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S33 Ep10

Raúl Juliá: The World’s a Stage

Premiere: 9/13/2019 | 00:01:01 |

Explore a warm and revealing portrait of the charismatic, groundbreaking actor’s journey from his native Puerto Rico to the creative hotbed of 1960s New York City, to prominence on Broadway and in Hollywood. Filled with passion, determination and joy, Juliá’s brilliant and daring career was tragically cut short by his untimely death 25 years ago, at age 54.



About the Episode

THIRTEEN’s American Masters and Latino Public Broadcasting’s VOCES join forces to present the first documentary about Raúl Juliá, the versatile Puerto Rican actor whose work on stage and screen took the world by storm.

From award-winning director Ben DeJesus (Great Performances: John Leguizamo’s Road to Broadway, John Leguizamo: Tales from a Ghetto Klown), Raúl Juliá: The World’s a Stage is a warm and revealing portrait of the charismatic, groundbreaking actor’s journey from his native Puerto Rico to the creative hotbed of 1960s New York City, to prominence on Broadway and in Hollywood. Filled with passion, determination and joy, Juliá’s brilliant and daring career was tragically cut short by his untimely death 25 years ago, at age 54.

Told in his own voice through archival interviews and in the words of those who knew him best, the film traces Juliá’s personal and professional life while showcasing performances from his collaboration with Joseph Papp’s The Public Theater to his successful cinematic career. His best-known roles include the history-making productions of Titus Andronicus, Two Gentlemen of Verona with Clifton Davis, The Taming of the Shrew with Meryl Streep and The Threepenny Opera, the Broadway musical Nine, and films such as Kiss of the Spider Woman, Moon Over Parador, Romero, Presumed Innocent and The Addams Family.

Interviews with some of the most respected actors who worked alongside Juliá, including Anjelica Huston, Edward James Olmos, Rita Moreno, James Earl Jones, Sonia Braga, Rubén Blades and Esai Morales, illuminate his impact as an artist. In addition, actors John Leguizamo, Jimmy Smits, Andy Garcia and others share how they were profoundly influenced by Juliá and carry the torch of his legacy. Juliá’s personal side comes to life through never-before-seen family photos and home videos, along with reminiscences from his wife, Merel, his sons, relatives and friends, who share candid insights about his life away from the spotlight.

The son of a prominent San Juan family, Juliá was discovered by Broadway actor Orson Bean, who heard Juliá’s powerful singing at a popular nightclub while vacationing in Puerto Rico. Encouraged by Bean, and despite the concern of his family, he moved to New York City in 1964. Although struggling at first to make ends meet, Juliá quickly earned roles with travelling troupes that played in neighborhoods throughout the city, and was soon performing with the acclaimed New York Shakespeare Festival.

Ever-present throughout Juliá’s story is the cultural landscape of the entertainment world and the boundaries he broke. Before diversity and inclusion efforts were part of the national conversation, the big man with the engaging personality and accent was able to amass a varied body of timeless work that helped pave the way for Latino actors today. He was also a passionate and pioneering advocate of social causes, including ending hunger. In Juliá’s words, “It’s all done within a context of love. That’s the beauty of it, you see?”

"It’s all done within a context of love. That’s the beauty of it, you see?"

Raúl Juliá: The World’s a Stage is special presentation of American Masters and VOCES. The film is a co-production of ITVS, NGL Studios, Diamante Content, and LATINO PUBLIC BROADCASTING in association with American Masters Pictures. Director/Producer: Ben DeJesus. Producer: Jill Krikorian. Executive Producers: Sandie Viquez Pedlow, Donald Thoms, John Leguizamo, Michael Kantor and Sally Jo Fifer. Michael Kantor is executive producer for American Masters. Sandie Viquez Pedlow is executive producer for VOCES.

About American Masters
Launched in 1986 on PBS, American Masters has earned 28 Emmy Awards — including 10 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special — 14 Peabodys, an Oscar, three Grammys, two Producers Guild Awards, and many other honors. To further explore the lives and works of masters past and present, American Masters offers streaming video of select films, outtakes, filmmaker interviews, the American Masters Podcast, educational resources and more. The series is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET and also seen on the WORLD channel. The series is available for streaming simultaneously on all station-branded PBS platforms, including and the PBS Video app, which is available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. PBS station members can view episodes via Passport (contact your local PBS station for details).

About The WNET Group
The WNET Group creates inspiring media content and meaningful experiences for diverse audiences nationwide. It is the community-supported home of New York’s THIRTEEN – America’s flagship PBS station – WLIW21, THIRTEEN PBSKids, WLIW World and Create; NJ PBS, New Jersey’s statewide public television network; Long Island’s only NPR station WLIW-FM; ALL ARTS, the arts and culture media provider; and newsroom NJ Spotlight News. Through these channels and streaming platforms, The WNET Group brings arts, culture, education, news, documentary, entertainment and DIY programming to more than five million viewers each month. The WNET Group’s award-winning productions include signature PBS series Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend and Amanpour and Company and trusted local news programs MetroFocus and NJ Spotlight News with Briana Vannozzi. Inspiring curiosity and nurturing dreams, The WNET Group’s award-winning Kids’ Media and Education team produces the PBS KIDS series Cyberchase, interactive Mission US history games, and resources for families, teachers and caregivers. A leading nonprofit public media producer for nearly 60 years, The WNET Group presents and distributes content that fosters lifelong learning, including multiplatform initiatives addressing poverty, jobs, economic opportunity, social justice, understanding and the environment. Through Passport, station members can stream new and archival programming anytime, anywhere. The WNET Group represents the best in public media. Join us.

