We all know, in general, the story of Eva Peron: born to poverty, she rose to power as the wife of Juan Peron, leader of Argentina.
Her biography turns out to be a bit more interesting than that.
Eva's autobiography, La Razón de mi Vida, contains no dates or references to childhood occurrences, and does not list the location of her birth or her name at birth. According to Junín's civil registry, a birth certificate shows that one María Eva Duarte was born on 7 May 1922. Her baptismal certificate, however, lists the date of birth as 7 May 1919 under the name Eva María Ibarguren. It is believed that in 1945 the adult Eva Perón created a forgery of her birth certificate for her marriage.http://en.wikipedia.org/...
Eva Perón spent her childhood in Junín, Buenos Aires province. Her parents, Juan Duarte and Juana Ibarguren (sometimes referred to as Doña Juana), were descended from Basque immigrants. Juan Duarte was a wealthy rancher from nearby Chivilcoy, where he already had a wife and family. During this time period in rural Argentina, it was not uncommon to see a wealthy male with multiple families. However, the lack of legitimacy for Juana and her children would still leave them stigmatized and rejected. Referred to as "bastards", the family was somewhat isolated. When Duarte suddenly passed away, and his mistress and their children made an attempt to attend his funeral, a small scandal erupted at the church gates. Though Juana and the children were permitted to pay respects to Duarte, they were promptly directed outside afterward. Mrs. Juan Duarte did not want her husband's mistress and children at the funeral, and as his legitimate wife, her orders were respected. Eva would never forget the bitter memory of having her mother and siblings thrown out of her father's funeral.
Wikipedia is extremely helpful. Eva moved to Buenos Aires as a teenager (under what circumstances seems to remain in question, depending upon whom you ask), and
remained in glamorous Buenos Aires. There she embarked on an exciting adventure, pursuing jobs on stage, radio, and eventually became a film actress. Though never regarded as particularly talented on stage, Eva's beauty was certainly appreciated. Eva had a series of relationships, and via some of these men, she did acquire a number of her modeling appointments. This would be the beginning of Eva's detractors describing her as having been a woman who used men to get what she wanted. When Eva decided to bleach her raven black hair, the effect was striking and quite flattering to her creamy complexion. Eva would keep her hair blonde for the duration of her life.http://en.wikipedia.org/...
From that early period, when Eva was working as an actress, this iconic song:
Go read the whole Wiki entry: fair use doesn't allow me to quote much more, and really I would want to just quote it all here. Which would make for a lively Monday Night at the Biography, but alas, nothing to do with theater.
What I will say is that Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber seem to have played with her biography for dramatic effect. As one would expect from a biopic, or in this case, a biomusical.
When Juan is briefly out of power (from the original Broadway show):
As we all know, Eva Peron died young, from uterine cancer. How young? Depends whether she was born in 1919 or 1922. (From one broad to another: I'm betting on the 1919 date.) Sir Lloyd Webber nailed it:
That was Elaine Paige, who created the role in Evita's original run in London's West End.
Here's Patti Lupone, who created the role here on Broadway: