Fernando Casado Arambillet (20 September 1917 – 9 March 1994), best known as Fernando Rey, was a Spanish film, theatre, and television actor, who worked in both Europe and the United States. A suave, international actor best known for his roles in the films of surrealist director Luis Buñuel (Tristana, 1970; Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, 1972; That Obscure Object of Desire, 1977) and as the drug lord Alain Charnier in The French Connection (1971) and French Connection II (1975), he appeared in more than 150 films over half a century.
Fernando Casado Arambillet
20 September 1917
A Coruña, Spain
|Died||9 March 1994 76) (aged|
Mabel Karr (m. 1960)
|Awards||Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actor|
1977 Elisa, vida mía
The debonair Rey was described by French Connection producer Philip D'Antoni as "the last of the Continental guys". He achieved his greatest fame after he turned 50: "Perhaps it is a pity that my success came so late in life", he told the Los Angeles Times. "It might have been better to have been successful while young, like El Cordobés in the bullring. Then your life is all before you to enjoy it."
In 1936, Rey began his career in films as an extra, sometimes even getting credited. It was then that he chose his stage name, Fernando Rey. He kept his first name, but took his mother's second surname, Rey, a short surname with a clear meaning ("Rey" is Spanish for "King").
In 1944, his first speaking role was the Duke of Alba in José López Rubio's Eugenia de Montijo. Four years later, he acted the part of Felipe I el Hermoso, King of Spain, in the Spanish cinema blockbuster Locura de amor.
This was the start of a prolific career in film (he played in around two hundred films), radio, theatre, and television. Rey was also a great dubbing actor in Spanish television. His voice was considered intense and personal, and he became the narrator of important Spanish movies including Luis García Berlanga's Bienvenido Mr. Marshall (1953), Ladislao Vajda's Marcelino Pan y Vino (1955), and even the 1992 re-dubbed version of Orson Welles' Don Quixote. In fact, Rey acted in four different film versions of Don Quixote in different roles, if one counts the Welles version (for which Rey supplied offscreen narration in the final scene).
His brilliant performance in the role of a demotivated and doubtful actor in Juan Antonio Bardem's Cómicos (1954), while showing him for the first time in a successful lead part, paradoxically, as he saw himself as the real incarnation of the role, plunged him in a professional depression, of which he did not emerge until his collaboration with Luis Buñuel several years later. However, in the short term, Buñuel's disconcerting public remark on Rey's performance in another of Bardem's film, Sonatas (1959), "I love how this actor plays a corpse", could only increase Rey's apprehensions. Nevertheless, eventually Rey became Buñuel's preferred actor and closest friend.
Rey's first international performance was in The Night Heaven Fell (Les bijoutiers du clair de lune) a 1958 French-Italian film directed by Roger Vadim, where he acted alongside Stephen Boyd, Marina Vlady and Brigitte Bardot. Previously he had played in an American TV series, It happens in Spain, the story of the exploits of a private detective, operating out in Spain, who helps distressed American tourists.
In 1961 Rey played in a European Western, The Savage Guns, and as the popularity of that genre increased during that decade appeared in some other movies, including the political The Price of Power (1969), the bizarre cult classic Compañeros, and two sequels of The Magnificent Seven, namely Return of the Seven (1966) and Guns of the Magnificent Seven (1969).
It was his work with Orson Welles and Luis Buñuel during the 1960s and 1970s that made Rey internationally prominent; becoming the first 'international Spanish actor.' Rey starred in Buñuel's Viridiana (1961), Tristana (1970), The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie) (1972) (a surreal movie which received the 1972 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film) and That Obscure Object of Desire (1977). For Welles, Rey performed in two completed films, Chimes at Midnight (1966) and The Immortal Story (1968).
Rey played memorably the French villain Alain Charnier in William Friedkin's The French Connection (1971). Initially, Friedkin intended to cast Francisco Rabal as Charnier, but could not remember his name after seeing him in Luis Buñuel's Belle de jour; he only knew the person he had in mind was a Spanish actor who had worked with Buñuel. Rey was hired after he flew to New York to be met by a surprised Friedkin. Rey's English and French were not perfect, but Friedkin discovered that Rabal spoke neither of them, and opted to keep Rey, who reprised the role in the less successful sequel, French Connection II (1975).
