Her given name was Mona Maria Emita Cap de Vielle. Her mother was a Spanish Basque and her father a French Basque. By the age of nineteen Mona spoke four languages. She was educated in England, France, and Germany.
Maris' ambition to become an actress originated during World War I, when she was a pupil in Luders, France. Together with her classmates she wrote, directed, and presented little playlets to entertain soldiers billeted near the school. After graduation Maris begged to go to England and her mother finally relented. In England she found a woman was given much more freedom than in either Spain or South America. She traveled to England under the indirect chaperonage of an Argentine family.
Her stay was intended to last only six months, but was extended another two years. The Argentine ambassador in Berlin received a letter which led to Maris being introduced to the President of the United Film Association. Soon she journeyed to Germany, where she participated in U.F.A. Productions. She was given a screen test during which the camera was not loaded with film. A prominent director noticed Maris and offered the youth a five-year contract. She counseled with her grandmother, who reluctantly allowed her to accept.
Joe Schenck, president of United Artists, granted her the prospect of a Hollywood career. At the time she had completed just four films in Germany. Known in her native land as the Pride of the Pampas, she arrived at United Artists' studio on December 31, 1928. She was twenty at the time. Maris' Hollywood film career began with the 1925 movie The Apache. It continued until the 1980s when she appeared in Camila (1984).
It was her English which interrupted, and nearly ended Maris' film career. Spanish, French, and German came easy for her, but in the early years of talkies, her English was almost unintelligible. So she quit. From 1931 until 1941 she starred in nineteen of the best pictures produced by the Fox Film Company. They were Spanish-language film versions of domestic super dupers. Maris also appeared in seven English dialogue motion pictures for three studios.
She was married twice. One of her husbands was Clarence Brown. A brief runaway marriage during her European tenure had been quickly terminated.
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