1908 - 1993

He had an unmistakable personal style combining cabaret, flamenco dancing, deep vocal emotionalism, spectacular costumes and a narcissistic stage persona that made him extremely popular with audiences. His gay identity was openly acknowledged with a sense of humor that was very close to what today would be recognized as ‘low camp.’ Between 1936 and 1942 Molina spent most of the Spanish Civil War on Republican ground. This together with his homosexuality and sympathies for the Left had disastrous consequences for his career. He left Spain for Argentina, where he was hugely successful. But life in exile was not easy and the Argentinean government soon threatened him with expulsion. Molina credited the direct intervention of Eva Perón with helping him stay in the country and continue his career. Unfortunately his overt support for the Perón government made him a despised figure once the Peróns were driven from power. The rampant homophobia of the changed political climate and the cultural shift that accompanied it proved detrimental to his mental and emotional health, prompting him to withdraw from artistic life in 1960. While many personalities who were faced with persecution under Francoism were being rediscovered in the 1980s, Molina, by then bitter and withdrawn, languished in obscurity. It was not until two films that celebrated his life were released a decade later that his uniquely stylized performances and colorful life would finally be celebrated.


Gender Male

Sexual Orientation Gay

Gender Identity Cisgender

Ethnicity Latinx

Nations Affiliated Spain Argentina Mexico United States

Era/Epoch Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)

Field(s) of Contribution





Commemorations & Honors

Spanish Government Made de Molina Knight of the Order of Isabel la Católica (1992)


Original Biography Author
Victor Salvo
Biography Edited By
Owen Keehnen
Resources Coordination
Carrie Maxwell