Fernando Guillén Dies: Pedro Almodóvar Collaborator, Goya Award Winner

Fernando GuillenFernando Guillén dies: Pedro Almodóvar Collaborator, Goya Award winner for Don Juan in Hell

Fernando Guillén, a Spanish acting legend whose film, stage, and television career spanned close to six decades, died of cancer earlier today at a Madrid hospital. The Barcelona-born Guillén was 81 according to the daily El Mundo. (As per the IMDb, he was 80; born on Nov. 22, 1932.)

Curiously, Fernando Guillén became more active in Spanish cinema in the last three decades. Among his movies are three directed by Pedro Almodóvar: Law of the Desire (1987), in which Guillén plays the police investigator; the Academy Award-nominated Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988), as Carmen Maura's jerk ex-boyfriend; and the Oscar-winning All About My Mother (1999), as the Doctor featured in the play A Streetcar Named Desire starring Marisa Paredes as Blanche DuBois. (Correction: Penélope Cruz's father is played by Fernando Fernán Gómez.) [Photo: Fernando Guillén.]

Other Guillén movies include Pedro Costa's controversial El caso Almería (1984, “The Almeria Affair”), which dared to portray the Spanish military in a negative light, and featuring a young Antonio Banderas; the Pedro Olea-directed, Mario Camus-adapted Más allá del jardín (1996, “Beyond the Garden”), from a novel by Antonio Gala, and co-starring Concha Velasco; and a supporting role in Joaquín Oristrell's largely improvised comedy-drama With George Bush on My Mind / Los abajo firmantes (2003), which ridicules the Spanish government's decision to join the American-led invasion of Iraq.

Fernando Guillén: Goya winner

Fernando Guillén won the Spanish Academy's Best Actor Goya Award for his aging Don Juan in Gonzalo Suárez's Don Juan in Hell / Don Juan en los infiernos (1991). Additionally, Guillén was nominated for two other Goyas, both times in the Best Supporting Actor category: for Carlos Saura's The Dark Night of the Soul / La noche oscura (1990), starring Juan Diego, and Eduard Cortés' Otros días vendrán (2006, “Other Days Ahead”), starring All About My Mother's Cecilia Roth. The latter also earned Guillén a nomination for Spain's Cinema Writers Circle Awards.

Besides his work in front of the camera, Guillén also did voice work. He can be heard in the Spanish-language versions of movies such as Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amélie, Sam Raimi's Spider-Man, Wolfgang Petersen's Troy, and Andy and Lana Wachowski's The Matrix Reloaded.

Actors Cayetana Guillén Cuervo and Fernando Guillén Cuervo

Fernando Guillén was for a time married to actress Gemma Cuervo. Their two children, Cayetana Guillén Cuervo and Fernando Guillén Cuervo, became actors as well. Cayetana played the female lead in José Luis Garci's Oscar-nominated The Grandfather, in which her father has a supporting role as the mayor of small town on Spain's northern coast (Fernando Fernán Gómez has the title role in Garci's film). Among Fernando Guillén Cuervo's movies are Boca a Boca / Mouth to Mouth (1995), Bulgarian Lovers (2003), Quantum of Solace (2008), and Balada triste de trompeta / The Last Circus (2010).

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