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Carmen Sevilla Dies: Spanish Film Star Who Played Mary Magdalene In ‘King Of Kings’ Was 92

Carmen Sevilla, the Spanish-born actor who starred in the Oscar-nominated 1958 film Vengeance and played Mary Magdalene in Nicholas Ray’s 1961 Biblical epic King of Kings, died Tuesday of Alzheimer’s disease and pneumonia at a hospital in Madrid. She was 92.

Her death was reported by her son to the Europa Press new agency.

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Born in Seville, Spain, Sevilla launched her show business career as a dancer in the 1940s but had pivoted to film acting by the end of the decade. During the 1950s she became one of Spanish cinema’s most popular stars.

Her starring role in writer-director Juan Antonio Bardem’s 1958 La Venganza (Vengeance) made her an international star as the film became the first Spanish film nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

Sevilla became more widely known in the U.S. with King of Kings, in which she played a beautiful Mary Magdalene opposite Jeffrey Hunter’s equally attractive Jesus. Eleven years later she would star as Octavia opposite Charlton Heston in Antony and Cleopatra, a poorly received late entry in the epic storytelling genre.

Her film career and popularity continued in Spain throughout the 1970s. Sevilla became a familiar presenter on Spanish television during the 1990s and early 2000s, until her 2009 Alzheimer’s diagnosis curtailed her public appearances. Last year she was reported to be in the disease’s advanced stages.

Detailed information on survivors was not immediately available.

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