In Memoriam: Federico Luppi (1936 - 2017)


Argentine actor Federico Luppi, one of Latin America's foremost actors, died at the age of 81 in Buenos Aires this Friday due to complications from a blood clot after a fall he had last April. He had a long, successful and prolific career with over one hundred films in Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Spain, and the United States, many of them in the leading role, and working with numerous filmmakers including Leonardo Favio, Adolfo Aristaraín, Fernando Ayala, Marcelo Piñeyro, Guillermo del Toro, and John Sayles.

Born Federico José Luppi Malacalza on February 23, 1936 in Ramallo—a small town about 200 kilometers from Buenos Aires—he started his acting career in 1965 in the film Pajarito Gómez by Rodolfo Kuhn. Shortly after he was cast in the leading role of Aniceto in Leonardo Favio's 1967 classic film The Romance of Aniceto and FrancescaEl romance del Aniceto y la Francisca,  

The success of Favio's film launched his fruitful acting career, which wouldn't stop for the rest of his life. In addition to cinema, he also had a prolific career in theater and television. Some of his key roles in Argentine cinema were Triángulo de cuatro (1975) and Plata Dulce (1982) directed by Fernando Ayala; in Héctor Olivera's La Patagonia rebelde (1974) and No habrá más pena ni olvido (1983); and Tiempo de revancha (1981), Un lugar en el mundo (1992) and Lugares comunes (2002), directed by Aristarain.


In 1993 he starred in the Mexican horror film Cronos, the debut feature by Guillermo del Toro, which brought him international fame after the film premiered in the Critics' Week section of the Cannes Film Festival, winning the Grand Prize. Luppi would work again with del Toro in The Devil's Backbone / El espinazo del diablo (2001) and in the Academy Award winning film Pan's Labyrinth / El laberinto del fauno (2006).

Luppi made his English-language debut in the role of Dr. Fuentes in the 1997 film Men with Guns by John Sayles. More recently he also participated in Patricia Riggen's The 33, the drama about the Chilean miners. He made his directorial debut with the 2005 Spanish production Pasos, written by his wife Susana Hornos.

Luppi received many awards and accolades including the Silver Shell for Best Actor at the 1997 edition of the San Sebastian Film Festival for his performance in Aristarain's Martín (Hache); the Best Actor Award at the 2001 Mar del Plata Film Festival for his role in Rosarigasinos by Rodrigo Grande, as well as two nominations for Spain's Goya Awards. He also received a record-breaking of seven Silver Condor Awards presented by the Argentine Film Critics Association, with 11 nominations total.

Some of his most recent credits include the 2016 Peruvian film Magallanes by Salvador del Solar and Nieve negra / Black snow by Martín Hodara, which premiered this year. Luppi's last performance was for Marcelo Schapces Necronomicón: el libro del infierno, which is currently in post-production.