Along 1970s and 1980s Rey played in many international co-productions, some of his appearances being cameos. These films include Lewis Gilbert's The Adventurers (1970), Mauro Bolognini's Drama of the Rich (1974), Vincente Minnelli's A Matter of Time (1976), Valerio Zurlini's The Desert of the Tartars (1976), Robert Altman's Quintet (1979), J. Lee Thompson's Caboblanco (1980) and Frank Perry's Monsignor (1982). One of Rey's greater successes in these years was Elisa, vida mía, a 1977 Spanish drama film written and directed by Carlos Saura.
On his work in Stuart Rosenberg's Voyage of the Damned (1976), Rey once said: "I played [Cuban] president Brú; a cameo. They paid me a lot of money for less than six hours of shooting, in the Barcelona Stock Exchange building, with James Mason. I got more money than Orson Welles, who played a great role ...".
Back in Spain
In later years, Rey preferred to work in Spain, with successes as Francisco Regueiro's Padre Nuestro (1985), José Luis Cuerda's El bosque animado (1987) and Jaime de Armiñán's Al otro lado del túnel (1992) as well as his portrayal of Don Quixote, alongside Alfredo Landa as Sancho Panza, in the memorable Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón's El Quijote de Miguel de Cervantes (1991) for the Spanish National TV.
His last appearance on the screen was in a supporting role in the Spanish black comedy El cianuro ... ¿sólo o con leche? (Cyanide ... pure or with milk?) (1994).
Recognition and awards
In 1971 Fernando Rey won the best actor award in the San Sebastián International Film Festival, for his performance in Rafael Gil's La duda, based, like Viridiana and Tristana, on a novel by Benito Pérez Galdós.
Another of the successes of Rey-Buñuel's collaboration was That Obscure Object of Desire (1977), nominated for another Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It was also nominated for a Golden Globe in the same category, though the movie failed to win either. Rey's voice had to be dubbed by Michel Piccoli.
In Lina Wertmüller's Academy Award-nominated film, Seven Beauties (1975), Rey played the role of Pedro the anarchist who, as a friend of the protagonist and fellow prisoner Pasqualino Settebellezze, chooses a gruesome suicide, rather than spend another day in a Nazi concentration camp.
In 1988 he again won the best actor award in the San Sebastián International Film Festival, this time for his performance in two films: Francisco Regueiro's Diario de invierno and Antonio Isasi-Isasmendi's El Aire de un Crimen (The Hint of a Crime).
Fernando Rey was also awarded the gold medal of the Spanish Movie Arts and Sciences Academy.
Personal life and death
In 1992 he became chairman of the Academia de las Artes y las Ciencias Cinematográficas de España succeeding Antonio Giménez-Rico. He died of bladder cancer in Madrid on 9 March 1994.
He was survived by his wife, who died on 1 May 2001 at Hospital Ramon Cajal from a generalized infection. On 25 September 2018 their son Fernando Casado confirmed she died from a sharp mediastinitis during the filming of a tv series named El Secreto.
