Ignacio Lopez Tarso was a Mexican actor of stage, film and television, who died on March 11, 2023, at the age of 98. He was one of the last surviving stars from the Golden Age of Mexican cinema, and had a prolific career spanning over seven decades. He acted in about 50 films, including the Oscar-nominated Macario, and appeared in numerous plays, telenovelas, and documentaries. He was honored with multiple awards, such as the Ariel Award, the TVyNovelas Award, and the Ariel de Oro lifetime achievement award. In this article, we will pay tribute to his life and legacy, and reveal the cause of his death.
Early Life and Education
Ignacio Lopez Tarso was born in Mexico City on January 15, 1925, to parents Alfonso Lopez Bermudez and Ignacia Lopez Herrera, who were first cousins from the state of Guanajuato. He had two siblings: Alfonso and Marta. Due to his father’s job, he spent his childhood in several cities across the country, such as Veracruz, Hermosillo, Navojoa and Guadalajara. He developed an interest in acting at a young age, when he saw a play in Guadalajara. He also learned to read oral poetry and classical plays, such as those by Lope de Vega and Calderon de la Barca.
Lopez Tarso attended secondary school in Valle de Bravo, Estado de Mexico, but could not afford to go to high school. He joined seminaries in Temascalcingo and Mexico City to continue his education, and participated in plays organized by a visiting priest from the United States. He also served in the military service in Queretaro, Veracruz and Monterrey, and reached the rank of First Sergeant. He declined an opportunity to attend military school, even though he liked the discipline. He worked as a sales agent for a clothing company in Mexico City, and aspired to work in the United States, at an orange grove in Merced, California.
Career and Achievements
Lopez Tarso decided to pursue his passion for acting, and enrolled in the Academy of Dramatic Art of Mexico’s National Institute of Fine Arts at the age of 24. He made his professional theater debut shortly after, and his film debut in 1954, in La desconocida by Chano Urueta. He had a small role in Luis Bunuel’s Nazarin in 1959, and a breakthrough role in Macario in 1960, by Roberto Gavaldon. Macario was the first Mexican film to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, and it starred Lopez Tarso as a poor peasant who is visited by three mysterious deities. The film was also selected for the Cannes Film Festival, and won several awards in Mexico.
Lopez Tarso went on to star in several other films, such as La sombra del Caudillo, The Guns of Juana Gallo, Rosa Blanca, La bandida, The Paper Man, Autumn Days, Cri Cri el grillito cantor, The Golden Cockerel, Tarahumara, Pedro Paramo, La vida inutil de Pito Perez, La generala, El profeta Mimi, Los albaniles, The Children of Sanchez, Antonieta, Under the Volcano, Tona Machetes, and Tirano Banderas. He worked with renowned directors, such as Luis Bunuel, John Huston, Carlos Saura, and Jorge Fons. He also appeared in documentaries, such as El hombre de la mancha, and in one short feature, El ultimo guion: Bunuel en la memoria.
Lopez Tarso was also a prominent figure in theater and television. He performed in more than 100 plays, such as Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, Death of a Salesman, The Merchant of Venice, The Miser, and Don Quixote. He also starred in several telenovelas, such as El maleficio, Cuna de lobos, El vuelo del aguila, La antorcha encendida, El manantial, and Amor real. He received multiple awards and recognitions for his work, such as the Ariel Award for Best Actor for Rosa Blanca in 1973, the TVyNovelas Award for Best Actor for El vuelo del aguila in 1995, and the Ariel de Oro lifetime achievement award in 2007. He was also honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2011.
Personal Life and Death
Lopez Tarso was married to Clara Aranda, with whom he had three children: Juan Ignacio, Gabriel, and Maria Ignacia. He was also the grandfather of actors Juan Ignacio Aranda and Diego Lopez. He was known for his charisma, humor, and generosity, and was respected by his colleagues and fans. He was active until his last days, and never retired from acting. He celebrated his 98th birthday in January 2023, with a cake and a serenade.
Lopez Tarso died on March 11, 2023, at a hospital in Mexico City. He had been hospitalized for a week due to pneumonia and intestinal occlusion, according to his son Juan Ignacio. He also suffered from a growing tumor in his large intestine and polyps in his small intestine, for which he underwent surgery in 2016. His death was mourned by the Mexican artistic community and the public, who remembered him as a legend and an icon of Mexican culture.
Ignacio Lopez Tarso was one of the most talented and versatile actors in Mexico, who left a lasting mark in the history of cinema, theater, and television. He was a master of his craft, and a source of inspiration for many generations. He was also a humble and kind person, who loved his family and his country. He died at the age of 98, after a long and fruitful career. His cause of death was pneumonia, caused by bowel obstruction. He will be missed, but his legacy will live on.