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Alfonso Arau

Alfonso Arau

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: January 11, 1932 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Mexico Profession: actor, director, dancer, producer, mime, screenwriter

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Better recognized as an actor by American moviegoers for essaying funny, vaguely menacing, sometimes self-aware Latino stereotypes, Alfonso Arau crafted an even more auspicious body of work as one of Mexico's most laurel-laden film directors. Starting as a film actor in the 1950s and breaking into television in revolutionary Cuba in the early 1960s, Arau re-immersed himself in the cinema of his native land in the 1970s, collaborating with Mexican film greats Alberto Isaac and Alejandro Jodorowsky and taking up the auteur mantle himself with the comedy "El águila descalza" (1971). He drew greater acclaim for the 1974 subversive comedy "Inspector Calzonzin." The 1980s saw him don some memorable comedic supporting roles in U.S. films, notably an amiable jefe of a drug gang in "Romancing the Stone" (1984) and a hyperbolic desperado in "Three Amigos!" (1986). He established himself in the upper echelon of directors with the multiple-award-winning "Like Water for Chocolate" (1992), based on the novel by his wife Laura Esquivel. The success garnered him work in the U.S. helming the period romance "A Walk in the Clouds" (1995), the oddball ensemble comedy "Picking Up the Pieces" (2000) and the ambitious TV...

Better recognized as an actor by American moviegoers for essaying funny, vaguely menacing, sometimes self-aware Latino stereotypes, Alfonso Arau crafted an even more auspicious body of work as one of Mexico's most laurel-laden film directors. Starting as a film actor in the 1950s and breaking into television in revolutionary Cuba in the early 1960s, Arau re-immersed himself in the cinema of his native land in the 1970s, collaborating with Mexican film greats Alberto Isaac and Alejandro Jodorowsky and taking up the auteur mantle himself with the comedy "El águila descalza" (1971). He drew greater acclaim for the 1974 subversive comedy "Inspector Calzonzin." The 1980s saw him don some memorable comedic supporting roles in U.S. films, notably an amiable jefe of a drug gang in "Romancing the Stone" (1984) and a hyperbolic desperado in "Three Amigos!" (1986). He established himself in the upper echelon of directors with the multiple-award-winning "Like Water for Chocolate" (1992), based on the novel by his wife Laura Esquivel. The success garnered him work in the U.S. helming the period romance "A Walk in the Clouds" (1995), the oddball ensemble comedy "Picking Up the Pieces" (2000) and the ambitious TV miniseries remake of the "The Magnificent Ambersons" (A&E, 2002). Back in his native country, Arau would helm the surreal, would-be epic "Zapata" (2004) to a storm of controversy. Building a legacy of iconoclastic and mystically-tinged movies, Arau would be credited as a prime catalyst in the re-establishment of a distinctive identity for Mexican film.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

2.
  Picking Up the Pieces (2000) Director
3.
  Walk in the Clouds, A (1995) Director
4.
5.
  Chido Guan (1984) Director
6.
  Mojado Power (1979) Director
7.
  Calzonzin Inspector (1974) Director
9.

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 I Heart Shakey (2012)
2.
 El Muerto (2007)
3.
 Committed (2000) Grampy
4.
 Picking Up the Pieces (2000) Dr Amado
5.
6.
 Stones For Ibarra (1988) Chuy Santos
7.
8.
 Walker (1987) Raousset
9.
 Three Amigos! (1986) El Guapo
10.
 Romancing the Stone (1984) Juan
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Born and Raised in Mexico City, Mexico
:
Studied medicine before switching to dance and drama
:
Worked as a professional classical dancer
1964:
Toured for four years in a one-man pantomime show "Happy Madness"
1967:
Feature directing debut, "The Bearfoot Eagle"
1969:
Feature acting debut, Sam Peckinpah's "The Wild Bunch"
1974:
Wrote, directed, produced and acted in "Calzonzin Inspector"
1984:
Landed a supporting role opposite Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito in the adventure comedy "Romancing the Stone"
1986:
Cast as notorious bandit El Guapo in the comedy feature "¡Three Amigos!"
1992:
Directed and produced the art-house hit "Like Water for Chocolate," adapted by his wife Laura Esquivel from her novel
1995:
Helmed the period romance "A Walk in the Clouds"
2000:
Directed the black comedy "Picking Up the Pieces," starring Woody Allen and Sharon Stone; film premiered on Cinemax in lieu of theatrical release
2002:
Helmed the three-hour A&E TV remake of "The Magnificent Ambersons," utilizing Orson Welles' screenplay adaptation; production edited as international theatrical release
2004:
Wrote and directed "Zapata ¿ El sueño del héroe," a biopic about Mexican Revolution hero Emiliano Zapata; also produced
2010:
Helmed the Italian romantic comedy "L'imbroglio nel lenzuolo"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Laura Esquivel. Author, screenwriter. Wrote the novel and screenplay of "Like Water for Chocolate"; second wife; divorced.

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