- Fazendo Fitas (1935)
- Nuestra Natacha (1936)
- Los cuatro robinsones (1939)
- Leyenda rota (1940) as Extra (uncredited)
- El rey que rabió (1940) as Extra (uncredited)
- La Dolores (1940) as Extra (uncredited)
- La gitanilla (1940) as Extra (uncredited)
- ¡A mí no me mire usted! (1941) as Viajero (uncredited)
- Escuadrilla (1941) as Extra (uncredited)
- Eugenia de Montijo (1944) as Duque de Alba
- Thirsty Land (1945)
- Last Stand in the Philippines (1945) as Juan Chamizo
- Estaba escrito (1945)
- White Mission (1946) as Carlos
- The Prodigal Woman (1946) as José
- Don Quixote (1947) as Sansón Carrasco
- The Holy Queen (1947) as Infante Alfonso
- The Princess of the Ursines (1947) as Felipe V
- Fuenteovejuna (1947) as Frondoso
- La próxima vez que vivamos (1948) as Óscar Mulden
- Madness for Love (1948) as Felipe el Hermoso
- Mare Nostrum (1948) as Ulises / Capitán Ferragut
- Si te hubieses casado conmigo (1948) as Enrique Marín
- Sabela de Cambados (1949) as Narrator (voice, uncredited)
- Noche de Reyes (1949)
- Aventuras de Juan Lucas (1949) as Juan Lucas
- Agustina of Aragon (1950) as General Palafox / Lorenzo, el pastor
- Black Sky (1951) as Ángel López Veiga
- La trinca del aire (1951) (voice)
- Our Lady of Fatima (1951) as Lorenzo Duarte
- Devil's Roundup (1952) as Atracador
- La laguna negra (1952) as Miguel
- Les amants de Tolède (1953) (voice)
- Cabaret (1953) as Carlos Jiménez
- Welcome Mr. Marshall! (1953) as Narrador (voice)
- Airport (1953) as Fernando
- Crimen en el entreacto (1954)
- The Mayor of Zalamea (1954) as El Rey
- Rebellion (1954) as Capellán
- Comedians (1954) as Miguel Solís
- Miracle of Marcelino (1955) as Narrator Monk
- Billete para Tánger (1955) as Inspector
- La vida en un bloc (1956) (voice, uncredited)
- Una aventura de Gil Blas (1956) as Capitaine Rolando
- Playa prohibida (1956)
- Don Juan (1956) as Don Iñigo
- Calle Mayor (1956) as Federico Rivas (voice, uncredited)
- The Singer from Mexico (1956) as Cartoni - l'impresario (uncredited)
- Faustina (1957) as Valentín
- Horas de pánico (1957)
- Madrugada (1957) as Mauricio (voice, uncredited)
- Un marido de ida y vuelta (1957) as Paco
- Las últimas banderas (1957)
- El andén (1957) as Don Enrique
- The Night Heaven Fell (1958) as Tío (alternate version)
- La venganza (1958) as Escritor
- ¡Viva lo imposible! (1958) as Narrator (voice, uncredited)
- Parque de Madrid (1959) as Don Luis
- Sonatas (1959) as Capitán Casares
- The Last Days of Pompeii (1959) as Arbaces, High Priest of Isis
- Las dos y media... y veneno (1959) as Ramón
- Mission in Morocco (1959) as Princ Achmed
- La rana verde (1960) as Narrator (voice)
- Culpable (1960) as Mario
- Vida sin risas (1960)
- Don Lucio y el hermano pío (1960) as Señor Aguilar
- The Revolt of the Slaves (1960) as Valerio
- Teresa (1961) as Profesor Héctor de la Barrera
- Goliath Against the Giants (1961) as Bokan, i usurpario
- Viridiana (1961, directed by Luis Buñuel) as Don Jaime
- Fantasmas en la casa (1961) as Raimundo Rodríguez de Toledo
- Siempre es domingo (1961) as Juez Andonelli
- My Son, the Hero (1962) as Sumo Sacerdote / High Priest
- Tierra brutal (1962) as Don Hernán
- Face of Terror (1962) as Dr. Charles Taylor
- Rogelia (1962) as Máximo García
- El valle de las espadas (1963) as Ramiro II, rey de León
- The Running Man (1963) as Police Official
- Shéhérazade (1963)
- The Ceremony (1963) as Sanchez
- Backfire (1964) as Commissioner of Beirut harbor
- El espontáneo (1964) as El Rico Pintor
- Los Palomos (1964) as Don Alberto
- Fin de semana (1964) as Entrevistador
- La nueva Cenicienta (1964) as Juan Echarre
- La hora incógnita (1964) as Sacerdote
- El señor de La Salle (1964) as Luis XIV
- Dulcinea del Toboso (1964)
- El Diablo también llora (1965) as Ramòn Quiroga
- Son of a Gunfighter (1965) as Don Pedro Fortuna
