Family & Companions
Maria Conchita Alonso began her performing career after competing in and winning beauty-pageants (Miss Teenager of the World 1971, Miss Venezuela 1975). The Cuban-born, Venezuelan-raised dark-haired beauty subsequently became one of South America's best-selling recording artists before becoming established as one of Hollywood's leading Hispanic actresses with her role in "Moscow on the Hudson" (1984), opposite Robin Williams. For a time in the late 1980s, she was in demand and starred alongside many of the leading male actors of the day. Alonso was nicely teamed romantically with Michael Keaton in the genial comedy "Touch and Go" (1986) and proved an effective comic foil for Arnold Schwarzenegger in the futuristic "The Running Man" (1987) but was underused as Sean Penn's doomed lover in "Colors" (1988). The actress rounded out the decade with an ill-fated attempt at sitcom stardom in NBC's "One of the Boys" (1989).
As the 90s dawned, Alonso returned to the big screen in the actioner "Predator 2" (1990) and with Antonio Banderas lent the only authentic touches to the screen version of Isabelle Allende's novel "The House of the Spirits" (1993). The actress was effectively used twice by director Robert M Young, playing Edward James Olmos' sultry sister in "Roosters" (lensed in 1993 but released in 1995) and as Olmos' cheating wife in the underrated "Caught" (1995). That same year. Alonso earned respectable reviews in her Broadway musical debut succeeding Chita Rivera and Vanessa Williams in the title role of the award-winning "Kiss of the Spider Woman."
In 1996, Alonso was cast as an unflappable Cuban-born bus driver taken hostage with a group of children in the ABC fact-based movie "Sudden Terror: The Hijacking of School Bus #17." She returned to her Latin roots to host a Spanish-language talk show and then played a TV talk show host in the middling "Shout Out/El Grito en el Cielo" (1998). In 2000, Alonso undertook the role of a mother dying of a brain tumor in "Knockout" before offering a delightfully comic supporting turn as the lesbian lover of a closeted Hollywood star in "Best Actress" (E! Entertainment Television). She also earned good notices stepping into Katy Jurado's shoes playing the mistress of a lawman in the TNT remake of "High Noon" (also 2000).
Cast (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Casting (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Family fled Cuba when Fidel Castro came to power; relocated to Venezuela when she was five (date approximate)
Named Miss Teenager of the World
Crowned Miss Venezuela
US film acting debut in "Moscow on the Hudson"; also sang
TV-movie debut, "Blood Ties" (Showtime)
Co-starred in the futuristic thriller "The Running Man"
Acted opposite Sean Penn and Robert Duvall in "Colors"
Starred in the NBC sitcom "One of the Boys"
Played the female lead in "Predator 2"
Starred opposite Edward James Olmos in "Roosters", directed by Robert M Young; film released theatrically in 1995
Was one of the few actors of South American heritage cast in "The House of the Spirits", an adaptation of Chilean author Isabelle Allende's novel, starring Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irons, Glenn Close and Winona Ryder
Made Broadway debut in title role of "Kiss of the Spiderwoman"; succeeded Vanessa Williams in the part
Reteamed with Olmos and director Young for "Caught"
Co-starred in the ABC miniseries "Texas"
Starred as a Cuban immigrant bus driver taken hostage in the ABC fact-based TV-movie "Sudden Terror: The Hijacking of School Bus # 17"
Co-starred in "Volaverunt", a historical drama directed by Bigas Luna speculating on why there are two versions of the Spanish artist Goya's painting "Volaverunt"
Hosted Spanish-language talk show for Telemundo
Played a TV talk show host in the Spanish-language feature "Shout Out/El Grito en el Cielo"
Cast as a dying woman in "Knockout"
Played the US Vice President in the thriller "Chain of Command" (aired on HBO in lieu of a theatrical release)
Had featured role as the sheriff's mistress in the TNT remake of "High Noon"
Portrayed the lesbian lover of a closeted performer in the E! Entertainment Television original comedy "Best Actress"
Cast on ABC's "Desperate Housewives," as Gabrielle's mother, Lucia
Cast opposite Hilary and Haylie Duff in the comedy "Material Girls"