Eva Peron: A Long Journey in Death

The official state portrait of Eva Peron in 1947. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)
The official state portrait of Eva Peron in 1947. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

On this date in 1945 Juan Peron, the future president of Argentina, married Eva Peron.

Here are eight things you may not have known about the woman known as “Evita.”

  • She was the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy rancher. Her father abandoned her when she was a year old. She would later alter her birth records to indicate that her parents had been married at the time of her birth.
  • She was a B-movie and radio actress before meeting Juan Peron. After moving to Buenos Aires, she worked with a theatre company and as a model. In 1942, the was hired for a radio drama, called “Muy Bien,” followed by a historical program called “Great Women of History.” She soon became one of the highest-paid radio actresses in the country.
  • She met Juan Peron at a fundraiser for earthquake victims. Peron, who was a colonel in the Argentine army, and secretary of labor at the time, organized, what was called an “artistic festival” to benefit the victims of a 1944 earthquake in San Juan, Argentina, that killed about 10,000 people. Soon after, she became romantically involved with the widowed Peron.
  • Juan Peron was elected president of Argentina in 1946. Eva Peron used her weekly radio show to urge the poor to support her husband’s campaign. Peron won the election in a landslide.
  • In 1951, after flirting with a bid to run for vice president, Eva Peron was diagnosed with cervical cancer, although, her husband and her doctor didn’t inform her of the diagnosis. She underwent a hysterectomy, but the cancer had already spread. She also was the first Argentine to undergo chemotherapy. She died on July 26, 1952.
  • As many as 3 million people lined the streets of Buenos Aires for Eva Peron’s funeral procession. Juan Peron ordered his wife’s body embalmed in preparation for its placement on display in massive memorial monument. Her corpse was on display in a government building for almost two years before Juan Peron was overthrown in a military coup.
  • The group that overthrew Peron, made it illegal to speak the names of Juan and Eva Peron. Juan Peron fled the country without securing Eva’s body. The corpse was missing for more than 16 years. In 1971, it was revealed that the military had the body moved to Italy where it was buried under a false name. In 1971, Juan Peron brought Eva’s body to Spain, where he was in exile. For two years, Peron and his third wife kept Eva’s body in their dining room.
  • Eva Peron’s body was returned to Argentina in 1973, when Juan Peron returned to become president for a third time. Her body is now buried in a secured tomb in Buenos Aires.

Our question: Who wrote the musical “Evita”?


Today is Independence Day in Azerbaijan, Persons Day in Canada, and Alaska Day in Alaska.

It’s unofficially National Chocolate Cupcake Day, National No Beard Day, and National Pharmacy Technician Day.

It’s the birthday of musician Chuck Berry, who is 90, author Terry McMillan, who is 65; and actor Jean-Claude Van Damme, who is 56.

Because our topic happened before 1960, we’ll spin the wheel to pick a year at random.

This week in 1981, the top song in the U.S. was “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” by Christopher Cross.

The No. 1 movie was “Chariots of Fire,” while the novel “The Hotel New Hampshire” by John Irving topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.

Weekly question

Which performers originated the role of Eva Peron in “Evita” in London and on Broadway?



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