- Legacy of the Incas (1965) as President Castillo
- I grandi condottieri (1965) as Lo straniero / The Stranger - Angel of the Lord
- Two Mafiosi Against Goldfinger (1965) as Goldginger
- Espionage in Lisbon (1965) as Agent of the New World Organization
- El marqués (1965) as Publisher Ramos
- Chimes at Midnight (1965) as Worcester
- Cartes sur table (1966) as Sir Percy
- Zampo y yo (1966) as Luis 'Zampo'
- El Greco (1966, directed by Luciano Salce) as Felipe II
- Return of the Seven (1966) as Priest
- Navajo Joe (1966, directed by Sergio Corbucci) as Rev. Rattigan
- The Desperate Ones (1967) as Ibram
- Le vicomte règle ses comptes (1967) as Marco Demoygne
- Run Like a Thief (1967) as Col. Romero
- Cervantes (1967, directed by Vincent Sherman) as Philip II
- Love in Flight (1967) as Carlos Mª Saldiez
- The Immortal Story (1968, directed by Orson Welles) as Merchant telling Clay's history (uncredited)
- Villa Rides (1968) as Fuentes
- Guns of the Magnificent Seven (1969) as Quintero
- Un sudario a la medida (1969) as Marco Augusto
- The Price of Power (1969, directed by Tonino Valerii) as Pinkerton
- Land Raiders (1970) as Priest
- The Adventurers (1970, directed by Lewis Gilbert) as Jaime Xenos
- Tristana (1970, directed by Luis Buñuel) as Don Lope
- Aoom (1970)
- Chicas de club (1970) as Padrino Elisa
- La collera del vento (1970, directed by Mario Camus) as Don Antonio
- Compañeros (1970, directed by Sergio Corbucci) as Prof. Xantos
- Historia de una traición (1971) as Luis
- Cold Eyes of Fear (1971, directed by Enzo G. Castellari) as Judge Bedell
- A Town Called Bastard (1971, directed by Robert Parrish) as Old blind man
- The Light at the Edge of the World (1971, directed by Kevin Billington) as Captain Moriz
- The French Connection (1971, directed by William Friedkin) as Alain Charnier
- This Kind of Love (1972) as Giovanna's father
- Antony and Cleopatra (1972) as Lepidus
- The Two Faces of Fear (1972) as Inspector Nardi
- Bianco, rosso e... (1972, directed by Alberto Lattuada) as Jefe médico
- The Doubt (1972) as Don Rodrigo - Conde de Albrit
- The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972, directed by Luis Buñuel) as Don Rafael Acosta
- Tarot (1973) as Arthur
- High Crime (1973, directed by Enzo G. Castellari) as Cafiero
- One Way (1973) as Mr. David
- La Chute d'un corps (1973) as M. Nansoit
- White Fang (1973, directed by Lucio Fulci) as Father Oatley
- Pena de muerte (1974) as Oscar Bataille
- ¿... Y el prójimo? (1974) as Luis Ignacio
- Dites-le avec des fleurs (1974) as Jacques Berger
- Drama of the Rich (1974, directed by Mauro Bolognini) as Il professore Murri
- La Femme aux bottes rouges (1974, directed by Juan Luis Buñuel) as Perrot
- Corruzione al palazzo di giustizia (1975, directed by Marcello Aliprandi) as Judge Vanini
- French Connection II (1975, directed by John Frankenheimer) as Alain Charnier
- Seven Beauties (1975, directed by Lina Wertmüller) as Pedro the Anarchist Prisoner
- Illustrious Corpses (1976, directed by Francesco Rosi) as Security Minister
- Manuela (1976) as Don Ramón
- A Matter of Time (1976, directed by Vincente Minnelli) as Charles Van Maar
- The Desert of the Tartars (1976, directed by Valerio Zurlini) as Colonel Nathanson
- Voyage of the Damned (1976, directed by Stuart Rosenberg) as President Bru
- Striptease (1976) as Alfonso
- El segundo poder (1976) as Cardenal
- Jesus of Nazareth (TV miniseries) (1977, directed by Franco Zeffirelli) as Gaspar
- Elisa, vida mía (1977, directed by Carlos Saura) as Luis
- The Assignment (1977, directed by Mats Arehn) as Roberto Bidara
- Eyes Behind the Wall (1977) as Ivano
- That Obscure Object of Desire (1977, directed by Luis Buñuel) as Mathieu
- Le Dernier Amant romantique (1978) as Max
- Rebeldía (1978) as Don Luis
- Traffic Jam (1979, directed by Luigi Comencini) as Carlo
