Xan das Bolas was born Tomás Ares Pena on October 30, 1908 in A Caruña, Galicia, Spain. He started his acting career in the theater in the early 1930's as a comedian and actor in variety shows. After the Spanish Civil War, he began his film career with “Salome” (1940).
He chose the stage name of Xan das Bolas which is an expression in the Galician language, which means 'John, the one of the tales'.
In the following years he became a supporting actor with an extensive career in Spanish cinema. His filmography exceeds two hundred titles and he worked under some of the most distinguished local filmmakers such as Florian Rey, Luis Lucia, José Luis Sáenz de Heredia, Juan de Orduna, Luis García Berlanga and Juan Antonio Bardem.
On television he worked on the series ‘Crónicas de un pueblo’ (1971) and co-starring with Fernando Fernan Gomez in ‘El Pícaro’ (1974).
Xan appeared in over 25 Euro-westerns from “The Coyote” in 1955 to “Spaghetti Western” in 1975, usually playing small roles as hotel clerks, shop owners, barman and townsman and farmers.
Xan das Bolas died in Madrid, Spain on October 13, 1977.
Today we remember Xan das Bolas on what would have been his 105th birthday.