Argentine actor Alberto de Mendoza, one of the heartthrobs of Spanish movies and the leading man in close to 200 films co-starring such actresses as Carmen Sevilla and Sara Montiel, died Monday, December 12, 2011, in Madrid, Spain, the AISGE performing artists association said. He was 88.
De Mendoza (below) played the Rasputin-like mad monk named Pujardov in the 1972′s film, Horror Express (Pánico en el transiberiano), that combined horror- sci-fi genres.
Besides Alberto de Mendoza, the movie starred both Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing for the lead roles, and American actor Telly Savalas, as well.
Since the film Horror Express is in the public domain, it has been entirely posted on YouTube.
The plot to Horror Express involves a group of people aboard the Trans-Sirberian Express, including an English anthropologist who is transporting a frozen monster (a Siberian Snowman?) he unearthed in Manchuria. He believes it may be the “Missing Link.” Horror strikes when during the trip the hairy monster thaws out and starts to kill off passengers. It was also released as Panic in the Trans-Siberian Train.
Alberto de Mendoza was cremated Tuesday, December 13, 2011, at Almudena Cemetery in Madrid, following his earlier admission several days ago to La Luz Clinic with breathing failure.
The star of films like “Tapas,” “Una Abuelita de antes de la Guerra” (Pre-war Grandma), “Filomena Marturano” and “Zorrita Martinez”, Alberto Manuel Rodriguez Gallego Gonzalez de Mendoza, a Buenos Aires native from the Belgrano neighborhood and a pioneer among Argentine actors who made it on the Spanish stage, he was born on January 21, 1923.
Member No. 136 of AISGE – an organization that in 2009 awarded him its Actua Prize for his lifetime career – De Mendoza made his name in the 1970s as one of the outstanding heroes of Spanish movies, with Carmen Sevilla and Sarita Montiel as his leading ladies.
Last December 1, 2010, in Buenos Aires he made another big hit in his final role as the macho grandpa in “La Mala Verdad” (The Evil Truth), a Miguel Angel Roca film that at the last Malaga Festival in southern Spain won him the prize as Best Ibero-American Actor.
In leading roles and as a supporting actor in more than 190 movies, he has been rediscovered by younger generations for his winning performance as the little old grandpa in “Tapas,” a role he described as “likeable and short.”
His children, psychologist Belen and adman Fabian, remembered him Monday morning as “a passionate man, temperamental, in love with his work,” according to the AISGE note.
Alberto de Mendoza, who shared top billing with Alberto Closas, Jack Palance, Irene Papas and Peter Cushing, was set to make a 13-episode series for Argentine television and in the summer expected to premiere “Las Brujas de Salem” (The Witches of Salem) in Buenos Aires movie theaters.
When his Spanish parents left him an orphan at age 5, little Alberto de Mendoza “was sent to live” in Madrid, where he fell in love with acting at the Arguelles Cinema and in the theater, particularly when sneaking in to see the operettas known as “zarzuelas” at the Teatro Lara, reported Spanish Fox News.