Produced by Latino Public Broadcasting, the acclaimed PBS documentary series VOCES features the best of Latino arts, culture and history and shines a light on current issues that impact Latino Americans. Devoted to exploring the rich diversity of the Latino experience, VOCES presents new and established filmmakers and brings their powerful and illuminating stories to a national audience — on TV, online and on the PBS app. VOCES is presented by PBS SoCal and supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About ITVS
ITVS is a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization that has, for over 25 years, funded and partnered with a diverse range of documentary filmmakers to produce and distribute untold stories. ITVS incubates and co-produces these award-winning films and then airs them for free on PBS via our weekly series, Independent Lens, as well as other series, and Indie Lens Storycast and our digital platform, OVEE. ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. For more information, visit

About Latino Public Broadcasting
Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) is the leader in the development, production, acquisition and distribution of non-commercial educational and cultural media that is representative of Latino people, or addresses issues of particular interest to Latino Americans. These programs are produced for dissemination to public broadcasting stations and other public telecommunication entities. Latino Public Broadcasting provides a voice to the diverse Latino community throughout the United States and is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Latino Public Broadcasting produces VOCES, the signature Latino arts and culture documentary series on PBS devoted to exploring the rich diversity of the Latino cultural experience. Between 2009 and 2019, LPB programs won over 125 awards, including two prestigious George Foster Peabody Awards as well as Emmys, Imagen Awards and the Sundance Film Festival Award for Best Director, Documentary. In addition, LPB has been the recipient of the Norman Lear Legacy Award and the NCLR Alma Award for Special Achievement – Year in Documentaries. Sandie Viquez Pedlow is Executive Director of LPB; Edward James Olmos is Co-founder and Chairman.

About NGL Studios
NGL Studios is a full service digital and broadcast production company specialized in creating original and branded content that engage multicultural and mainstream audiences across any platforms where they consume video. Co-founded by director/producer Ben DeJesus, actor/writer John Leguizamo, and David Chitel (the CEO of parent company, NGL Collective), NGL Studios is an award-winning in-house team of multimedia storytellers who speak the language of now, whether it’s English, Spanish or both. With offices in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles, NGL Studios produces a growing slate of documentary, non-fiction, scripted, and branded content for top distributors and Fortune 100 companies. Their authentic approach to creating content for multicultural millennials is rooted in Ben DeJesus’ and John Leguizamo’s life experiences growing up as Latinos in the U.S. – the American multicultural experience is in their DNA, and is reflected in the work they create.


Major support for Raúl Juliá: The World’s a Stage is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional support has been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Support for American Masters is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, AARP, Rosalind P. Walter, Judith & Burton Resnick, The Cheryl & Philip Milstein family, Vital Projects Fund, Lillian Goldman Programming Endowment, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Seton J. Melvin, Philip & Janice Levin Foundation, Ellen & James S. Marcus, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, The Ambrose Monell Foundation and public television viewers.


♪♪ O0 C1 - [Narrator] Major support for Raul Julia, the World's a Stage, a special presentation of American masters and voces has been provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts on the web at

(bright music) [ Indistinct conversations ] [ Guitar playing ] ♪♪ Announcer: The line is forming right here.

If you're here to see 'Taming of the Shrew' this evening, please join the end of the line right here in front of me.

Thank you.

Juliá: The feeling in the park is that you're playing with and for your family.

You are putting on a play for these 2,000 relatives that came to see you.

And here I am, putting on a play for you and okay, you dig it, you don't dig it, we'll argue.

You want to argue, we'll argue, fine.

If you want to boo me, great, and I might boo you back, but it's all done within a context of love.

That's the beauty of it, you see?

♪♪ Rita: 'All the world's the stage, and all the men and women merely players.'

Smits: 'They have their exits and entrances.'

Del Toro: 'And one man in his time plays many parts.'

Juliá: Showtime!

My name is Gomez Addams, and I have seen evil!

Pauley: Not since Jose Ferrer has Puerto Rico produced such a talent as Raúl Juliá. Juliá: She moves me not, or not removes at least affection's edge in me, were she as rough as are the swelling Adriatic seas.

Rita: The first time I saw Raúl's Shakespeare in the Park was just absolutely -- mesmerized.

He knocked my socks off.

Juliá: Why brand they us with base?

With baseness? Bastardy?

Base, base?

Eustis: Raúl was one of the greatest American stage actors of the last part of the 20th century.

He was extraordinarily magnetic.

What was also true is that, as he put it, he spoke in his proud Puerto Rican accent. -Juliá: Del Toro: As a Latino actor myself, he was the one that gave me the courage to go ahead and keep getting rejected and keep your chin up.

Braga: I've never seen an actor like Raúl.

It was art in front of you.

It was like a gift that he would give.

Juliá: Yeah!

Kline: I never felt that he was restricted by any notions of decorum or trying to do it the right way.

He did it the way he felt it instinctually.

Juliá: The world is getting smaller and smaller.

It's no longer you or I.

It's you and I.

Smits: He spoke about things that were not just specific to Puerto Rican culture.

Juliá: It is now clear that if people were given a chance, they could develop the economic resources to feed themselves and bring hunger to an end.

Morales: He was undeniable, and that's the key.

When you have that kind of talent and discipline, success couldn't be avoided.

♪♪ Smits: 'His acts being seven ages.

At first the infant, mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.'

♪♪ ♪♪ Curbelo: Raúl was of a high middle-class family.

He started at the best schools.

First Espíritu Santo Santo -- Holy Spirt -- and then San Ignacio, which is the most famous prep school in San Juan.

♪♪ Curbelo: And Raúl had started to do serious theater here in Puerto Rico.

♪♪ Rose: Who's had the most influence on you?

Juliá: As an actor? Rose: Yeah.

Juliá: Oh, well, originally, of course, I remember Jose Ferrer... Rose: Really?

Really? Jose Ferrer?

Juliá: ...who was from Puerto Rico.

He was a role model for me when I was a kid, you know, dreaming about being an actor.

I always loved Shakespeare from the time that I learned about it in high school.

Every time I was on stage saying Shakespeare, I just -- you could tell that I loved it.

It was like I loved being in front of an audience, reciting this beautiful poetry.

♪♪ Bean: I was in the midst, I think, of a two-year run of a hit Broadway play called 'Never Too Late.'

I got a few days off and went with my girlfriend to San Juan and checked into a little hotel -- saw Raúl Juliá doing a little show.

He blew me away.

Maria: I remember that you can hear his voice and then he would start singing.

♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ And everybody was, 'Where is he?

Where is he?' And he was hiding, and then he would come out.

Juliá: ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ Bean: After the show, I went up and introduced myself and said, 'You've got to come to New York.'

And I gave him my phone number.

I didn't know if I'd ever hear from him, but I really felt it was important that the world be exposed to Raúl Juliá. Juliá: I looked inside myself, and I saw that what I liked to do the most was acting.

No matter what, I'll take my chances, and this is what I want to do.

I want to spend the rest of my life doing what I really like to do and not what I should do in order to have so-called security.

