Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Little Known Spaghetti Western Actors ~ José Galera Balazote

 [These daily posts will cover little known actors or people that have appeared in more recent films and TV series. Various degrees of information that I was able to find will be given and anything that you can add would be appreciated.]

José Galera Balazote was born March 4, 1936, in Almeria, Spain. The diminutive actor was nicknamed ‘El Habichuela’ (The Bean).

For forty years he worked on productions of all kinds. For many professionals it was a kind of talisman that transmitted the illusion to the whole team. Balazote once stated, "Money was made... There were days when they gave me up to five hundred pesetas... But for me money was the least of it; And fame? Rubbing shoulders with the best artists in the world?” He worked in over 250 productions in one way or another in front of and behind the cameras.

Sancho Gracia said of him “"He was a very nice man who was always on most of the Western movie sets. He became close friends with almost all the Spanish and Italian producers and production managers, he worked on many of the films. He was a very special person, I remember him with great affection, a very quiet man who when it came to being with his colleagues was very friendly, funny and created a very good atmosphere among everyone during the shooting. You would see him hanging around the Grand Hotel and anywhere those of us who made movies were nearby. Everyone loved him.”

He lived his storybook life with such intensity, that reality and fiction merged into one and Pepe 'El Habichuela' played his role 24 hours a day. That sheriff on a bicycle along the Paseo de Almería was a picture known to all, just like his adventures as an ad man dressed as a cowboy, his golden days as sheriff at Mini Hollywood or the last images of José Galera in the religious residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor Santa Teresa Jornet residence where he spent his last years, with very diminished health but without ever giving up wearing what had filled his life.

The City Council of Almeria gave his name to a street in the neighborhood of El Alquián, but as in the case of Sergio Leone Street, the chosen place does not seem the most appropriate when it comes to honoring someone so close and so representative of our land.

José died in Almeria on March 12, 2005, a week after his 69th birthday.

BALAZOTE, José Galera (aka Pepe El Habichuela) [3/4/1936, Cantoria, Andalusia, Spain – 3/12/2005, Almeria, Andalusia, Spain] – film actor, married to Alicia Balazote (19??-2005).

Seven from Texas – 1964

For a Few Dollars More – 1965 (patron in White Rocks saloon)

The Big Gundown – 1966 (festival observer)

Death Walks in Laredo – 1966 (Fuller’s servant)

God Forgives... I Don’t! – 1966 (cantina patron)

Sugar Colt – 1966 (shooting gallery assistant)

Run, Man, Run - 1967

Shalako – 1968

Sartana the Gravedigger – 1969 (Baxter Red henchman) [as José Balazote]

Adios, Sabata – 1970 (runt)

In the Dust of the Sun – 1971 (barfly)

Those Dirty Dogs – 1973 (El Supremo’s servant)

Whisky and Ghosts – 1978 (potion customer)

Rustlers’ Rhapsody – 1984 (cowboy)

El bueno, la bomba y el malo – 2000 [himself]

Those who speak Spanish may be interested in his biogrpahy.

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