Elena Verdugo: From "Frankenstein" to "Marcus Welby, M.D."

Herbie J Pilato

Photo bythe Classic TV Preservation Society

As Nurse Consuela on Marcus Welby, M.D., starring Robert Young, she became one of classic TV's most recognizable faces. But decades before, on the big screen, one of her first acting appearances was in the original Frankenstein movie, starring Boris Karloff. In 2017, she died of natural causes.

A Closer Look

Elena Verdugo was born in 1925. her father, Armando Verdugo Salazar, was born in Arizona to parents from the state of Sonora in Mexico. Her mother Maria Beatriz Kraft Teran was born in the town of Hermosillo in the state of Sonora in Mexico.

As a child star, Verdugo, which is Spanish for "executioner," appeared briefly in movies. She was stereotyped early in her career as an ethnic dancer, playing harem beauties, island girls, senoritas, and Indian maidens.

Universal Pictures, which hired her quite frequently, would not sign her to a contract because she refused its request that she lose weight.

In the 1940s, she sang briefly with Xavier Cugat's famed band and recorded the tune "Tico-Tico." In 1946, she wed prolific film and TV writer Charles R. Marion, and Jack Oakie served as best man. She later gave birth to Richard Marion.

In 1960, Verdugo was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1709 Vine Street in Hollywood, California. In 1969, she was cast as Consequelo on the Marcus Welby, M.D. TV series.

By 1972, she had divorced Charles R. Marion and married psychiatrist Charles Rosey Rosewall.

In her later years, she would make personal appearances, such as when she was a special guest in 20205 at the Western Film Fair in Charlotte, NC.

As her obituary in the New York Times concluded, "Elena Verdugo...portrayed one of the first Latina professionals in a television series in the United States and in doing so was credited with inspiring Hispanic women to strive for greater self-respect."

[Note: Unless otherwise indicated, certain facts and information in this article were resourced from various entertainment news and media outlets including Britannica.com, History.com, HollywoodReporter.com, IMDb.com, Variety.com, and Wikipedia.org.]

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Herbie J Pilato is the author of several books about pop culture including RETRO ACTIVE TELEVISION, THE 12 BEST SECRETS OF CHRISTMAS, MARY: THE MARY TYLER MOORE STORY, TWITCH UPON A STAR, GLAMOUR, GIDGETS AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, DASHING, DARING AND DEBONAIR, and NBC & ME: MY LIFE AS A PAGE IN A BOOK, among others. He's also a TV writer/producer, and has worked for Reelz, Bravo, E!, TLC, and hosted THEN AGAIN WITH HERBIE J PILATO, the hit classic TV talk show (which premiered on Amazon Prime in 2019).

Los Angeles, CA

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