Bean: His folks didn't want him to leave home, and I knew that.

I said, 'Don't listen to your folks.

Mama knows best up to a point.

You got to go.'

[ Indistinct conversations ] Leguizamo: 'Then the whining school-boy, with his satchel and shining morning face, creeping like snail unwillingly to school.'

♪♪ Juliá: I came here in the winter.

I remember it was my first really big snow storm.

But right away, I started making the rounds and going to auditions and calls.

♪♪ Mack: Alright, well, now here is the singing college junior majoring in literature and history at the University of Puerto Rico.

It's good to see you again, Raúl.

Juliá: Good to see you... Mack: Well, you know, if you win this big one, there's a big check that goes along with it.

What do you think your friends will be saying about that?

Juliá: Well, I think they would say, 'Where is your money?'

[ Laughter ] Mack: Suppose you explain the song you're going to do.

Juliá: Yes, well, this is the story about a man.

He is eating peanuts, and he swallows a marble by mistake.

Mack: Go to it.

♪♪ Juliá: [ Applause ] I started working with an acting teacher... Handman: I first came to hear about Raúl Juliá from an actor named Orson Bean.

He said, 'He's a singer but he really wants to act.'

And I said, 'Okay, yeah, Puerto Rico, singer...' I forgot all about it.

When Raúl came to my studio, charm came to my studio.

He quickly absorbed what I was teaching 'cause he was very talented -- had a natural appetite for the work.

That acting class that he was in, Christopher Walken was in it.

Walken: He was very present, and then, you know, of course, his humor and his intelligence and -- He was just great company.

Handman: He had a lot going for him.

Juliá: ...and it looked like everything was gonna turn out for the better, but then it wasn't that easy.

Handman: Latino actors were not finding much work in those days.

You have to remember that.

Pinza: They would produce film, television.

I would stay with 'Chiquita the Banana.'

♪ I'm Chiquita Banana and I come to say ♪ ♪ I come from Little Island down Equator Way ♪ That we all were electric -- electric Blacks and electric Hispanics.

Were there many roles?


Elliot: At the time he arrived here, we're talking about the time of 'West Side Story.'

Anita: ♪ Life can be bright in America ♪ Boys: ♪ If you can fight in America ♪ Girls: ♪ Life is all right in America ♪ Boys: ♪ If you're all white in America ♪ Elliot: Puerto Ricans coming to New York City were not Puerto Ricans who were doing Shakespeare.

They were the Sharks and the Jets.

Rita: Whatever the reasons, there were no jobs.

You were either with a gang member or you were a waiter or -- you know, only parts where you were playing someone who did menial work.

♪♪ Susie: At that time, there was a lot of discrimination of Puerto Ricans.

They were a minority.

They were also in a ghetto, which was El Barrio.

Curbelo: We were not considered part of the American citizenship.

They thought of us as the Other.

♪♪ Interviewer: Now, back in Puerto Rico, how would you pronounce your name.

Juliá: Raúl Juliá. Woman: And when you came to this country, is it true that you did not speak very much English?

Juliá: I spoke English, yeah.

I spoke English.

I don't know, that's been going around, but I spoke English.

I learned it in elementary school.

I went to a private school with American nuns, so I -- There's a great ignorance in this country about what a Hispanic person is, period, and it translates into show business by an idea that people have of the Hispanic as a stereotype.

It's just a generality that doesn't really contribute to the human being that is the Hispanic.

He's this human being that happens to have been born in a Hispanic country, But this human being can be as versatile as any non-Hispanic.

♪♪ Blades: He was always very, very clear and vocal about the fact of the very few opportunities that we were getting.

Morales: We weren't getting as many opportunities as we should've.

Morales: We never saved the day, we weren't intelligent.

'Oh, you're gonna be an actor.

Great. What are you gonna do?

Who are you gonna rape and rob and mug?'

I mean, either that or be the victim.

Olmos: Once you start speaking about who are the storytellers, you always find out that the European-based cultures tend to be able to tell their stories much easier than non-European-based cultures.

Garcia: And a lot of actors probably that were of Hispanic heritage that ended up changing their name out of absolute necessity to get work so they wouldn't get typecast.

Olmos: Anthony Quinn, it took me forever to find out that he was Latino.

Garcia: But Raúl, you know, set an example of not having to do that.

Blades: He was fiercely, fiercely Puerto Rican.

Proud of being CUNY Panel: Yeah, I'd like to ask -- What are the steps that came in between all the years of working and being seen and then finally getting to the point where someone calls you and says, 'Would you like to do the part?'

It isn't that simple.

Juliá: Well, I'll tell you, but first... I don't think anybody should -- after I say what I went through -- say, 'Well, you know, that's what's gonna happen to me,' or anything like that because you cannot really make rules out of this game.

Some people come from, I don't know, Milwaukee or some place like that, they're here a year, they're starring on Broadway.

Comparing doesn't work.

Anyway, I don't remember what happened.

[ Laughter ] I was going to auditions, slowly getting in, doing theater in the streets -- you know, putting a platform on the sidewalk and doing theater, free theater for everybody.

I had worked in a mobile unit that the Shakespeare Festival had in those days.

It was a Spanish version of 'Macbeth,' and I played Macduff.

Smits: I remember coming to East New York -- where I grew up, in Brooklyn -- and you thought it was a block party, but it wound up being productions of Shakespeare.

Pinza: He became a member of Theater in the Street, of Phoebe Brand and Patricia Reynolds, and they produced plays in Spanish by the classics, of which Raúl Juliá and I co-starred in.

The communities that we'd visit and we performed, they never saw theater before.

Juliá: And we used to go to different boroughs, put up a platform in the sidewalk, and do plays, do Molière and do farces in Spanish and in English.

So, that was my second experience in New York and it was great.

Playing to just people and mostly children was a great experience.

Once in a while, we got eggs thrown at us from the roofs.

But in general, it was a very rewarding experience, and that's how it started.

Montilla: He used to try to get a part on Broadway, but it was very hard.

Calvesbert: We always heard about -- He had an audition, he had an audition, but he never got anything.

♪♪ Juliá: I tried other jobs outside of the theater, selling pans and selling magazine subscriptions, and then I'd get fired all the time.

♪♪ ♪♪ Primus: It was an exciting time, though.

It was an exciting time, talking about the work, looking for work... When you're hungry that way, it's an exciting time.

