Biographical information about Bella Cortez

Bella Cortez in Vulcan Son of Jupiter
Bella Cortez in Vulcan Son of Jupiter

According to the IMDB, she was born in 1944 in Oriente, Cuba, and is sometimes also known as Bella Cortese. If this is correct, it means she was just 17 when she appeared in her first film, Vulcan Son of Jupiter.  She wasn’t the only Cuban to become a star in Italian films of the sixties: Chelo Alonso, a rather more exotic beauty (Cortez does at time resemble a saucy chipmunk), appeared in similar roles at around the same time.

Beyond that, though… nada. Ms Cortez isn’t mentioned in the Gremese book Le straniere del nostro cinema, which covers a lot of the foreign actresses who worked in Italy, and none of the other print books I have mention her in any detail. It looks like some digging is in order…

About Matt Blake 881 Articles
The WildEye is a blog dedicated to the wild world of Italian cinema (and, ok, sometimes I digress into discussing films from other countries as well). Peplums, comedies, dramas, spaghetti westerns... they're all covered here.


  1. I’ve done a lot of digging on this one.
    As a big-time-fan of the Peplum/Sword & Sandal Film Era, Vulcan is one of my personal favorites.
    Information on Bella Cortez seems scant indeed.
    She made another fine appearance in, Giant of Metropolis.

  2. Beautiful and sultry Bella was also in Taur the Mighty, Ali Baba and the Seven Saracens and Ali Baba and the Sacred Crown and the incredible The Seven Revenges with Ed Fury.

  3. Here’s the article (don’t blame me for the high quality reportage, this is a direct copy):

    She was a movie star famous for her beauty and her talent. Today you can buy, rent even watch her movies on-line and for all that she gets, nothing. Legal or illegal its why she called Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

    WSVN — Her name is Alicia Paneque but in the 1960s the world knew her as the beautiful young woman named Bella Cortez.

    Alicia Paneque: “It’s an accomplishment. I did something that not everybody can do.”

    An Italian producer saw Blla in Cuba and asked her to come to Europe to be in a movie. She said yes and became a stunning movie star.

    Alicia Paneque: “Long black hair, skinny. Nice hourglass body with no plastic surgery. Nice booby.”

    She made 11 hit movies such as “Tartar” with Orson Welles and “FBI Istanbul.” She did car ads graced the cover of magazines from Italy to Yugoslavia to Switzerland.

    Alicia Paneque: “Oh yes, it was nice because its something new and you travel and you meet people.”

    Then after the 11th movie she stopped.

    Alicia Paneque: “I got married and my husband said ‘Lets have some family.'”

    Alicia has her family, has grown older and wiser but she still has her pictures, her articles, and her memories.

    Alicia Paneque: “Fills with pride and gets emotional talking about seeing herself in movies banging microphone.Well its an era in my youth.”

    What Alicia doesnt have is money and what bothers her is going on the internet seeing her movies for sale on Amazon, for rent on Netflix and her pictures all over the place.

    Alicia Paneque: “I dont get any money of anything. No percentage.”

    “Somebody is making money off you?”

    Alicia Paneque: “Exactly, and I dont think its right. Not fair.”

    When she made the giant of metropolis in 1961, when she did the sword dance that today draws viewers to Youtube. Actors and actresses were paid a lump sum. Her contract never mentioned fees from DVD rentals or the internet.

    Alicia Paneque: “It was not invented and nobody think about it. I should becasue they are using my image in the internet, and my name and I think I should because at that time there was no internet.”

    Today, Alicia’s contracts from her movies are gone, but her desire to share in the money from her days as a star burns bright.

    Well Howard, in the 1960’s no-one knew billions would be made off movie rentals in the 21st century. Alicia’s question, can she get a share of that.

    Howard Finkelstein: “According to Alicia, her contracts only gave her a flat fee for making the movies. If there was a clause slipped in that would give her money for future profits. She might have a chance to collect on DVDs and internet sales, but without the contracts, its almost impossible to collect.”

    And without the contracts there was little I could do. But Howard says other can learn from this

    Howard Finkelstein: “If you are in a business where no-one can predict where future profits may come from, find an expert that can put language in the contract that will protect you, and they will keep a copy of that contract forever.”

    Not good news for Alicias, she has wonderful memories, but momentos dont pay bills.

    Alicia Paneque: “Social Security is not enough money. I am living here in my daughters house. I dont even have a house thats why I called Help me Howard. I need some help.”

    Patrick Fraser: “Alicia is not the first actor or actress to get left out by changes in technology. For example, the crew of “Gilligans Island” never got a dime for the websites, DVDs and video games that popped decades after the show aired. The list of stars who never got a dime is a long one.

    Troubles left you feeling like your in a horror film? Wanna be cast in a different role? Contact us, we wont pay you but hopefull our legal help may pay off for you.

    Read more:

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