Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Miguelángel Suarez 1939-2009

I just recived word that actor and friend Miguelángel Suarez, passed away today at Metropolitan Hospital from complications stemming by his condition from cancer of the esophagus. He was 69 years old.

Suarez and his sister were born into a middle class family and raised in the Santurce section of San Juan, Puerto Rico. His father worked at a local supermarket] and his mother was a housewife. Once, when Suarez was only a child, he went with his mother to see a play. This was his first experience with the theater. Suarez was so impressed, after the curtains rose and the actors did their show, that he knew that he wanted to become an actor.

Suarez went to school and received his primary and secondary education in his hometown. When Suarez and his sister returned from school, their mother would either read stories or prepare little plays which helped to develop their imagination.

The supermarket, where the elder Suarez worked at was located next to the radio station "Radio El Mundo". Manuel Méndez Ballester, a well known playwright, who worked as a writer for the radio station, would frequently visit the supermarket. Suarez's father, soon became friends with Ballester. One day, in 1947, Ballester told the elder Saurez that he was in need of an 8-year-old for the protagonist role in a play that he wrote, because the person he had in mind didn't pass the audition. When the elder Suarez realized that the "part" paid more than what he was making working in the supermarket, he took Suarez to the audition the next day and that was the beginning of Suarez's acting career.

In 1956, when Suarez was 17 years old, he enlisted in the Navy and was assigned to the submarine division. He traveled the world and learned about different customs and cultures.

When Suarez was discharged from the Navy, he returned to Puerto Rico but found that the artistic class in the island was going through a crisis. Since he was unable to get an acting job, Suarez decided to try his luck elsewhere. He went to Argentina where he landed a role in the soap opera Amor Gitano (Gypsy Love). He later went to Venezuela where he became a renowned actor after participating in the soap operas Corazon de Diamante (Heart of Diamonds) and Laura Benson. In Puerto Rico he participated in many locally produced soap operas, among which was Vivir Para Ti (I live for You). In 1994 he was cast in Señora Tentacion (Mrs. Temptation) with Mexican movie star Lucía Méndez. This soap opera was a "hit" in the Caribbean, Central and South America and in Europe.

In 1971, Suarez was cast in the locally produced Woody Allen movie Bananas with Jacobo Morales. He then went to Hollywood and in 1981 landed a role in the movie Stir Crazy, directed by Sidney Poitier starring Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder.

Among the other movies in which Suarez has participated in are: La Gran Fiesta (1985); Isabel la Negra (1990) with Míriam Colón and Raúl Juliá; Havana (1990) produced by Sidney Pollack and Under Suspicion (2000) with Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, and Nydia Caro.

In 2007, Suárez performed one of the main roles in Jacobo Morales' new film, Ángel.

His final movie role came in 2008, when he played opposite Benicio Del Toro in Steven Sodenberg's "Che".

Miguelángel was an estmeed coleague, a pro-independence proponent, and a great actor. He will be sorely missed by all. His actions will echo in eternity.

Farewell Miguelángel!

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