Sabina Olmos

Real name: Gómez, Rosa Herminia
Singer and actress
(3 February 1913 - 14 January 1999)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Néstor Pinsón

newspaper on January 15, 1999 brought sad news in the show business section: «Yesterday at age 85 Sabina Olmos died; an unforgettable actress. She had a deep depression. She threw herself through a window of her apartment. She had appeared in nearly thirty motion pictures. She managed to stamp her nerve to many different roles. She started by singing folk music and tango pieces». The event took place soon after six in the morning, after struggling almost 20 years in search of a job. She had had a hope when, in 1992, a movie director chose her for a role at a film that turned out a foretold failure. Among jams and foolish acts, supposedly to be humorous, appeared her figure of aged, sad, paralytic and dumb woman in a wheelchair.
She was born in the neighborhood of Balvanera in front of the Once de septiembre railroad station. She, at school, was already chosen to sing at the celebrations.

When she was 21 she was working at a downtown shop and someone, who knew her talents, introduced her to Amanda Ledesma, whose recommendation made possible her appearance on Radio Buenos Aires. She was advised to sing folk tunes because there were a lot of female tango singers. She knew only one song, but with the help of the Acosta Villafañe brothers, and excellent duo that was widely recognized then, she succeeded in solving her lack.

Soon thereafter, she climbed a step when she switched to Radio Splendid, where Rosa Gómez became Sabina Olmos. She sang on many radio stations and added more tango pieces to her repertory.

Finally, in 1938, she began her most important stage: the movies. She appeared in four films: El casamiento de Chichilo, in which the singer Héctor Palacios is also present; there she sang only one number, but had no role as actress. She had a stubborn temper and then her diva personality was already foreshadowed.

She had a quick promotion which allowed her to win the love of the most popular singer-lead actor of that time: Fernando Borel.

Her second film was Manuel Romero's La rubia del camino. Paulina Singerman played the leading role. There she played and sang “Muchachita del campo” (by Francisco Lomuto and Manuel Romero). Months later came another movie by Romero: Mujeres que trabajan and in the late 1938, Los apuros de Claudina, in which she sang a tune.

Her consecration came the following year, when Romero presented one more of his releases: La vida es un tango, here she was starred alongside Hugo Del Carril. She sang “Mi noche triste (Lita)”, “Milonguita (Esthercita)”, “La morocha”, “Pero hay una melena” and as a duo: “La payanca”, “No me vengas con paradas” and, in the final scene, “Aquel tapado de armiño”.

A few months later came the version for the movies of the successful and well-remembered theater comedy written by Malfatti and De Las Llanderas, Así es la vida, directed by Francisco Mujica, starring Enrique Muiño and Elías Alippi.

The Municipality of Buenos Aires awarded her the prize as Best Supporting Dramatic Actress. Her work as actress surpassed by far her role as singer. She appeared in around 25 movies and, in one of them, Carnaval de antaño, also by Manuel Romero, premiered in 1940, she formed a duo with Charlo. It was the beginning of her love affair with the famous singer, which only was formalized in 1952 when they married.

There are two more appearances to highlight: in 1941 Yo quiero ser bataclana, an excellent musical comedy in the American style, with catchy melodies sung by its protagonists, good choreography and an obvious romantic plot. Juan Carlos Thorry, Alicia Barrie, the Juan D'Arienzo's orchestra and the forced inclusion of Nini Marshall, whose career as actress was starting and it was necessary to promote her, accompanied her. Her presence is a drawback for the placid airs of the comedy. The main music titles were “Dime mi amor” and the waltz “Tres recuerdos”, both committed to record by Sabina (they are her first recordings). Finally, she appeared in Hugo Del Carril's first experience as film director: Historia del 900, in which she sang the waltz “Rosa de abril”.

As singer there are a few recordings made in our country, scarce appearances on radio and some performances on theater. She made long tours abroad after 1947 alongside Charlo. And, since 1955, she made them more often after the fall of General Perón's government. She lived two years in Spain (there she recorded), went to Portugal and toured the American continent. She made some recordings in Colombia and Brazil.

In Argentina she recorded 12 titles, accompanied by an orchestra conducted by Charlo, who also played accordion. They recorded together five vocal duets. There are also some radio takes with pieces not included in her discography: “Amor de mis amores”, “Cuando cuentes la historia de tu vida”, “Lluvia sobre el mar”, “Pobre negra”, “Patio mío”, “La barranca”, “Sin ella” and “Poema de la despedida”, among others.

She was an interesting female singer, but she did not reach the level of the great female voices of her epoch. She only is an object of interest for collectors.

The end of her life was hazardous, full of vicissitudes. She put an end to her relationship with Charlo in 1969, and her final days went by surrounded in poverty and oblivion, until her tragic determination.