Katy Jurado, 78, a Mexican-born film actress of great beauty and force who received an Academy Award nomination for her supporting role in "Broken Lance" and who also appeared in such classic Westerns as "High Noon" and "One-Eyed Jacks," died July 5 at her home in Cuernavaca, Mexico. She had lung and heart ailments.
Ms. Jurado acted opposite some of the biggest male stars of the time, from Gary Cooper to Marlon Brando. She was married to Oscar-winning actor Ernest Borgnine from 1959 until their divorce in 1964.
She never became a Hollywood star, maintaining that there were limited roles for a Latino woman who had aspirations toward meaty, dramatic parts.
"I didn't take all the films that were offered -- just those with dignity," she once told a reporter.
She became a character actress starting in the mid-1960s, appearing in "Stay Away, Joe" (1968) with Elvis Presley, in Sam Peckinpah's "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid" (1973) and several European films. Among the last of her more than 60 roles were in John Huston's "Under the Volcano" (1984), filmed in Cuernavaca, and Stephen Frears's "The Hi-Lo Country" (1998).
Maria Christina Jurado Garcia was born in Guadalajara, the daughter of a rancher and an opera singer. She entered acting as a lark at age 16 and became a star in her native country. She won the Mexican film industry's highest prize, the Ariel award, for her role as an unfaithful wife in Luis Bunuel's "El Bruto" (1952).
She was dispatched to Hollywood to write a gossip column for Mexican newspapers when she made her American film debut in "The Bullfighter and the Lady" (1951) with Robert Stack. Because she had limited proficiency in English, she had to learn her lines phonetically.
In 1952, she appeared in "High Noon" as Helen Ramirez, the world-weary former love interest of Cooper's hunted sheriff. She appeared in "Arrowhead" (1953) with Charlton Heston, with Spencer Tracy in "Broken Lance" (1954), and the circus drama "Trapeze" (1956) with Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis. In "One-Eyed Jacks" (1961), she played the wife of bandit Brando's sworn enemy, played by Karl Malden.
Throughout her Hollywood career, she split her time between California and Mexico and was considered one of the pioneering Latino actresses of her time.
Her first marriage, to Victor Velazquez, ended in divorce.
A son from her first marriage died in a motorcycle accident in the early 1980s.
Survivors include a daughter, also from her first marriage.