- Quintet (1979, directed by Robert Altman) as Grigor
- Caboblanco (1980, directed by J. Lee Thompson) as Police Captain Terredo
- The Crime of Cuenca (1980) as Contreras
- Memorias de Leticia Valle (1980) as Don Fernando Valle
- The Lady of the Camellias (1981, directed by Mauro Bolognini) as Count Stackelberg
- Honey (1981) as Editor
- Chaste and Pure (1981, directed by Salvatore Samperi) as Antonio Di Maggio
- Trágala, perro (1981) as Juez
- Cercasi Gesù (1982) as Don Filippo
- A Estrangeira (1982) as André
- Monsignor (1982, directed by Frank Perry) as Santoni
- Bearn o la sala de las muñecas (1983) as Don Antonio
- The Hit (1984, directed by Stephen Frears) as Senior Policeman
- A Strange Passion (1984) as Piacchi
- A.D. (1985, directed by Stuart Cooper) as Seneca
- Black Arrow (1985, directed by John Hough) as Warwick
- Padre nuestro (1985) as Cardenal
- Rustlers' Rhapsody (1985, directed by Hugh Wilson) as Railroad Colonel
- The Knight of the Dragon (1985, directed by Fernando Colomo) as Fray Lupo
- Saving Grace (1986, directed by Robert M. Young) as Cardinal Stefano Biondi
- Elogio della pazzia (1986)
- Commando Mengele (1987) as Ohmei Felsberg
- Hôtel du Paradis (1987, directed by Jana Boková) as Joseph
- Mi general (1987) as Director Almirante
- El bosque animado (1987, directed by José Luis Cuerda) as Sr. D'Abondo
- The Tunnel (1988) as Allende
- Pasodoble (1988) as Don Nuño
- Moon over Parador (1988, directed by Paul Mazursky) as Alejandro
- Diario de invierno (1988) as Padre
- El aire de un crimen (1988) as Fayón
- Esmeralda Bay (1989) as Ramos
- Naked Tango (1990, directed by Leonard Schrader) as Juez Torres
- Breath of Life (1990, directed by Beppe Cino) as Gran Magno
- La batalla de los Tres Reyes (1990) as Papa Pablo V
- Don Quixote (1992) as Closing Scene Narrator (voice, uncredited)
- 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992, directed by Ridley Scott) as Marchena
- Después del sueño (1992) as Ramiro Lanza
- La marrana (1992) as Fray Juan
- L'Atlantide (1992, directed by Bob Swaim) as Father Mauritius
- Madregilda (1993) as Padre de Franco
- On the Far Side of the Tunnel (1994, directed by Jaime de Armiñán) as Miguel
- El cianuro... ¿solo o con leche? (1994) as Gregorio (final film role)
- Olive, Myrna (20 March 1994). "Fernando Rey, 76; Debonair Film Star". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
- "William Friedkin on Casting Fernando Rey". YouTube. AFISilverTheatre's channel. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
- Cebollada, Pascual, Fernando Rey, Madrid 1992 page 299.
- "Muere la actriz argentina Mabel Karr, viuda del célebre actor Fernando Rey". Hola! (in Spanish). 2 May 2001. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
- Ferrer Molina, Vicente (14 January 2016). Buenas noches y saludos cordiales: José María García. Historia de un periodista irrepetible. Córner. p. 358. ISBN 9788494425646.
- "Fernando Rey, nuevo presidente de la Academia del Cine de España". El País (in Spanish). Madrid: Prisa. 14 December 1992. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
- "Fernando Rey dies of cancer". Star-News. Madrid. 10 March 1994. p. 22. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
- "Muere la actriz Mabel Karr, viuda de Fernando Rey". ABC. Madrid: Vocento. 1 May 2001. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
- Migelez, Xabier; Madrid, José (25 September 2018). "El hijo de Fernando Rey, contra el debate de 'Las Campos'". El Confidencial (in Spanish). Titania Compañía Editorial, S.L. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
- Migelez, Xabier (1 October 2018). "La abogada Paloma Zorrilla se disculpa por una afirmación errónea en 'Las Campos'". El Confidencial (in Spanish). Titania Compañía Editorial, S.L. Retrieved 25 July 2019.