And New York was exciting, and everything was happening.

Juliá: This is a pleasure I promised myself for a long time.

Primus: What pleasure's that, man?

Juliá: I should explain, of course.

Primus: This was his first movie -- 'Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me.'

At the tail-end of the hippy period, and he played Juan Carlos Rosenbloom, a Cuban Jew who takes me to fight with Castro.

Juliá: No matter what you say, I am Rosenbloom, Juan Carlos.

Primus: Okay. Good to meet you.

Juliá: We will meet many times from now on.

I have great respect for you, so I will be your friend.

Primus: Just like that? Juliá: Of course.

Primus: I first met Raúl in a play called 'Indians' by Arthur Kopit in Washington, D.C.

They were using a Jewish kid and a Puerto Rican to play these Indians, and he was playing, like, a Russian count or something in the circus of Buffalo Bill, played by Stacy Keach.

So when the time came for him to do his part, he started talking Russian gibberish.

It was all gibberish, but he was phenomenal at it.

And Khrushchev had done his thing in the U.N.

Raúl took off his shoe at one point to make a point, starting banging it on the table just like Khrushchev, you know.

And, of course, I noticed him right away.

Juliá: People talk in different languages, but usually the feelings are the same.

Olmos: There's a few people that can honestly understand the full perspective of performance.

Juliá: Olmos: Whether it be telling a story to a child... Juliá: Olmos: ...or holding court in a theater, but I'd never run into anyone like Raúl.

Gordon: Okay. Juliá: Hey, wait a minute.

Gordon: What?

Juliá: You gotta cover your head.

Gordon: Oh, yeah, thanks.

That's good. That's for the rain.

Okay. Juliá: Right.

And, uh, you gotta cover your body, too.

Take this raincoat. Gordon: Okay.

Olmos: He gave more than he received.

He got a lot in return because people really appreciated his art form.

Gordon: Okay, I'll see you later.

Juliá: Your feet! Your feet! Gordon: Oh? Oh.

Man: I first saw Raúl in a play by Jack Gelber called 'The Cuban Thing.'

What year was that, Raúl?

Juliá: 1968 or something.

Man: Was that the first play? Juliá: I don't really -- Man: Was that the first play you did in New York?

Juliá: It was my first Broadway play.

The play didn't do so well, but it was very good for me.

Man: Wonderful for you.

One saw in Raúl the makings of a very important Broadway actor -- motion picture, television, and all the rest of it.

One recognizes talent.

No, but even then, 'The Cuban Thing' was the sort of play they would've offered him.

When they needed a Spanish actor or a Cuban actor, they'd call Raúl.

Raúl Juliá, with his name, would immediately -- in the minds of agents, producers, directors -- conjure up the Latin and a Spanish role or a foreign role.

Juliá: After 'The Cuban Thing,' I did a soap opera, and then nothing happened after that, and I was... There was nothing happening.

And finally, after pacing up and down my apartment for about half an hour to gather the courage to call Joe Papp.

And I said, 'Hello, Mr. Papp.

This is Raúl Juliá.' And he had remembered me from -- he said, 'Oh!

Oh, yes! Raúl, how are you?'

I was like, 'Wow. He remembered me...' And I said, 'Listen, I need a job.

I don't care what kind of a job.

It doesn't even have to be acting.

I just want to be in the theater -- somewhere in the theater.

Give me a job.'

And, you know, I kid and kid.

I was kidding and I said, 'I'm ready to kill myself, to commit suicide!' [ Laughter ] So he said, 'Well, don't do that because you're gonna make a mess.'

[ Laughter ] 'Call me back in 10 minutes.'

I called him back in 10 minutes, and he had a job for me as a house manager for a production of 'Hamlet' that he was doing -- that pop 'Hamlet' that he was doing at that time.

And I was house manager.

♪♪ Papp: I'm Joseph Papp.

This is the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park in New York City.

Eustis: Joe was a radical.

He believed in a society of equality and brotherhood.

And what that meant in the theater was that Shakespeare belonged to everybody.

Ophelia: What means your lordship?

Hamlet: For if you be honest and fair, your honesty should admit no discourse to your beauty.

Eustis: So, he did what later we called 'colorblind casting,' later we called 'multicultural casting.'

He saw his role as being a nurturing, fostering parent to an awful lot of artists, and Raúl was one of them.

Man: Villain, what hast thou done?

Man #2: [ Laughs ] That which thou canst not undo.

Man #3: Thou hast undone our mother.

Man #2: Villain, I have done thy mother.

Man: And therein, hellish dog, thou hast undone her.

Woe to her chance, and damn'd her loathed choice!

Accursed the offspring of so foul a fiend!

Juliá: Raúl Juliá. He was able to appreciate what I could do and gave me the opportunity to play a whole variety of roles that otherwise I wouldn't have a chance to play.

Papp: I like to plant seeds and see them grow.

When the tree starts to bear fruit, you want that fruit to be consumed in some way and properly distributed.

Again, here the difference is also that I feel that more people should partake of that fruit.

♪♪ ♪♪ Juliá: Thou, nature, art my goddess; to thy law my services are bound.

Wherefore should I stand in the plague of custom, and permit the curiosity of nations to deprive me, for that I am some 12 or 14 moon-shines lag of a brother?

Why bastard?

Wherefore base?

When my dimensions are as well compact, my mind as generous, and my shape as true, as honest madam's issue?

Why brand they us with base?

With baseness?

Bastardy? Base, base?

Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take more composition and fierce quality than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed, go to the creating a whole tribe of fops... Jones: Let me say right off -- He was hot.

Juliá: Got 'tween asleep and wake.

Jones: He was playing the role of Edmund, who was King Lear's nephew, I guess.

But because he was a bastard son of a royal, he had a problem.

You know, people didn't treat him very well, and he was in protest, and that's the way Raúl played it.

It's one of his speeches about what it's like to be an underdog.

Juliá: Fine word -- legitimate.

Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed and my invention thrive, Edmund the base shall top the leg-it-i-mate.

I grow; I prosper.

Now, gods, stand up for bastards.

♪♪ [ Siren wails ] Blades: I just arrived to New York in must've been late '70s.

I lived on the Upper West Side, and I found out that there was a theater that was a free theater in the park, and I love free things, and we had no money in those days.

