote some hours before her death: “The show returned to Channel 13 last night and you saw me there!!! Now it’s showtime!!! Surprises!!! Kisses.”
In her latest interviews, Pons expressed her happiness over the success of Bernarda Alba and was pleased with director José María Muscari who entrusted her with playing the leading role in a classic drama. She also said that when choosing the cast, some actresses refused to act in the play because she was starring in it.
Spanish actor Alain Kortázar took Pons’ place for some weeks during the summer season of Bernarda Alba because she — an incorrigible smoker — had suffered an episode of respiratory failure and was hospitalized.
Born in Rosario on August 18, 1943, Pons arrived in Buenos Aires in the early 1960s with her sister Mimí. They formed an infallible duo on the revue scene of the 60s and 70s in BA, standing out for their amazing beauty and elegance in the Maipo theatre. They made their début with comedian José Marrone and appeared in local films such as Mannequin... alta tension, El bulín and La guerra de los sostenes. Other big screen credits include Fin de semana, La mujer invisible, Sotto voce and El pozo. Pons was interested in acting and she went on studying with Agustín Alezzo and Rodolfo Graciano.
Her television debut was in Ella contra mí, a soap opera starring Carolina Papaleo and Gustavo Garzón, in 1988. Later, she joined Antonio Gasalla in the television programmes El mundo de Gasalla, Gasalla 91, El palacio de la risa and Gasalla en libertad, where she played unforgettable characters, such as the “public employee.”
Other television appearances include Franco Buenaventura, el profe, Aquí no hay quien viva, El hombre de tu vida and Maltratadas. Recently, she appeared in an episode of the series La celebración.
Her list of theatre perfomances includes 8 mujeres, Las chicas del calendario and Doña Flor y sus dos maridos. Pons was recognized with many awards, chief among which the ACE, Martín Fierro and the Cóndor de Plata.
The local showbiz world was moved by the sudden news of Pons’ death. Many showbiz personalities took to Twitter to express their sorrow. Marcelo Tinelli tweeted: “A mallet blow, I can’t believe it. Dear Norma, you were so happy.”
Choreographer and producer Ricky Pashkus said: “And suddenly everything changes... A death and everything changes. Nothing means the same.” Actress and singer María Rosa Fugazot tweeted: “Your audience and colleagues love you!! Forever, my friend!!”
Florencia Torrente, a cast member of Bernarda Alba wrote: “It hurts a lot. We will love you forever!”
Bernarda Alba producer Javier Faroni said that Pons has awaited all her life to be recognized. “It is a pity that she cannot go on enjoying this moment of her career,” he added.@lucianaek