Pedro Torres and Angélica Cotón were very young when they met and later got married. As a result of this marriage they had their only daughter: Beatriz Mariana Torres. The beautiful baby was born on March 26, 1930 in Avellaneda, which at that time was the manufacturing heart of the first area of the Buenos Aires suburbs. She weighed five kilos and would be the darling of that father who overprotected her in the absence of a mother who died too soon, when “Betty” was a month away from celebrating her fifteenth birthday.
Imperio Argentina and Carlos Gardel were influences for that girl who enjoyed singing from tango to Spanish repertoire. On one occasion, a street vendor of haberdashery items sat listening to her sing on her sidewalk, a hobby that little Betty used to practice frequently. Such was the man's admiration that, at the end of the informal concert, he gave her some items from her stock. That would be the artist's first cachet.
Her art was pure, it flowed from her naturally. "At eight years old, she told my grandparents: 'I know why I came into the world, to sing,'" declared one of her children, Marcelo Torres. A Radio Splendid contest ended up defining her future: she seduced the jury with the songs of Imperio Argentina. That was the seed of everything that was to come. El Tronío, that legendary flamenco colmao of Buenos Aires, located at 561 Corrientes Street in the San Nicolás neighborhood, was one of the first transcendent stages that he set foot on, when he had already excelled at school events, his studies at the Dance Academies Gaeta and her incipient training as a singer who surprised at radio auditions.
On Friday, May 8, 1942 she debuted on a theater stage. For this great occasion, she called on her entire family to suggest a stage name that would accompany her father's surname. She was looking to be baptized with an alias that would look glamorous and attract the marquees. This is how her name “Lolita” was born, which would consecrate her. That debut took place in “Maravillas de España”, a variety show at the great Teatro Avenida on the very Spanish Buenos Aires Avenida De Mayo 1222, in the Monserrat neighborhood.
Her first album contained classics like "Te lo juro yo" and "El gitano Jesús." A little later, in 1944, she debuted in film, the medium in which she would become the great star of family entertainment. The film “The Dance of Fortune” was the first in a long series that included successful titles such as “The Little Girl's Mucamo,” “The Age of Love,” “Poorer Than a Laucha,” “The Best in School.” , “The age of love” and “Young, widowed and rancher”.
That family cinema was just the right fit for Lolita Torres, who had to trick her father in order to give her her first fictional kiss. It was 1950 when “Rhythm, Salt and Pepper” was filmed, and Lolita's leading man was the established actor Ricardo Passano. The book stated that, in a scene, the characters had to kiss each other on the mouth. Since Don Pedro Torres did not accept such a thing, Enrique Carreras distracted him by inviting him to have a vermouth. At that moment, with the filming gallery clear of the star's father's eyes, the scene could be filmed.
Lolita was not only a great singer, but she knew how to compose those creatures that the cinema asked of her. Decades later, she was summoned to appear on television that included musical galas. Although to a lesser extent, she was also required as an actress in cycles such as that remembered comedy “Dale Loly”; Her daughter Mariana recognizes that she "showed that she was an actress who could do it very well."
Lolita Torres fell in love with two men and she had children with both of them. Her first love was called Santiago Rodolfo Burastero. They were married in a parish in the Belgrano neighborhood on September 19, 1957, two months after having entered into a marriage in the Civil Registry. In the period between both ceremonies, the singer had to complete an already planned tour in Montevideo. The marriage had Santiago, who today is a doctor and lover of tango.
References and Photographs:
Mascareño, Pablo: “Lolita Torres: la mujer que cumplió su mayor sueño, enamoró a Rusia y viajó con su voz al espacio exterior”, La Nación, 14 de septiembre de 2020. https://www.lanacion.com.ar/espectaculos/personajes/lolita-torres-mujer-cumplio-su-mayor-sueno-nid2445347/
That happy couple had a tragic end on a trip to Mar del Plata, fulfilling an invitation so that Lolita could participate as one of the stars of the International Film Festival. It was Saturday, March 21, 1959, when, on a poorly marked Route 2, the car carrying Lolita and her husband crossed a very steep slope, a product of the paving works that were being carried out. The impact caused the vehicle to bite the shoulder and lurch a lot. A week later, Burastero died and Lolita was plunged into one of the strongest pains of her life, after the death of her mother.
