Maria Conchita Alonso, the former "Miss World Venezuela," is comfortable playing many roles. Whether it's standing on the opposite aisle from Hollywood's liberal elite, blasting President Obama over his friendly handshake with Hugo Chavez, or simply playing a mom on "Desperate Housewives," Alonso has pushed the envelope her entire career.
Now, she will bring her passion to the character of Alejandra, the feisty, wisecracking mother of Clarissa Alpert (played by Sarah Chalke, "Scrubs" and "Roseanne") in the Lifetime Television miniseries, "Maneater," premiering May 30 and 31 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Alonso has no qualms about playing the role of a mother -- or even a grandmother. "I have no problem at all playing whatever," the actress told HispanicBusiness.com. "I'm very sure of who I am. ... For me what's important is not the age, it's what you bring to the character."
In "Maneater," Clarissa is a shallow Beverly Hills socialite and spoiled daddy's girl who is about to turn 32 but will only admit to being 28. She's in a panic because she's still single. With the help of family (divorced parents Alejandra and Teddy, played by Gregory Harrison) and girlfriends (portrayed by Judy Greer, Marla Sokoloff and Noureen DeWulf), Clarissa seeks to rope a hot Hollywood producer, Aaron Mason (Philip Winchester), into marrying her. Complicating matters is her ex-boyfriend, Simon (Paul Leyden). Also in the two-day miniseries are Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon and Shalim Ortiz. Timothy Busfield directed.
Though Chalke is blond and fair-skinned, Alonso, with her dark hair and Spanish accent, was cast as her mother.
"I thought it was great for them to get out of the box and put a Latina mother having a blond daughter, because that happens," said Alonso, who was born in Cuba and raised in Venezuela. "Hollywood doesn't think about that, but these producers did."
The girlfriend role Alonso, 51, is most noted for is Lucia Lombardo, the Italian immigrant sweetheart of Robin Williams in "Moscow on the Hudson." That was 25 years ago, and it was her breakthrough Hollywood role just two years after coming to the United States.
Alonso began her career as a performer in 1971 in Venezuela, when her good looks led to her being crowned "Miss Teenager of Venezuela," followed by "Miss Teenager of the World." Four years later, Alonso won the "Miss World Venezuela" title, and she placed 6th runner-up in the Miss World Pageant.
She moved from beauty queen to top model and starred in about a dozen Spanish-language telenovelas and films before making her home in the United States. After her "Moscow" debut, Alonso went on to starring roles opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sean Penn, Nicolas Cage and Jeremy Irons. She has appeared in more than 50 films, including "The Running Man," "Predator 2" and "Colors."
A recent role for Alonso was playing the mother of Gabrielle Solis (Eva Longoria Parker) in "Desperate Housewives." Though it was only one episode, Alonso is hoping she gets asked back. She even played a grandmother in the Spanish version of "Desperate Housewives."
The actress said she's no longer urged by those in the business to lose her accent. "I think that's part of me, really," she said. "That's part of how people know me." Besides, she added, "I can bring on any accent I want," from French to Italian to Greek.
Most Popular Stories
- European Car Sales up First Time in 20 Months
- Entrepreneurs Chase Social Media
- Schedule packed with talent at the Fox
- Manila's Hollywood Week
- I never set out to be a role model but it's great to be one ; IN THE HOTSEATBetter known by his stage name Wretch 32, Jermaine Sinclair is a 28-year-old rapper from London. In 2011 his debut album Black and White sold over a million copies and scored three top five singles. His latest single Blackout was released this week
- Austin musicians point to a variety of reasons to appreciate McCartney
- Financial Times Twitter, Email Hacked
- 'Star Trek Into Darkness': The Return of Khan?
- Apple's iPhones, iPads Approved for Military Use, Sir Yes Sir!
- SINCE YOU ASKED [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA)]