[ Applause ] ♪♪ ♪♪ Juliá: If she deny to wed, I'll crave the day when I shall ask the banns and when be married.

Streep: Yes! [ Screams ] [ Laughter ] But here she comes; and now, Petruchio, speak.

Primus: Raúl did a number of absolutely unforgettable performances for us, but the one that nobody who saw it will ever forget was the Petruchio he played opposite Meryl Streep in 'Taming of the Shrew.'

Juliá: My super-dainty Kate, for dainties are all Kates, and therefore, Kate, take this of me, Eustis: What you're watching is two of our greatest actors at the height of their powers fighting with each other because that's what Petruchio and Kate do.

Streep: Farewell!

Juliá: What, with my tongue in your tail?

Nay, come again, Good Kate; I am a gentleman.

Streep: That I'll try.

Juliá: She's gonna meet her match.

She's gonna meet someone that is just like her.

That's why I love her.

She's just like me.

Streep: What we're talking about is a story of a relationship -- two people that don't -- They just don't come together kind of quietly in a little café. They run, smash into each other.

I care not. Juliá: Nay, hear you, Kate.

In sooth you scape not so.

Streep: I chafe you, if I tarry!

Let me go!

Juliá: No, not a whit.

I find you passing gentle.

'Twas told me you were rough and coy and sullen, and now I find report a very liar; for thou art pleasant, gamesome, passing courteous, but slow in speech... Streep: Yes, well, I -- Juliá: ...yet sweet as spring-time flowers... Streep: You -- Juliá: Thou canst not frown, thou canst not look askance, nor bite the lip, as angry wenches will, nor hast thou pleasure to be cross in talk... Streep: [ Laughs ] Juliá: ...but thou with mildness entertain'st thy wooers... Eustis: To watch Meryl be matched by an actor who is as strong as her, as smart as her, as funny as her, as winning as her, as cunning as her is spectacular.

Juliá: Kate!

Like a hazel-twig is straight and slender and as brown in hue as hazelnuts and sweeter than the kernels.

Eustis: The energy between them is extraordinary, and you watch that and you go, 'Unmistakably, just as Meryl is the greatest actress in the last century, Raúl is right up there with her.'

Streep: [ Exhales sharply ] [ Laughter ] Blades: Meryl Streep -- There's a moment when she turns around and she spits in Raúl's face.

Juliá: We will have rings and things and fine array; and kiss me, Kate... Streep: [ Spits ] Audience: Ooh!

Juliá: My first reaction was, 'How dare she do that?

Me, as the actor, you know?'

But then as Petruchio, I said, 'Wait a minute, what would Petruchio do?'

[ Laughter ] We will be married at Sundaaay!

[ Applause ] Some people think the only way to do Shakespeare is to do it like the British do it because the British have the answer to Shakespeare.

So I would imitate all the British, 'Tush!

never tell me; I take it much unkindly that thou...' you know, and all that.

And I would do it like that.

But then afterwards, I started realizing that I didn't have to do it just like that.

I could bring myself to it.

I could bring my own culture, my own Puerto Rican background, my own Spanish culture, my own rhythms, my own feelings to Shakespeare because Shakespeare is too big.

Shakespeare is too big to be put into one little way of doing him.

Eustis: That sound of Raúl doing Shakespeare was, in a way, I think, for Joe, the perfect role model of what he thought Shakespeare should be.

We didn't have to sound like white Americans.

Puerto Ricans made Shakespeare sound beautiful, and Raúl was living proof of that.

And I think as a result, he really became sort of an icon for what the theater stood for.

Juliá: 'Two Gentlemen of Verona,' a play by William Shakespeare.

[ Laughs ] ♪♪ Eustis: The place that Raúl made his mark was in the original production of 'Two Gentlemen of Verona,' which was the musical that Galt MacDermot and John Guare created out of Shakespeare's play.

In that, he played Proteus.

It toured through all of the parks of New York, then played the Delacorte, then moved to Broadway.

Papp: The broadest theater audience exists on Broadway.

I'm interested in that audience, too.

When we did 'Two Gentlemen of Verona,' we were getting that kind of people.

Davis: The word was, 'This is a phenomenal show.'

Shakespearean rock musical.

It never had happened before.

Juliá: ♪ Verona, imagine always living here ♪ Davis: Raúl taught me to just be me because Raúl was a Puerto Rican Proteus, and he was unabashedly Puerto Rican.

Juliá: ♪ I'm very happy For my best friend ♪ ♪ He found a wonderful girl ♪ She's a calla lily lady, she's a water lily lady ♪ ♪ La la la la la la Rita: He knocked my socks off.

He was just a terrific actor, and he was hilarious, and he was saucy, and he was full of -- as we say in Puerto Rico -- But it just means he was spicy, and sexy, and tall!

Juliá: ♪ I want my best friend to be ha-ha-happy ♪ ♪ But not happier than me, once again! ♪ Pinza: Following 'Two Gentlemen of Verona,' he was offered many, many roles to do in television, film, and theater, and why not.

He was so wonderful.

♪♪ Leguizamo: At the time that he was at the top of his game in New York City, he was on the poster everywhere, and it was so... so inspiring to see that everywhere in every train station.

Every bus ad had his face on 'The Threepenny Opera.'

♪♪ Kline: As the organ grinder sang 'The Ballad of Mack the Knife,' Raúl emerged from the pit, so he was almost coming out of the ground in front of the stage and with this bowler hat and monocle and cane, walking in this toe-heel, feline stalking thing, just walked toward the wall.

♪♪ Juliá: Look at the moon over Soho.

Kline: I was his understudy in 'Threepenny Opera' at Lincoln Center.

He said, 'By the way, you will never go on for me because the only reason I would miss this show is if I'm dead.'

Okay. And he never did miss a show, and he would go on with a 103 fever -- nothing stopped him.

Juliá: ♪ There was a time now very far away ♪ ♪ When we set up together ♪ I and she ♪ I had... Kline: He did this strange tango with Jenny Diver where she was sort of bent over like this with her arms around his waist, and he had his cane over her backside.

Bizarre, dominant animalistic tango.

The whole thing was infused with a kind of darkness and rage.

Juliá: ♪ The time's gone past ♪ But what would I not give ♪ To see that whore house ♪ Where we used to live Eustis: That flexibility, particularly in an actor who, in certain ways, was a conventional leading man -- he was tall and dark and good-looking.

