Alberto Gadea: "I don't have the physique anymore, but now I feel more like an actor"
He was a film specialist, shot with stars such as John Wayne and Charles Bronson and ended up mistaken for a mafia boss.
June 7, 2019
To say that Alberto Gadea (Barcelona, 1933) has had a life of a film, besides being unoriginal, falls short. Fiction and reality are mixed in the biography of this aspiring actor and adventurer of the underworld who shot more than 60 films as an extra, specialist and actor, many of them of the 'spaghetti-western' genre.
In the 1960s, cinema gave work in Barcelona.
I often went to Paral.lel, where Ignacio Iquino's studios were, to see if anything came out. One day I was at the bar, telling a kid that I had boxed in North Africa, when a production player heard me and told me to go up to the studios, that they needed a boxer.
What movie was it?
Close to the stars. I had to dub Enrique Avila and I was so proud that I didn't take off my makeup for four days. It was the first film in which I played a stuntman. I had already played an extra in Rhapsody of Blood and my first role as an actor was in The Route of Narcotics.
In 1964 the 'spaghetti-western' started.
The town of the West that the Balcázar studios built in Esplugues was a way of life. I tell it in the book Esplugas City Mon Amour. My first western was Arizona Gunslingers. I'm the son of a soldier, I boxed in the legion and rode horses bareback, but I had no idea what a specialist was. They sent me to form a team and there I learned the trade. He was what in English is called a stuntman coordinator, which I translated into Catalan as cap de cops.
Cap of cops! That's nice.
In Blood Over Texas there was real blood. I broke my wrist jumping from a stagecoach, had surgery and kept rolling with the plaster.
He coincided with Hollywood stars.
Van Heflin, Gilbert Roland, Richard Widmark, Richard Burton... With Charles Bronson, Yul Brynner and Robert Mitchum I filmed Villa Cabalga  and with John Wayne I coincided in The Fabulous World of the Circus.
In westerns it is very clear who is the good and who is the bad, but in real life the line is more blurred.
There are people who pretend one thing and are another. After I was arrested for a robbery I fled Spain and lived in Paris and Rome. A friend who was a bank scammer proposed that I join him because, being an actor, he gave the hit. But I was arrested and the Italian press headlined: "Mafia boss of an American gang counterfeiting dollars arrested." From that gang of 25 I only knew my friend and they could not keep me in prison.
I no longer know what is fiction and what is reality...
There is no fiction here, I have lived this. I also followed ETA members in the Basque Country. I have it all written in Memoirs of a Mercenary, which is the continuation of Operation Boomerang, a fiction based on the escape from El Lute.
What a life.
I don't regret it, it's been an adventure. But it tastes bad to me on the part of cinema. Now I realize I was wrong. I thought it was enough to be beautiful and muscular and I didn't prepare to be an actor.
Lately he has participated in the documentary Goodbye Ringo
I have experienced it as a recognition of myself. Now I don't have the physique, but I feel more like an actor.
Alberto Gadea’s Euro-westerns:
Shoot to Kill – 1964 (Steve’s henchman) [as Alberto Gadea]
$5,000 on One Ace – 1964 (Sheriff Benson)
Epitaph for a Fast Gun – 1965 [as Alberto Gadea]
7 Pistols for a Gringo – 1965 (Jed Tennessee) [as LLosa Gadea]
Who Killed Johnny R.? – 1965 [as Alberto Gadea]
The Ruthless Colt of the Gringo - 1966 (Abner) [as Alberto Gadea]
Seven Pistols for a Gringo - 1966
Gentleman Killer – 1967 [as Alberto Gadea]
Villa Rides! - 1967
Tierra Brava – 1968 [as Alberto Gadea]
A Talent for Loving - 1969
Espulgas City, West of Barcelona – 2016 [himself]
Goodbye Ringo – 2017 [himself]
[submitted by Michael Ferguson]