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Daughter of artist Diego Rivera dies in England

LONDON — Marika Rivera, a daughter of the Mexican artist Diego Rivera, has died in England, her son said Tuesday. She was 90.

She died Jan. 14 of advanced dementia at Chestnut House nursing home in Charlton Down, England, said David Phillips, her son by her second marriage.

Rivera, a film and stage actress who had little contact with or support from her father, was born from his tempestuous affair with the Russian-born artist Marevna Vorobieff. They moved in the same revolutionary avant garde circles with the likes of Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, George Braque, Henri Matisse and Amedeo Modigliani.

Diego Rivera found Vorobieff's "wild beauty" irresistible despite her reputation for a ferocious temper. The affair ended violently as Marevna — by then pregnant — pulled a knife, cut the back of Rivera's neck and then her own neck.

Marika Rivera was born Nov. 13, 1919.

"When the child, a girl, was born, Marevna exhibited her as living proof of my infamy. She succeeded in turning many of my friends ... against me," Rivera wrote in his autobiography, "My Art, My Life."

Rivera, who died in 1957, spurned appeals to help the child and mother.

"Of course, I paid no attention to them," he wrote.

"The child Marika, now grown up and married, is a lovely woman and an accomplished dancer. For many years, she too wrote me letters and sent me photographs in the hope of softening my flinty old heart. I never responded. The past was past. Even if, by the barest chance, I was really her father, neither she nor Marevna ever actually needed me."

Rivera did contact Marika shortly before his death, asking her to come to Mexico, but she declined, Phillips said.

Marika Rivera had several small film roles, including in "Darling" (1965), "The Girl on a Motorcycle" (1968); "Fiddler on the Roof" (1971); "Percy's Progress" (1974); and "Hotel du Paradis" (1986), in which she played herself.

She also produced a one-woman show in London, "Marika's Cafe Theatre," based on her memories of life the arty Montemarte area of Paris.

She is survived by a son from each marriage. A funeral service will be held Friday at St. Edwards' Church in Athelhampton.