The rest of the musical isn’t totally off base, though. (Not that it was deliberately misleading in the “Che” regard. I guess it would be a bit like if you inserted a man named “Jack” into a musical about Queen Victoria and everyone just assumed it was “Jack the Ripper.” Not that freedom fighters are prostitute-killers but . . . I’ll just step away from this one).
Certainly Eva did, as the musical says “have every disadvantage you need if you’re gonna succeed.”
She was born on May 7, 1919, to Juana Ibarguren in a small backwater town in Argentina and named Eva. Her mother – at the age of fifteen – became the mistress of a man named Juan Duarte. She bore him five children. For a while, she profited by it – unlike many of their neighbors, Juana and her children lived in a comfortable two room house. Not for long, though. When Eva was one year old, Juan abandoned them and moved away. The family was suddenly forced to deal with crushing poverty. All he left was a document declaring the children were his, thus enabling them to use his name.
Although Juan had another legitimate family, and completely abandoned them, Eva went by Eva Duarte. He died in a car accident when Eva was 7, and the family was blocked out of any inheritance, which meant they fell on even harder times. I don’t want to skim over that, but, yeah, he seemed like a jerk so we’re going to skim right over that after all.
Eva’s mother was a seamstress and a cook who was said to have prostituted herself to keep the children alive. You know all those politicians at the RNC who wanted to say they grew up in a shack? Eva literally grew up in a two room shack.
In this regard, Eva’s upbringing reminds me a lot of that other figure of national importance, Jeanne du Barry.
That said, while she was certainly beautiful in the manner of Du Barry, I’m inclined to think she was a lot smarter and had a far better aptitude for survival.