Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remembering Manuel Alexandre

Manuel Alexandre Abaraca was born in Madrid, Spain on November 11, 1917. He dropped out of law school to become an actor. Manuel abandoned his studies and became a journalist at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. During college he had attended elocution lessons at the Royal Conservatory of Madrid, with the famous Carmen Seco, having as classmates Fernando Fernan-Gomez, whose had become a close friend ever since, and Rafael Alonso, with whom he intervened with at TEU functions. That was his foundation for the subsequent practice of acting for the past seven decades, for which he became one of the great supporting actors of Spanish film and television, where he worked in over 300 films. Manuel was also well known as a popular theater performer participating in hundreds of plays. He began his film career with an appearance in “Dos cuentos para dos” directed by Luis Lucia in 1947 and then a small role in “Bienvenido, Mister Marshall” (1950). During the first decades of Spanish democracy he was one of the regular faces in the commercial cinema, but from the late 1980s he worked assiduously working with such prominent directors as José Luis Cuerda, Francisco Regueiro, Berlanga, José Luis or Manolo Sánchez García Gutiérrez Aragón. Alexandre appeared in three Euro-westerns: “Zorro the Avenger” (1962), “A Few Bullets More” (1967) and “The Return of El Coyote” (1998).

On television he participated in various television productions, as “Fortunata y Jacinta”, “Los ladrones van a la oficina”, “Siete vidas”, “La venganza de don Mendo” His last television appearance was a marvelous job in which he played the General Francisco Franco, Spanish head of state for four decades, in the mini-series “20-N” by Roberto Bodegas.

Among his greatest hits on stage include his performance in “My Fair Lady” (1983), “Bohemian Lights” (1984) and “Mother Courage and Her Children” (1986). Alexandre received numerous awards throughout his life, including the National Award for his work on “Placido”, the Film Critics Award, the Screen Actors Union, and an honorary Goya for lifetime achievement.

Alexandre died on October 12, 2010 of cancer in Madrid.

Today we remember Manuel Alexandre on what would have been his 95th birthday.

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