But the ability to move between the clown and the tragic hero was spectacular.

♪♪ Rita: 'And then the lover, sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad made to his mistress' eyebrow.'

♪♪ Davis: He met this young lady who suddenly, he wanted to spend all his time with -- Merel.

And so, we, being single guys who wanted him to come and party with us, were like, 'Hey, man, let her just be your girlfriend and just come on and hang out with us.'

He was like, 'Eh.


I'm treating this one different.'

Merel: I met Raúl on my very first professional job as a dancer, and Raúl was one of the principals.

And at one moment, I turned my head, and I saw Raúl coming down the aisle of the music fair tent.

I said to Raúl, 'Hmm, you know, I can't really see your eyes very well with those sunglasses.'

He took off his sunglasses and looked at me with those gigantic eyes, and I was like, 'Wow.'

♪♪ Raúl got this apartment in 1966, and I moved here in 1971.

I have so many memories, being a young dancer and being here and Raúl working in the theater and sharing our single life together.

Walken: I think he liked to be around people, or certain people.

He loved to talk, he loved to have big conversations.

You know, he'd have, like, big dinners.

Merel: Whether it was a glass of wine in his hand or a cigar or people showing up at the apartment singing at 2:00 in the morning... Davis: Raúl used to sing opera.

As far as Raúl was concerned, it was the Met.

Merel: Raúl had the capacity to party, make no mistake.

This was the way he relaxed.

This is a part of the culture that he was raised in.

Primus: We'd go to his house, and we would start talking and smoking a little grass, and we would talk a lot about Puerto Rico and the Independentistas -- some were his friends -- I think they were in the house.

We would order pizzas at 3:00 in the morning.

All the talk was... heavily spiritual, was always about spiritual things and the Dalai Lama and... You know, he was a seeker, and I guess I was, too.

And that's what brought us together.

♪♪ We had just come from Walter Reed Hospital, it was during the Vietnam War, and we were talking about, you know... the immensity of the problem and where we had just been to the hospital with all these guys who were sick and hurt.

And we talked about it, and I asked him certain questions about himself.

He turned to me and said, 'Well, no one's ever really asked me those questions, but... you're gonna be my brother, okay.

I lost my brother,' he said.

'I lost my brother in an automobile accident.'

That was really all he said about it, but obviously was a, you know, very painful thing for him, you know... ♪♪ Berríos: Rafa.

♪♪ Susie: I remember that he stayed in his room forever.

He wouldn't come out.

He wouldn't talk to anybody.

Merel: He mourned for him fully and completely, and when he talked, he talked a lot about living in the moment.

Be in the moment because this could be your last moment.

He was very, very conscious of that.

♪♪ Garcia: 'Then a soldier, full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard, jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel, seeking the bubble reputation, even in the cannon's mouth.'

♪♪ ♪♪ Merel: The late '60s, the early '70s -- It was a time, a great time of looking and seeking, of, 'What is out there that I don't know about that maybe if I knew about it, would inform my life in such a way to add more freedom, more love, more possibility for being in the here and now?'

♪♪ I think that's what he was searching for.

♪♪ A friend of ours called us and said that he had done this thing and it was great and we should do it and sign up.

And, 'What was it?' 'Can't explain it.

It's so different.

Just do it.' And so we did.

And Raúl met Werner there.

Walters: What is EST? What's the essence of EST?

Erhard: Barbara, it's a course for people who are getting along in life successfully and who are willing to expand their experience of aliveness and satisfaction.

I want you to start to make that sound and on that sound, create the people, the world the way you want to create it.

Juliá: When I first took part in the programs of Werner Erhard and Associates in 1974, I was hoping for some practical answers or tips on how to improve my talents.

Calvesbert: And he was always in the search of becoming a better human being himself and being more and more spiritual.

Ingrasci: What Raúl had been discovering about himself fit perfectly with the EST trainings and about the power of the individual in every situation to be responsible, to live well, to uphold your commitments to other people, to make commitments.

♪♪ Merel: Raúl came from a Catholic family.

I came from a Jewish family.

We did not want to cause any problems.

When we met Swami Muktananda, we fell in love with him, and we thought, 'Wow, wouldn't it be wonderful to take out the religions that we grew up with and have an Indian religious ceremony?'

♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ And just a couple months later, Raúl found out that you were going on a trip to India.

Erhard: Yes, yes.

Merel: He knew that going on this trip with you would be an experience of a lifetime, and it was, and it was incredible.

Erhard: So I always kidded Raúl about, 'Raúl, remember, I was on your honeymoon.'

[ Laughter ] Ingrasci: The first place we went to was Darjeeling.

While we met with some great spiritual leaders, and it was quite extraordinary, what really stands out in my mind was Raúl singing Gregorian chants in Tibetan monasteries.

Juliá: [ Chanting ] Ingrasci: What we saw were people who were pretty much -- by any Western standard, were living in poverty.

But at that point, I think about 40% of all hunger in the world existed in India.

And so we saw a lot of it.

♪♪ ♪♪ We saw a different take on spirituality.

♪♪ The point of everything they were teaching is compassion, to feel your own suffering and the suffering of others -- having both a tragic view of life and a view where, 'Yes, it's tragic, and let's live.'

And I think this fit for Raúl's own nature very, very well because he had discovered himself in relation to the world -- both his ambitions and his humility.

And as he unwound that, his connection to the world grew.

♪♪ Salesky: He was a person who was very appreciative of the opportunities that he had, and he was acutely aware when people did not have opportunities.

And the most basic opportunity, of course, is to have food and water.

♪♪ ♪♪ Twist: In 1977, The Hunger Project was created.

Erhard: This is a project which allows people to experience their own personal and innate sense of responsibility for making the world work for the end of starvation.

Twist: They realized hunger doesn't need to exist.

It's not that we don't have enough food.

It's that we don't have enough commitment to one another as a human family to make sure that everybody has what they need and want to have a healthy and productive life.

Huston: It wasn't as popular in those days for people to have causes or to espouse a charity.

So, Raúl was really quite innovative when it came to that.

Juliá: Once a month for 24 hours, I don't eat anything.

I do it as an expression of my commitment to making the end of starvation a reality by the end of the century.

Ingrasci: Every time you go to see a Raúl Juliá play, in the playbill, a couple lines was, 'Raúl Juliá is dedicated to ending world hunger.'

