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Eva Peron

Eva Peron was the First Lady of Argentina (1946-1952), an actress, controversial political leader, and wife of Juan Peron, President of Argentina.

Evita, as she preferred to be known, spent a great deal of her time while First Lady working to improve conditions for the working-class poor, and they worshipped her as a result. But a tremendous dichotomy existed, with Evita being revered by the poor, and reviled by many in the upper and middle classes. Peron's campaigns for the underprivileged were almost always highly publicized events. Though she had never officially been elected to any political position, she began to exercise an increasing amount of power and influence within the government. While she could mobilize throngs of adoring supporters at the drop of a hat, the middle and upper classes, military leaders and some government officials were angered by this woman who seemed to have virtually taken over the country. As her celebrity and influence grew, she became progressively more vengeful as well. This only served to validate the bitter hatred some had for her.

Her early death at age 33 from cancer, plunged Argentina into deep mourning. President Juan Peron was soon overthrown, and Evita's body was moved overseas to Europe for safekeeping. The decades long journey her coffin took on the way to its final resting place, brings to mind the epic journey Woodrow Call takes to return the body of lifelong friend, Gus McCrae, to Texas, in the classic Western, Lonesome Dove. Evita's body had been sent to Bonn, then moved to a cemetery in Italy. Nearly 20 years after her death, Evita's body was finally turned over to Juan Peron who was living in exile in Spain. When Juan Peron returned to power in the early 1970s, Eva Peron's body was finally returned to Argentina.

She was the subject of the Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber stage musical, Evita. Madonna starred in the subsequent 1996 film version of Evita.

Biographical fast facts

Full, original or maiden name at birth: Maria Eva Ibarguren*

Date, time and place of birth: May 7, 1919, at approximately 5:00 a.m., Los Toldos, Argentina

Date, time, place and cause of death: July 26, 1952, at approximately 8:25 p.m., Buenos Aires, Argentina (Cancer)

Husband: Juan Peron (m. 1945 - July 26, 1952) (her death)

Father: Juan Duarte
Mother: Juana Ibarguren

Burial site: La Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Error corrections or clarifications

* Eva Peron was not born in 1922 as she claimed, nor was she born Maria Eva Duarte as some sources report. Her father, Juan Duarte, was married to another woman and refused to let the children of his mistress (Eva's mother) take his name. It was only after his death in 1926, that Eva's mother and children took the name Duarte.

Be aware that after Juan Peron became President, Eva Peron's birth certificate was altered to show her maiden name as Duarte, change her year of birth from 1919 to 1922 and erroneously report that her parents were married.


The most in-depth of more than three dozen sources consulted in preparing this profile:
Eva, Evita: The Life and Death of Eva Peron, by Paul L. Montgomery (1979)
Evita - First Lady: A Biography of Eva Peron, by John Barnes (1978)

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