The actor Ignacio López Tarso, the immortal Macario of Mexican gold cinema, dies

The interpreter has passed away at the age of 98. Life actor of Televisa, member of the Hollywood Academy, friend of Luis Buñuel, López Tarso has been immortalized in the history of Mexican cinema

The actor Ignacio López Tarso did not have to agree with death to be immortalized in the history of Mexican cinema. Unlike the character he played in the movie Macario, the artist built his career with more than fifty films, more than 100 plays and participation in television series. That 1959 film was one of the most important in his career. “Do Macario it would be the height of my good luck,” he said in an interview. The Mexican actor passed away this Saturday at the age of 98. Lifetime actor of Televisa, member of the Hollywood Academy and friend of Luis Buñuel, López Tarso has remained forever in the history of cinema along with myths such as María Félix, Pedro Infante or Jorge Negrete.

The first approach that López Tarso had to acting was at the age of eight, when his parents took him to a tent theater performance, as he told many times. When the light went out and the curtain opened, that child was shocked. Some time later, at the age of 24, he entered the School of Fine Arts Theater. But before he had gone through the seminary, where he entered only because of his interest in continuing to study – he never intended to be a priest – and because of military service. “Fortunately I got the machine gun company. Since the machine gun was mounted on a Jeep, I was always in the vehicle; my companions were on foot, ”he recounted in an interview a few days after his birthday in January.

In 1954, the actor had his first film appearance with a film that almost got him out of the profession, The unknown woman, by director Chano Urueta. “This type of cinema doesn’t interest me,” he told the producer. As he explained in an interview with journalist Joaquín López-Dóriga, his character would arrive at the morgue wearing a hat and a raincoat, see a corpse and say three words: “Yes, this is it.” “That was all my participation. What is this? I don’t even see myself or know who I am, ”he recalled.

They were the golden years of Mexican cinema, a time between the mid-30s and the 50s in which the industry shone with actors such as Dolores del Río, Carlos López Moctezuma, Pedro Armendáriz or Emilio The Indian Fernandez. López Tarso continued working in cinema despite that first bad experience and shared the cast with José Ángel Espinoza in the paper man (1963) or with Lucha Villa in The golden rooster (1964); was directed by Luis Buñuel in nazarin (1958); by Luis Alcoriza in tarahumara (1964) or by Roberto Gavaldón in The useless life of Pito Pérez (1969). Gavaldón had also directed it in Macariowhich was nominated for an Oscar in 1960.

“When we are born we already bring death hidden in the liver or in the stomach or here, in the heart, which one day is going to stop”, says the character of Macario in the film starring López Tarso, “it can also be sitting outside in some tree that hasn’t grown yet but will fall on you when you’re old.” “Since Macario I became the godson of death,” said the actor in an interview in which he recalled that when he was young he did not believe that he would see the turn of the millennium and that now he hoped to reach 100 years.

He always continued to work in theater, the “great pleasure” that the covid pandemic deprived him of. Recognition in this art had come to him in 1954 when he played the Mexica emperor in Montezuma II of the playwright Sergio Magaña. He soon became an essential actor for other Mexican playwrights such as Emilio Carballido and Luisa Josefina Hernández, and worked in productions of classical Spanish and English theater. Throughout his career, he also recited corridos about the Mexican Revolution and ventured, many years later, into musical comedy with the Mexican version of Hello Dolly! with Silvia Pinal.

During the last few years, one of the things he regretted the most was not going on stage. In addition, they complained that they did not call him to do television. “They think that at 97 I am a forgotten shell that does not get out of bed. Well no! I am very active, ”he assured. Until in April he spread the news that he would have a participation in the series. Neighborsfrom Televisa, where he played the father of Mrs. Lorena, played by Ana Bertha Espín.

Since 2016, he was a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. when the movie Rome, by Alfonso Cuarón, reached the Oscars, the interpreter said that he would give his vote to the Mexican film. This recognition was added to others, such as the Golden Gate Award, which he won twice; the Ariel de Oro, which he was awarded in 2007 for his film career, and the 2015 National Science and Arts Award. His artistic career is added to his union and political career. López Tarso was general secretary of the National Association of Actors and the Guild of Film Directors and Similar Unions; federal deputy from 1988 to 1991, and member of the Commission of Radio, Television and Cinematography of the Federal District and of Culture, among others.