|Anita Vélez-Mitchell at the 2012 HOLA Awards.|
We are sad to announce the passing of HOLA awardee and legendary performer, writer and poet, Anita Vélez-Mitchell (February 21, 1916 - July 10, 2015). Born in Vieques, Puerto Rico, she came to New York City when she was twelve. She had a seven-decade career as an artist, and her luminary list of friends and colleagues includes José Ferrer, Salvador Dalí, Ed Sullivan, Tito Puente, Xavier Cugat, Fred Kelly, George Abbott, and Leonard Bernstein, among others. Her lifelong performing career includes "The Ed Sullivan Show", Carnegie Hall, international tours as a solo artist, the 1963 production of West Side Story as Anita and culminated in a video performance as Abuela in April 2015 in the MultiStages production of Comida de P*ta by Desi Moreno-Penson, directed by her granddaughter Lorca Peress.
She is survived by her daughters Gloria Vando Hickok and Jane Vélez-Mitchell; grandchildren Lorca Peress, Paul Peress, Anika Paris; and great-granddaughter Nicole Elizabeth Peress. Her children and their families will hold a private cremation ceremony this week, but a date for a public memorial to honor Anita in September will be announced soon. Anita loved life, beauty, the mambo, and all the arts. She was a vegetarian and lover of animals. To learn more about Anita Vélez-Mitchell and her legacy, visit the Temple of the Souls website.