Sara Montiel was a Spanish singer and actress. She was a much-loved and internationally known name in the Spanish-speaking movie and music industries. Montiel was born in Campo de Criptana in the region of Castile–La Mancha in 1928 as María Antonia Abad. After her unprecedented international hit in Juan de Orduña's El Último Cuplé in 1957, Montiel achieved the status of mega-star in Europe and Latin America. She was the most commercially successful Spanish actress during the mid-20th century in much of the world. Miss Montiel's film Varietes was banned in Beijing in 1973. Her films El Último Cuple and La Violetera netted the highest gross revenues ever recorded for films made in the Spanish speaking movie industry during the 1950s/60s. She played the role of Antonia, the niece of Don Quixote, in the 1947 Spanish film version of Cervantes's great novel.
She was portrayed in the Pedro Almodóvar film Bad Education by a male actor in drag as the cross-dressing character Zahara, and a film clip from one of her movies was used as well.