Name at birth: Maria Eva Ibarguren
Eva Duarte was an ambitious actress on stage, screen and radio when she married Juan Domingo Pern in 1945. He was already a leading military figure in Argentina, with a wide following; in 1946 he was elected to the presidency. While First Lady, Eva virtually ran the ministries of labor and health and fought vigorously for women's voting rights. Popularly known as Evita, she became immensely popular with the public. Her untimely death from cancer at age 33 helped cement the almost mythical proportions of her popularity.
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