In Memoriam: Mexican Actor Fernando Luján (1938 - 2019)

Veteran film, television, and theater actor Fernando Luján died yesterday at the age of 79 in his home at Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, due to respiratory problems derived from a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A prolific actor, he participated in over 90 films in a career that spanned over seven decades.

Son of actors Alejandro Ciangherotti and Mercedes Soler—who in turn was part of the Soler family, a dynasty of Mexican actors, Luján (neé Fernando Ciangherotti Díaz) was born on August 23, 1938 in Bogotá, Colombia, where his father was performing as part of a theater tour. He made his acting debut in the early fifties during the so-called Golden Era of Mexican Cinema in productions directed by Julio Bracho and Alejandro Galindo.

His role as Ricardo Rodríguez as an absent-minded and reckless cadet in the 1954 Pedro Infante starrer El mil amores launched his film career and he went to act in numerous films through the rest of the fifties, sixties and seventies, becoming one of the leading young actors of his generation.

During the eighties, coinciding with a big drop in the production of local cinema, Luján had a fruitful and successful career in soap operas. It’s in the late nineties when we returns to cinema and since then he played his most iconic roles including the title role as in Arturo Ripstein’s 1999 film adaptation of Gabriel García Márquez’s acclaimed novel No One Writes to the Colonel /El coronel no tiene quién le escriba also starring Marisa Paredes and Salma Hayek; and the leading role as the widow José Kurtz in Mariana Chenillo’s 2008 Jewish dramedy Nora’s Will / Cinco días sin Nora, for which he won the Ariel Award for Best Actor.

Other credits include The Tiger of Santa Julia / El Tigre de Santa Julia (Alejandro Gamboa, 2002), Carnival of Sodom / El Carnaval de Sodoma (Arturo Ripstein, 2006), The Last Call / Tercera llamada (Francisco Franco, 2013) , and Marco Polo Constandse’s Marry if You Can / Cásese quien pueda (2014). He was last seen in last year’s American rom-com remake Overboard, starring Eugenio Derbez, Anna Faris and Eva Longoria.