9 October 1922
Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
12 July 2010 (aged 87)
Olga Guillot (born October 9, 1922 in Santiago de Cuba - died July 12, 2010) was a famous Cuban singer who was known to be the queen of bolero. She was a native of the Cuban city of Santiago.
Guillot and her family moved to Ciudad Havana when she was a small child. As a teenager, she and her sister, Ana Luisa, performed as a duo, named the "Duo Hermanitas Guillot".
It wasn't until 1945 that her talent as a bolero singer would be discovered, when Facundo Rivero, an influential man in the Cuban music industry of the era, heard her sing for the first time, and helped her make her professional singing debut, at a famous Havana night club. Soon after, Guillot met Miguelito Valdes, who took her to New York city, where Guillot was able to record her first album, with the Decca label.
Guillot traveled to Mexico in 1948. There, she established herself as an international singer and actress, participating in various films and making her second album. In Mexico, Guillot began to enjoy much popularity for the first time in her career.
In 1954, she recorded her song "Mienteme" ("Lie to Me"), which became a hit across Latin America, and earned her three consecutive awards back home in Cuba as Cuba's best female singer.
1958 proved to be an important year for Guillot, as she toured Europe for the first time, including stops in Italy, France, Spain and Germany. She sang alongside the equally legendary Édith Piaf during a concert held in Cannes.
Olga Guillot kept a house in Cuba as she traveled around the world with her music, apart from her house in Mexico. But Guillot opposed Fidel Castro's Government, and, in 1961, she decided to leave Cuba for good and establish herself in Venezuela. Not long after that, she left Venezuela, making Mexico her only permanent residence country.
Meanwhile, she kept touring around the world, singing in places such as Israel, Japan, Hong Kong and many others. In 1963, Guillot was given the Golden Palm award as "best bolero singer of Latin America". She received the award in Hollywood, California. Guillot sang in 1964 at New York's famed Carnegie Hall.
Guillot continued on touring for the next forty years, releasing over fifty albums and winning numerous awards for her activity in the music world. She was very good friends with Celia Cruz, to whom she often referred to as "(her) sister". When Cruz died from cancer, Guillot was one of the most affected persons in the show business world.
Her albums and music are prohibited in Cuba. Guillot remained a quiet, but strong critic of Castro and his policies towards Cuban residents.
Guillot lived mainly in Mexico and had another home on Miami Beach, Florida.
On July 12, 2010, she died of an infarction at the age of 87 in the city of Miami Beach. She is survived by one daughter, Olga Maria Touzet-Guillot, born from her relationship with pianist and composer, René Touzet.
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