Thursday, September 27, 2018

Vanessa Marquez Should Be Included in This Year's TCM Remembers

It has been four weeks since actress Vanessa Marquez, best known as Ana Delgado in Stand and Deliver (1988) and as Nurse Wendy Goldman on the TV show ER, died. Vanessa and I were extremely close friends and my grief is still palpable. My mother did not have my brother and I until she was 49, so I am at an age where my parents, my aunts and uncles, several cousins, and even my best friend Brian have died. That having been said, I have mourned none of them as much as I have mourned Vanessa. The fact is that I loved her more than anyone else in my life. I still do.

Even taking that into account, I think a very good argument can be made that Vanessa Marquez should be included in this year's TCM Remembers, the annual "In Memoriam" that Turner Classic Movies does to honour those figures in classic film who have died each year. While Vanessa did not do that many feature films (8 in total), she still had an impact as a movie actress. Stand and Deliver is widely regarded as a classic, and the character of Ana Delgado remains one of the best loved in the film. In a movie filled with great performances, Vanessa's performance is one that stands out for many. Not only is Stand and Deliver widely regarded as a classic, but it was also a pioneering film in Latino cinema. It was one of the first films to have a largely Latino cast to be written and directed by Latinos.

Vanessa made other films besides Stand and Deliver. While Blood In Blood Out (1993--also known as Bound by Honor) received somewhat mixed reviews, it does have a cult following in the Latino community. I think the comedy Twenty Bucks (1993) is a gem just waiting to be discovered. It was well received by critics and contains several good performances, among which is Vanessa's performance. She is not on screen for very long, but she leaves a lasting impression in a movie full of colourful characters. While some of Vanessa's films weren't that good (I don't think Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence will be hailed as a classic any time soon...), Vanessa always was.

Of course, Vanessa Marquez worked a good deal in television and her best known role remains that of Nurse Wendy on ER. Nurse Wendy is one of the most popular of the secondary characters on the show, and many people noticed when she disappeared after the third season (myself among them). For many Wendy remains their favourite character on ER. At the time that she was on ER, Vanessa was one of the few Latinas to appear regularly on television. In both television and film, then, Vanessa was something of a pioneering Latina actress. Indeed, I have been told that in the Latino community of Southern California, Vanessa was royalty.

For Turner Classic Movies fans Vanessa Marquez might have even been more familiar as a fellow TCM fan than she was an actress. There was no bigger TCM fan than Vanessa. She was one of the original members of #TCMParty and she often live tweeted to movies on Turner Classic Movies. Vanessa was well loved by her fellow TCM fans and was known for her kindness, her generosity, and her graciousness. Paula Guthat, one of the founders of #TCMParty, called Vanessa "the sweetheart of #TCMParty" and I have to agree with that assessment. When news of her death spread through the TCM fan community, I believe it was the greatest outpouring of grief I have seen since the death of Robert Osborne. 

Between her status as a pioneering Latina actress and one of TCM's biggest fans, I very much believe that Vanessa deserves to be included in this year's TCM Remembers. Indeed, for Vanessa I can think of no higher honour than for her to be memorialised in TCM Remembers, alongside other classic movie stars that she loved.

If like me you believe that Vanessa Marquez should be included in this year's TCM Remembers, you can write them at:

TCM Viewer Relations
1050 Techword Drive NW
Atlanta, GA 30318

You can call TCM Viewer Relations at 404-885-5535. At the bottom of the TCM help page there is also a "Contact Us" link that takes you to a form you can fill out. For my part, I have already emailed TCM and sent a letter to TCM Viewer Relations

Vanessa was immensely talented and I know many of my fellow TCM fans loved her dearly. If we can get her included in this year's TCM Remembers I know that she would be thrilled.  

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