This went on for 15 years.

Juliá: The other 90% of the 35,000 to 40,000 people that die every day as a consequence of hunger are people who are living in chronic, persistent hunger that don't emaciated like we used to think of starvation.

All they have is malnutrition.

But out of malnutrition, these people get all kinds of curable diseases, and this is the majority of the people that are dying constantly every day.

Man: Raúl, who works on the power the politics and gets the trucks and the people to get the food where it's going, as we now know is not happening?

Juliá: Well, we do.

We can't just say, 'There's nothing I can do.'

They're human beings like we are.

Not only that, we're responsible for whatever government policies supporting certain governments that weren't doing the correct job.

The world is getting smaller and smaller.

It's no longer you I.

It's you I.

♪♪ ♪ Contini submits that the flops aren't hits ♪ ♪ Because no one is willing to film a romantic spectacular ♪ ♪♪ ♪ That'll use the vernacular Bean: 'Nine' was a vehicle for him, and he was astonishing.

It was based on an Italian movie called '8 1/2.'

Orrios: He loved to play Marcello Mastroianni's main role in film.

Bean: And Raúl was the star of it, and he just cavorted across that stage, and all the women... Orrios: I think there was 24 or 26 actresses.

That was only Raúl could do it that way, you know.

That was his kind of Don Giovanni, the Don Juan aspect of it.

Merel: Raúl grew up with a gaggle of women.

I don't think he really had to prepare [Laughing] much for that role.

Juliá: ♪ In fact we begin with a wedding ♪ ♪ A prologue to what I've described ♪ ♪ We're happy and gay and in love and it's spring ♪ ♪ And the trees are all green ♪ A trio of capuchin monkeys insinuates into the frame ♪ ♪ They chatter a bit and then one disappears ♪ ♪ But the others remain Ortega: When he sang, it came from deep within, and it had a kind of warmth and volume.

Juliá: ♪ I would even like to be able ♪ ♪ To sing a duet with myself Salesky: I thought, 'Oh, my gosh.

Here is a guy who absolutely is in control of his instrument.'

My instrument, I mean his entire body.

He understood how to use his entire body as a communication device.

Juliá: ♪ Being just me is so easy to be ♪ ♪ When I'm only with you Del Toro: I saw a matinée of 'Nine.'

There's something about him that is always... He's like a lamp post of sorts.

He's always standing strong.

Juliá: ♪ From your view ♪ Seems long ago I was destined to know ♪ ♪ And the moment I saw you I knew ♪ Kelly: During the workshop when we're trying to raise money, a certain amount of financial support was withdrawn by a major motion picture company.

Cafferty: Paramount. [ Laughs ] Kelly: Yes.

Cafferty: Hey, eat your hearts out.

[ Laughter ] Kelly: Because the smart guy didn't think you were strong enough to carry this show, and I want to know -- What'd you feel like then and what do you feel like now?

[ Laughter ] Juliá: Well, the first time I heard this was in And it was the first time I heard it. Nobody -- Kelly: Well, that was opening morning -- I mean, Sunday morning.

Juliá: Sunday morning.

Over Sun-- I read in the times that one of the considerations was me, that I wasn't strong enough.

And it also said that they were afraid that I wouldn't cut it because I had never done a musical before.

So, first, I've done four musicals, at least, that I remember.

Kelly: I'd say there was a little singing in 'Threepenny Opera.'

Juliá: And 'Threepenny Opera' requires incredible singing -- I mean, these dissonant notes and things like that.

So, I was surprised.

I guess the only thing is that I guess they didn't know that.

♪ I wouldn't be lonely if I could be only... ♪ Orrios: Yeah, 'Nine' was a big hit, so that really put him in another level of consideration, that he could really lead and, you know, be above the title, as we say.

♪♪ ♪♪ He told me about 'Kiss of the Spider Woman' that was a project -- 'El Beso de la Mujer Araña' by Manuel Puig.

The protagonist, the homosexual, and a revolutionary.

Hurt: You know I'm a faggot.

Well, congratulations.

You know I corrupted a minor.

Well, that's even on TV.

Merel: That script was so beautiful.

You got into the characters of these two people.

They were just people -- human beings -- that were thrown in jail for actually being who they were.

Juliá: The director called me.

He was in Hollywood, trying to get money for the film, which he never did 'cause they didn't think it was commercial.

As it turned out, it was a huge box-office hit.

Man: Héctor Babenco. Juliá: Héctor Babenco.

And he called me and told me about the project, and I said, 'Send me the script. I'd like to read it.'

I read the script, and I said, 'This is fantastic.'

So, we decided to go to Brazil for four months and work on it for no money except our expenses.

Babenco: Raúl lost, like, so many pounds, and we were afraid that he would die because he really was into the project fully -- fully immersed.

Juliá: I met people that had been in that kind of business and I read books, and in my research, the things that these people are totally dedicated to -- the cause, to serving the cause -- so they're very scrupulous and always self-examining themselves about every moment of their lives.

Hurt: Have some. It's delicious.

Juliá: No, thanks. Hurt: What's a matter?

You don't like it? Juliá: Sure, I like it.

No, thanks.

Hurt: Oh.

Then go ahead and have some.

It's a long time till lunch.

Juliá: Can't afford to get spoiled.

Hurt: Do you really think that eating this avocado will make you spoiled and weak?

Enjoy what life offers you.

Juliá: What life offers me is the struggle.

Braga: I've never seen an actor like Raúl.

In the movies, he was, like, very intense... Juliá: Shut up!

You damn faggot!

Braga: ...where the voice could go... Juliá: Don't be stupid.

Hurt: You see how you react?

Tch, there's just no talking about a guy with another guy without getting into a fuss.

Juliá: Look, just keep it at a certain level, okay, or let's not talk at all.

Hurt: Okay, you tell me what a real man is.

♪♪ Juliá: I don't know. Hurt: Sure you do.

Juliá: During rehearsal one day, we said, 'Why don't we just switch roles and see how it turns out, what we think, how it looks.'

As a matter of fact, I find that it's a very good technique for learning about your role when you have the other actor playing it.

Where does it hurt you? Hurt: In my neck and shoulders.

Why does the sadness always jam up in the same spot?

Juliá: Bill, being the humble person that he is, he went to Babenco, our director, and he said, 'Did you see that?! I think he should play Molina and I should play Valentin.'

