Margarita Sierra

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Biography

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Born

12/31/1936 , Madrid, Spain

Died

9/6/1963

Birth Name

Maria Margarita Suarez Sierra

Gender

Female

Biography:

For someone who only lived less than 27 years, Margarita Sierra had a long career in show business.

Margarita first performed at age 4, performing in a play for which her father designed the scenery. By age 8 she had appeared in a Spanish movie Little Heroes of the Neighborhood. She dropped out of performing through most of her teen years, but returned at age 17, this time as a singer. First honing her act in her hometown of Madrid, Margarita performed in several Spanish-speaking nations, finally landing in Florida.

A stint in a Latin club in New York brought Margarita to the attention of William Orr, the executive producer of several hot Warner Brothers television programs (including 77 Sunset Strip). The formula for Warner detective shows featured handsome leading men and a girl singer in a lounge where the heroes went to unwind. He was looking for a girl singer for a new detective program in the works for ABC: SurfSide 6. Margarita, unfamiliar with the workings of Hollywood producers, initially turned down the role, but eventually was cast as Cha Cha O'Brien after much perserverance from Orr.

When Margarita took to the stage of the fictitious Boom Boom Room (which was set in Miami's very real Fontainebleau Hotel), she did something she had never done before: sing in English. Although her performances were recorded beforehand and the singing overdubbed during the action (which is sometimes very evident due to lip synching or background musicians obviously not playing their instruments), the voice heard in SurfSide 6 was Margarita's. One song featured in the second season episode "Who is Sylvia?", "The Cha Cha Twist", was released as a single (but did not reach the Billboard pop singles chart).

In addition, Margarita's less than adequate command of English provided considerable comic relief on the show. (A few examples include Cha Cha telling one of the detectives, "Don't look so down in the teeth" instead of "down in the mouth," saying that Ken "tastes good" instead of "has good taste," and referring to a friend who plays baseball as the "cashier" instead of the catcher.) After two seasons on ABC, SurfSide 6 was canceled in 1962.

Margarita Sierra died the following year, on September 6, 1963, following heart surgery.