Birthday: October 1, 1984
Died At Age: 29
Sun Sign: Libra
Also Known As: Mónica Spear Mootz
Born in: Maracaibo
Famous as: Model, Actress
Height: 5'10" (178 cm), 5'10" Females
Spouse/Ex-: Thomas Henry Berry (m. 2008; div. 2012)
father: Rafael Spear Tudares
mother: Ingeborg Mootz Gotera
siblings: Carolina, Javier, Rafael, Ricardo Spear Mootz
children: Maya Berry Spear
Died on: January 6, 2014
place of death: Carabobo
Cause of Death: Assassination
education: University of Central Florida
awards: Premios 2 de Oro for New Actress of the Year (2007)
El Galardón del Universo del Espectáculo for Best Young Lead Actress (2008)
Who was Mónica Spear?
Venezuelan-native Monica Spear was an award-winning actress and beauty pageant titleholder. She moved to the United States with her family as a teenager. As an adult she returned to Venezuela to launch an entertainment career. She used her celebrity status to raise funds for domestic violence victims and those affected by autism. She spoke publicly about her reluctance to live in the midst of Venezuela’s violence and instability. She became a victim of that environment. At the age of twenty nine, she was killed, along with her ex-husband, by highway bandits while on vacation in Venezuela. Their young daughter was injured but survived the attack. Protesters and Venezuelan reform activists use her image and story as part of their campaigns against violence. Her telenovelas continue to air on Venezuelan and Spanish-language television programs, often in the context of fundraising and awareness raising events. Tributes to Spear abound on YouTube and popular media sites as she remains a popular figure. She has attained an iconic status as a martyr in Venezuela's battle against violence and crime.
Childhood & Early Life
Mónica Spear Mootz was born October 1, 1984 in Maracaibo, Zulia, Venezuela to Rafael Spear Tudares and Ingeborg Mootz Gotera. She had four siblings: Rafael, Carolina, Javier and Ricardo.
After her mother retired from her position with an oil company in Venezuela, her family immigrated to Orlando, Florida in 2000. Her surviving family lives in Florida today.
She attended high school in the United States. She received an associate’s degree with honors from Seminole Community College in 2003 and graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2004. She initially majored in chemical engineering but later on changed to theater.
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After graduating from the University of Central Florida with a degree in theater, Spear first tried her hands at modeling.
She returned to her native Venezuela in 2004 to enter the Miss Venezuela pageant. After her participation in the Miss Universe pageant in 2005, she began an acting career in television.
She did major roles in several telenovelas for RCTV in Venezuela, including ‘El Desprecio’ (2006),’Mi prima Ciela’ (2007), ‘Calle luna, Calle sol’ (2009), and ‘Que el cielo me explique’ (2010-2011). Several of her RCTV productions also played on American Spanish television networks.
She portrayed a young woman with Aspergers syndrome on Venevision telenovela, ‘La mujer perfecta’ in the fall of 2010. After her death, the telenovela re-aired as a fundraiser for an Aspergers foundation.
Near the end of her life, she began work with the Spanish-language, American based network Telemundo, performing in telenovelas ‘Flor Salvaje’ (2011-2012) and ‘Pasión prohibida’ (2013).
In 2006, she broke into Venezuela’s telenovela market playing the villainous Tamara Campos de Velandró in ‘El Despreci’o.
Her 2007 role as Graciela Andreína Zambrano Ávila, a teenager battling leukemia, in ‘Mi prima Ciel’a made her one of Venezuela’s most sought after soap opera actresses.
Her final role as Bianca Santillana in the 2013 telenovela ‘Pasión prohibida’ represented her successful transition to the United States’ based Spanish-language production company Telemundo.
Awards & Achievements
In 2004, Spear was crowned Miss Venezuela.
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In 2005, she was 4th Runner Up in the Miss Universe Pageant.
In 2007, she was selected New Actress of the Year at the Venezuelan Premios 2 de Oro for her role in the telenovela ‘El Desprecio’.
In 2008, she was chosen Best Young Lead Actress at the Venezuelan El Galardón del Universo del Espectáculo, for her role in the telenovela ‘Mi prima Ciela’.
In 2013, she was nominated for Favorite Lead Actress by the Premios Tu Mundo for her work in the telenovela ‘Pasión prohibida’.
Personal Life & Legacy
She married Thomas Henry Berry in 2008. Their daughter Maya was born in October 2009. They divorced in 2012 but reports indicated they were reconciling at the time of their deaths.
On January 6, 2014, she and her ex-husband were shot during a robbery attempt on a highway in central Carabobo, Venezuela while on vacation. They were waiting for assistance after their car broke down. Their daughter Maya was shot in the leg, but recovered. She now lives with her maternal grandparents in Florida.
Spear’s mother’s family had immigrated to Venezuela from Germany.
Spear faced considerable pressure during the Miss Universe Pageant in 2005, because in 2004 Ana Karina Áñez had been the first Miss Venezuela not to get a place in top 15 for the first time in 22 years.
She was fluent in Spanish, English, and French.
During an interview in the morning after her crowning as Miss Venezuela in 2004, Spear infamously answered that Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez was her favorite Venezuelan playwright.
She was a naturalized American citizen and a resident of Miami, Florida, when she died. She had stated in interviews that violence in Venezuela made her reluctant to raise her daughter there.