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Author Topic: Member Interesting, Hair Raising, Humorous or Otherwise Unusual Experiences  (Read 2906 times)

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AGelbert

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My Cousin, The Movie Star With a Conscience.

He acted with Meryl Streep, Elizabeth Taylor, Harrison Ford and other top movie stars. He began in theater and went on to movies later in life.

I will talk about the stuff not published. Raulito, as he was called in the family, was a very intelligent and talented man. He could sing beautifully and he could leave rolling on the floor with his jokes. They guy was an absolute riot to be around.

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I remember I was like five or six years old; I played the devil. That was my first role.

But above and beyond that, he had a heart for the poor and downtrodden in this world. He never ceased to do whatever he could to help them. But first he had to overcome the obstacles placed in his path to stardom.

The first obstacle was his parents. My old man was really tight with his old man (they were first cousins). They both had a super macho outlook on life, liked to clown around at parties, had talent for singing, playing the guitar ( my father) and telling great jokes (Raulito's father).

They were both womanizers while being strict disciplinarians with their children (quite common in Spanish culture). His old man married a rich girl (only 15 at the time!) so he was basically set for life. His wife was a devout Catholic church goer like my mother.

That made my mom and his mom great friends too. They were both stoic ladies that looked the other way while their "childish" husbands fooled around. Raulito was several years older than me and I grew up mostly in the states side so I didn't get to know him until I was around 15 when the first tragedy in Raulito's life occurred.

At the time, his mom wanted him to be a priest and his dad wanted him to be a lawyer. Raulito tried the seminary but dropped out, to his mother's chagrin. He was faced with the alternative of becoming a lawyer. Being a top student, he could have become whatever he wanted, but he wanted to be an actor.

His parents were not having THAT! It's okay to express talent in singing, dancing, telling jokes and general enetertainment purposes at parties, but upper crust Spanish society frowns on the acting profession as one for low life morality free bohemians. The upper crust does all THEIR morality free stuff out of the public view, you see. It's a scandal to have a serious boy "doing stuff" in the theater or movies. So there! 

But the excesses of Raulito's dad were creating great stresses for his mom. She was very straight laced and Raulito's dad, unlike my dad, was too damned indiscrete about his philandering.

Then Rafaelito, Raulito's young brother about my age, was killed in a car accident.  The driver and front seat passenger survived unscathed. The driver was speeding on the, just inaugurated, new expressway and lost control of the car. It slide sideways into a concrete base light pole which split the car in two. The two rear passengers were killed instantly. Rafaelito was one of them.

His parents received a life insurance payment of around $20,000. Raulito's dad (Raul) chartered a mediterranian cruise on a sailboat with an all woman crew for a month or so for about $15,000 (1962 approximate time) to "get over his grief".  He left his wife, two daughters and Raulito in Puerto Rico to get over their grief in church. WTF!!?

I am 100% certain that Raulito, who was very close with his mom and loved Rafaelito dearly, was not pleased. Raulito then made the decison to discard the desires of his old man (that Raulito study law) and decided to become an actor, even if he might go hungry doing it.

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Instead of acting in court, I decided to act onstage.
   

There is something else you should know that never made the papers. Raulito's first fiance was also killed in a car accident within a year or so of his bother's death {head on collision by drunk driver). I never met her or his first wife. I met his second wife in 1987.

So, when Raulito began his acting career, he was already quite familiar with strong emotional pain. He was a method actor. If he was going to play a lawyer, he would study law. If he was going to play a hair stylist, he would work in a hair salon for a while. That's the way method actors prepare for roles. I don't know if his tragic experiences influenced him to become a method actor or not but I'm certain they indirectly helped him in his profession, in addition to making him a stronger person in the face of adversity.

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We tend to think of meditation in only one way. But life itself is a meditation.

He got his (very slow) start in theater in New York City. It turns out he had done the math on the high probability of having absolutely no problems with weight gain as an actor.  ;D

Hunger was his constant companion for about a decade. He told me face to face how that went many years later (1986). I said, "You sure had a lot of guts to do that. I don't think I could have.". He just smiled and said it worked out and he would have rather died than do anything else so he just kept at it. Here's a famous quote of his about his life as a struggling theater actor:

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Sometimes we used to eat once a day... chicken backs. You could buy four chicken backs for a quarter.

But he knew acting was his true vocation.

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Thank God for the theater.

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I knew there was something special about the theater for me something beyond the regular reality, something that I could get into and transcend and become something other than myself.

Thanks to a good (and influential) man in the USA, he managed to avoid a lot of the stereotype latino 'dumb guy' or 'low life crook' roles that are the typical Hollywood fare for minorities. Those of us who KNOW HOW IT WORKS in the USA, understand why this is done (i.e. to give most Americans the wrong idea about intelligence and ability in minorities   ). We understand that is quite deliberate. Raulito knew the score. He wasn't going to help propagandize whitey for money. Of course that made it quite a bit more difficult to make money for long time.

When he finally did hit the big time, he used his celebrity in the service of the downtrodden.

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Just the fact that I've lived more, and I'm not concerned about when I am going to get my next job anymore. This business is free-lance and it's not a steady job. Younger, I would have been more preoccupied with myself.

It was a very profound experience, getting in touch with that part of us, in all of us human beings, that is committed beyond yourself to the point of giving everything you have, including your life, for other people, for your fellow man.