One of the people who went to the Mar del Plata sanatorium where the couple was hospitalized was Julio César Lole Caccia, a friend of Burastero and who would later be the second husband of the actress and the father of her four other children.
On December 27, 1960, Lolita and Lole were married civilly and in church. Until then they denied the romance to the press. Some objected to this link because it was a friend of Burastero and because of the short time that had passed since his death. However, Lole, a jeweler by profession, fell in love with Lolita and took care of her like a father to Santiago. Over the years, Angélica, Mariana, Marcelo and Diego arrived. With the formation of a large family, Lolita repaired that loneliness of having been her only child and having lost her mother at such a young age.
Lolita Torres' career had no breaks, however, she knew how to manage her time so as not to miss raising her children. That 9th floor of 1509 Santa Fe Avenue in Barrio Norte was the refuge of her family clan. Not only the musicians who accompanied the singer passed through that large balcony space, but also figures like Ariel Ramírez, with whom she was united by a great friendship and their shared work. "Zamba de tú" or "Conquistemos el sol" were some of the songs they played together, based on that aesthetic symbiosis that the singer and the notable pianist built. She and Charly García recreated a beautiful version of "Cheap Philosophy and Rubber Shoes.
As she matured, Lolita sought to approach unused genres and she dazzled with a mature voice and the specific weight of a repertoire crossed by profound ideas.
“Around 1954, on the occasion of the Mar del Plata International Film Festival, a Russian commission arrived in our country with the intention of watching Argentine films and selecting some to exhibit in the countries of the then U.S.S.R. (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). The chosen ones were “The Waters Come Down Turbias”, directed by Hugo del Carril, which interested them for its deep social content, and “The Age of Love”, which brought together three of the characteristics sought by visitors: no violence, no sex and a lot of music," explains his biographer, Gallina, about the kick-off of the romance that the Russian people established with Lolita.
That became a social phenomenon. Torres frequently visited the country where she was feted with all the honors. "Raúl Alfonsín, Carlos Menem and Néstor Kirchner wanted to meet her when they returned from her trips to Russia; they couldn't understand the love they had for her there. She had fan clubs and they even declared mourning when she died," recalls Mariana Torres. Yuri Gagarin, the first Russian astronaut, was an admirer of Lolita to the point of taking her music to space: "He wrote to Lolita asking for an autographed photo and expressing that her voice was the first music that reached space, since he had taken it in his ear and in his heart,'" describes Gallina about that link between heaven and earth that only Lolita and an astronaut could achieve.
After the success of “The Age of Love,” the Russian people spread her fanaticism to Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Albania. But Lolita, who was grateful for all that love, never boasted of this phenomenon never before awakened in such distant countries.
On May 19, 1992, he celebrated his fifty years as an artist by offering a megaconcert at the Luna Park stadium, where he shared the stage with figures such as Charly García, León Gieco, Jaime Torres, Mercedes Sosa, Antonio Tarragó Ros, Víctor Heredia, Ariel Ramírez, Patricia Sosa, Luis Landriscina, Oscar Cardozo Ocampo, Andrés Percivale and Antonio Agri.
On September 14, 2002, Lolita Torres died in the room of the Spanish Hospital where she had been hospitalized for three weeks. She was 72 years old. That cardiorespiratory arrest put an end to a battered body that had been battling rheumatoid arthritis, declared when she was 63 years old, which prevented her from leading a normal life and which had kept her away from the stage. A month before her death, she had been declared an illustrious Citizen of the City of Buenos Aires.
She left a great legacy throughout the world, for her great voice, and for having been a great person, deep, sincere, with good feelings, as her son Diego Torres defined her.