Docuseries: Lina Morgan, the legend behind the grimace | Television | EUROtoday

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In the mid-nineties, Jesús Olmedo was learning Dramatic Art in Seville and obtained a name to do a casting within the collection Hostal Royal Manzanares. He had a sequence during which he performed an aspiring actor who got here to Madrid to strive his luck, and took benefit of his keep on the hostel to rehearse a fraction of Don Juan Tenorio. Lina Morgan performed Doña Inés. “That scene had to have lasted about three or four minutes and we did it in 18. With the audience in front, the two of us improvising. It was hilarious, magical,” Olmedo remembers of what he considers his “television mother.”

He met the actress once more in one other collection, Gloria Dance Academy, broadcast by La 1 in 2001, and it was there that the Sevillian acquired the chance to star in one other undertaking, this time on Telecinco. “I didn't want to leave him, but Lina found out, she summoned me to her dressing room and told me: 'You have to go.' And she set me free. Wait a minute, I can’t keep talking,” he says. And on the other end of the phone there is silence and emotion, his voice breaks. He recovers. “He is my reference, the human being to whom I owe my career,” he says.

Olmedo is one of the people who collaborates on the docuseries Lina, which premieres on Monday, June 17 on Movistar Plus+ in collaboration with the production company 100 Balas (The Mediapro Studio). A review of the life and memory of Mª Ángeles Felipa López Segovia, of the legacy of the woman born in the year in which the Spanish Civil War began, the fourth of five siblings, the one who lived on Don Pedro Street in Madrid . She was the one with short hair and pants, the one who was 1.63 tall and smoked, the one with “chubby legs” and who, based on talent and grimaces, she came to occupy the position of the first videte. “I wasn't ugly, I was attractive,” she said of herself.

A portrait of Lina Morgan provided by Movistar Plus+.
A portrait of Lina Morgan provided by Movistar Plus+.D. BRIDGES (Movistar +)

He lived in a Spain where triumph was taught through jewelry (for a long time he wore a pendant with an elephant with its trunk up, a symbol of good luck) and fur coats. Minks of all shapes and colors. Where the holy trinity of the show were the showgirl, the comedian “and the other one who does things.” And that other one was Doña Lina. She is the television mother of Jesús Olmedo and the mother of several generations of Spaniards. She was the protagonist of the most watched program on television in 1983, which she managed to bring together 20 million people in front of the screen.

“It was worth stopping by because she was a great character, although many remember her for four little things,” says Israel del Santo, director of the docuseries and who worked as an assistant on Lina's night when he was a teenager and she “already a big star.” “He had that gift of making people laugh, which is something you are born with, but that he took care of cultivating and training,” she says. To talk about Lina, he has not only reviewed her work, but has brought together professional colleagues who worked with her, others who admire her, others for whom she was a reference, such as José Sacristán, Manolo Zarzo, Bárbara Rey and Lolita. Like Silvia Abril, Joaquín Reyes, Anabel Alonso, Pablo Chiapella, José Mota and María León, among others.

“She was very intelligent because she understood that to create humor as a woman you had to play the ugly card or the dumb blonde card. She turned to her physicality and took advantage of it. And she managed to introduce, between one joke and another, something taboo for the time: female desire. She was the spinster, but not like Aunt Tula, because she doesn't suffer. When you see her, you want things to turn out well for her, for her to manage to steal the 'lizard's beau,' says Natalia Meléndez, a PhD in Journalism who has directed various research projects on comics and humor and communication, with a laugh.

Lina represented, says Israel del Santo, a time in which work was glorified above all else in Spain. So much so that she went on stage the same day that her father had died because the money that the spectators had spent on the tickets had to be respected. So much so that she did up to three performances a day — she only stopped to eat a sandwich — to be able to pay for the theater that she purchased for 127 million pesetas. A property of hers that she bought from the businessman Matías Colsada, who years before had expelled her from her company; a dismissal that caused two years of professional drought and the withdrawal of his artist card by the union. “While Lola [Flores] She performed in all the towns in Spain, Lina wanted all the towns in Spain filling La Latina. I think she bought it as a response to all those who questioned her, so that no one would light a cigar in her face again,” says Del Santo.

The most intimate part of the icon goes somewhat unnoticed in the docuseries. Whether he liked men, women or both, no one cares. Whether he invented lesbianism or was very right-wing, neither. Because just as it is clumsy to reduce her to a grimace or a playful leg, taking into account that she worked with her entire body, it adds little to what she thought or what she liked. “I haven't given any thought to his inheritance either, I think his innate abilities for live performance and comedy are more important. How the show would stop and she knew when she had to tell the joke so that the lady who was screaming from the beginning would repeat it. It was a watch,” says Israel del Santo, who did want to reflect the love that Lina had for her family. Especially for her brother José Luis, who accompanied her throughout her career, about whom hardly anything was known about her, only that he died of AIDS. “First I thought, why me? And then I thought, why not?” says Lina in one of the episodes of the series, which includes interviews of the artist with Pedro Ruiz, Terenci Moix, Jesús María Amilibia and Carlos Herrera. “We were a pineapple, and now we are a smaller pineapple,” she said after the death of her father. She, Lina. The one that was 1.63 and will always be huge.

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