The New York Times reported today that Adele Morales, an artist and actress, died on Sunday in Manhattan. She was 90.
Adele Carolyn Morales was born on June 12, 1925, in Brooklyn. Her mother, Consuela Rodriguez, known as Mae, was of Spanish descent. Her father, Albert, who came to New York from Peru as a teenager, was a typesetter for The Daily News and a semipro lightweight boxer.
After graduating from Washington Irving High School in Manhattan, Ms. Morales moved to a cold-water flat in Manhattan and earned a living making papier-mâché models for department store windows. She took art classes with Hans Hofmann, studied literature at the New School for Social Research and threw herself into downtown cultural life, frequenting artists’ hangouts like the San Remo and the Cedar Tavern. Ms. Morales, who had studied at the Actors Studio, also appeared in several Off-Broadway productions. She continued to paint in an abstract expressionist style and in later years made box assemblages reminiscent of Joseph Cornell.
After her two daughters went to college, and she lived precariously in a rent-stabilized one-bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side Besides her daughter Danielle, she is survived by her other daughter, Elizabeth, and two granddaughters.
“She wanted to be remembered as a gifted painter and actress and as a mother who was fiercely devoted to her (two) girls,” her daughter Danielle said to the Associated Press. (Thank you to Sarah Weinman for pointing out this quote, and finding a photograph of Adele solo, the way she lived much of her glorious life.)