There are 38,000 people dying of hunger each day and most are children. And, being a celebrity, I communicate about it as much as I can.
   
When he played a Catholic Bishop that was assassinated, his mom (and mine) were ecstatic! His mom got to see her boy dressed as priest! By that time she had long been (SORT OF - see Catholic style legal separation with a promise to not remarry - she kept it) ) divorced from his dad although she would never remarry due to her Catholic religion.

Raulito put his heart and soul into that role. When he is ranting in the movie, it reminded me of hearing  my dad (or his dad) go on a tirade of righteous indignation (but my dad and his really had no grounds to do so - they were good actors too! ).

The movie was banned in El Salvador because it told the TRUTH about how Predatory Capitalism "does what it does" there. Raulito was dead serious in agreeing with what his character's role was saying. It was an  easy role for him to method act into because he shared the same ideals.

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I have a very deep care for Latin America, and, of course, for what was going on in El Salvador.

His dad died in a car accident while in a drunken stupor in the late 1980's. I went to see him in the hospital. He was brain dead. They pulled the plug on him after a week or so. The guy just could not stop the heavy drinking and womanizing. So it goes. :(

But don't get the idea that Raulito was this morose, serious ranting type (like me!). This guy could make a joke out of ANYTHING! That look of his when he puts on that sly smile and looks to the one side like a naughty boy enjoying an inside joke is a TRADEMARK inside our family!  ;)  We all do it!

But of course, he did it better (pictures at the end of the article will illustrate "the look"  ). 

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You have to have the right atmosphere, really be in the right mood to really fully enjoy a Cohiba.

A cigar is as good as memories that you have when you smoked it.

Maybe it's like becoming one with the cigar. You lose yourself in it; everything fades away: your worries, your problems, your thoughts. They fade into the smoke, and the cigar and you are at peace.

Why pay $100 on a therapy session when you can spend $25 on a cigar? Whatever it is will come back; so what, smoke another one.

I even smoke in bed. Imagine smoking a cigar in bed, reading a book. Next to your bed, there's a cigar table with a special cigar ashtray, and your wife is reading a book on how to save the environment...


Don't get the wrong idea from his joking. He was quite militant about protecting the environment.   

Raulito became a multimillionaire movie star.

With his fame he was able to pick roles that defended the downtrodden and the environment.


I am certain he angered quite a few murderers in the service of profit over people and planet.    ;D

When he was doing "Kiss of the Spider Woman", he had to get skinny as a rail for his part in prison. He also had to kiss a man.  :P Around that time (1987) his second wife had their second child. He gave a party at the Berwind Country Club in Puerto Rico for the family. I guess it was a kind of a "home town boy makes good" thing. He and his wife showed off the new baby boy that was about six months old.

As is the habit of menfolk worldwide, later on, and with a few drinks in us, we gathered around him at the private bar in the area he had rented for the party. I asked him what was it like to work with Liz Taylor and Richard Burton a long time ago. He said they are quite different off screen and were quite friendly with him throughout the filming. They treated and respected him as a colleague. 

Then one of my cousins (A.A.) looked at him rather crossly and said, Raulito, what's this business of kissing an HOMBRE? Raulito said, "It's just acting. It was part of the role".  A.A. pondered that a few seconds, ran his hand over his head and said, "Well, then I guess it's okay, but I sure wouldn't do it!". Everybody laughed and Raulito lifted his eyebrows and gave "the look". Then we really roared!

My brother Larry, always interested in the money angle, commented to Raulito that it must be great to be rolling in the green with all that movie money and asked him what his living expenses were. Raulito quoted a figure that amounted to several hundred thousand a year. Larry asked, "How come so much?". Raulito said he supported several movements for people and the environment that were quite costly.

He added that his lifestyle also required very expensive hotels when travelling or vacationing to keep from getting mobbed. He had to support a team of handlers that took care of fan mail, security, threats, scheduling and, of course, his agent. It goes with the territory of fame.

The last time I spoke to him was in January of 1990. He called the funeral parlor where my mother's body was being viewed and I happened to answer the phone.

I realized then what a hassle it was to be him on certain occasions when my "daughter" and one my nieces rushed to the phone when they realized Raulito was on the phone. They were begging me to ask him to send them an autographed picture. Such lack of decorum. It was their grandmother's funeral and my mother's funeral. So it goes.

I apologized to him and passed on the request. He said, no problem and not to worry about it. He would send the pictures to Sophia and Renee. I thanked him for the condolences, promised to pass them on to the others and we said goodbye.

A funny guy with a huge heart that I will always remember.


His name is Raul Juliá. The last name is NOT pronounced Júlia (like Julie). The accent goes on the last letter. 


Raul Juliá quotes source: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/rauljulia320711.html

Biography:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ra%C3%BAl_Juli%C3%A1

He could play a good guy as well as a bad guy and do great comedy (Movie pictures below). 



Obit with a tribute


THE LOOK    



The Adams Family Character





THE LOOK    















Bishop Oscar Romero played by Raulito

Quote

It was a very profound experience, getting in touch with that part of us, in all of us human beings, that is committed beyond yourself to the point of giving everything you have, including your life, for other people, for your fellow man.  Raul Juliá Arcelay

« Last Edit: February 21, 2015, 05:38:51 pm by AGelbert »
Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23

 

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