And for a short while, he was like, 'I think we're making a mistake, you know.

It should be the other way around.'

But, of course, when you see the film [Chuckles] there's no question that that's the way it should've been.

Hurt: Do what you want with me because it's what I want.

Juliá: Bill and I, we wanted to play it with dignity and play it with compassion.

We had to go through a process of getting rid of whatever prejudices we might have and work through it.

We had discussions and sometimes we even had arguments, and it was all about that part of the movie that is the most difficult, which is the love scene.

Orrios: 'Kiss of the Spider Woman' was a film that was made a difference in filmmaking.

It was a film that was created by Hispanics, directed by Hispanics, and -- except for William Hurt that was the co-protagonist with Raúl.

The rest, all of them -- Sônia Braga -- everybody was Hispanic.

It was very well received precisely because it was completely different to everything.

Man: Critics are saying that he's done perhaps his best work ever.

Woman: In 'Kiss of the Spider Woman,' Juliá's portrayal of a pessimistic political prisoner brought him rave reviews, and critics foresee an Academy Award nomination for this role.

Juliá: I'll be there if it happens, you know, and it'll be exciting and it'll be fun and it'll be nice.

So, let's see.

Maybe what they're thinking is right.

Blades: I was really upset, and I still am, that he did not get a nomination for that role.

I thought he was superb.

Del Toro: Raúl Juliá should've been nominated... ...'cause he's excellent in that film.

Man: Do you feel slighted by the Academy and from others by not recognizing that that was an equal role in the 'Kiss of the Spider Woman'? Juliá: No, I don't because if there was a logic to it, you know, a reasonable way of going about it and doing it that way, then I would feel slighted.

But it happens in such a haphazard way and the voting and... I don't know.

You really don't know what's gonna happen.

Field: As a prisoner whose stories help him and his cellmate escape to a world of fantasy.

[ Applause ] The winner is William Hurt, 'Kiss of the Spider Woman.'

[ Cheers and applause ] Hurt: I share this with Raúl.

[ Hammering ] Primus: 'And then the justice, in fair round belly with good capon lined...' Olmos: '...with eyes severe and beard of formal cut, full of wise saws and modern instances; and so he plays his part.'

Man: I have some news for you.

Juliá: Please sit down, monsignor.

Man: I think you may need to sit down.

You have been appointed Archbishop.

Orrios: When he was offered to play Romero, for him was very important because, you know, Romero was the Archbishop of El Salvador that was killed for supporting the poor people.

Man: Martinez!

[ Gunshots ] Merel: El Salvador was going through a lot of upheaval.

It was something that was happening in our time.

Juliá: It's a film about a human being, a human being that developed from an ordinary, timid man into a champion of the people.

Merel: That role affected him deeply, I would say.

Father Kieser was producing it -- He was a Catholic priest -- and Father Kieser provided Raúl with the tapes of Romero's speeches and his masses, and Raúl listened to them over and over again.

Juliá: Each one of you is one of us.

We are the same people.

The farmers and peasants that you kill are your own brothers and sisters.

Primus: Raúl was kind of a renegade Catholic, I think, you know, at some point.

I don't want anyone to call him a renegade, but he was not a part of anything.

But when the priests began to be in liberation like Romero that he played so beautifully... Juliá: Stop! Primus: ...then he was very... Juliá: Stop in the name of God!

Primus: ...happy to embrace his religion.

Juliá: Stooooop!

Man: [ Screams ] Elliot: Romero became so important to him.

He started going to church again.

It was very meaningful, and you'd see him on stage and go, 'Oh, there's Romero.'

Juliá: I beg you.

I order you!

Stop the repression!

♪♪ ♪♪ Merel: Raúl wanted a house in the country because he wanted to create for himself this idyllic time in his life when his father had built a house in the country and they all moved to the country.

And there, he had a horse and he had a dog and they lived very happily there.

♪♪ Elliot: And the house was just a little retreat where you'd go and be yourself again.

And when the kids came along, they would go and have the kids there.

♪♪ Susie: He was in love with Raúl Jr.

before he was born.

He was so excited about having a child, and then, when he had him, he became fatherly.

♪♪ ♪♪ [ Baby cooing ] Merel: He would say, 'Now that my children are born, I see what's most important to me.'

And... ♪♪ ♪♪ Yeah.

And so, to provide for them became very important for him.

Raúl Jr.: Mama, I'm running with Daddy!

Merel: Yes, you are!

♪♪ Juliá: Who won? Raúl Jr.: I won.

Juliá: Raúl Jr.: He really made a point to be there with us as much as he could and... Benjamin: I remember a lot of these moments.

These were the moments that I was able to really spend with my father -- just lounging around the house, and he's laying down exactly like this.

Laying on his chest and really just hanging out.

Raúl Jr.: You know, we got to travel a lot as kids and go to film sets and locations where he was filming.

It was -- It was cool.

Benjamin: One of my favorite scenes of my father is in the movie 'Tequila Sunrise' -- the scene with Mel Gibson.

He plays, like, a crooked cop, and he's laying on a kitchen table -- like, lounging, you know, really lounging pretty hard -- and having a drink and he's smoking a joint, and he starts singing opera, which is something that he would do.

Juliá: Ford: Sandy.

Rose: You had to go to the producers of 'Presumed Innocent' and get them to give you an audition 'cause they didn't see you in the role.

Juliá: Right. You know, it took a while for me to have conversations with them.

Rose: Because you wanted it? Because you like the role?

Juliá: I loved the role. Rose: Yeah.

Dreyfuss: We must dream... the impossible dream.

We must fight... the unbeatable foe.

Raúl Jr.: Oh, 'Moon Over Parador' was great.

My dad broke out of the stereotypes of the time, played a South American guy, but he's of German ancestry because, you know, a lot of Germans went to South America.

And, 'You know, I'm gonna play a guy who's...' Yeah, 'cause he's the head of this dictator's secret police, and it's hilarious.

Juliá: That last part, 'Man of La Mancha'... Dreyfuss: Yeah, I thought you didn't mind.

I thought the speech needed a good close.

You know, like a solid -- a solid -- Do you think I should take another bow?

Juliá: No. Always leave them wanting more.

Dreyfuss: You're right! You're right.

You're absolutely right.

You'd make a very good director, you know?

I always hate it when they take too many curtain calls.

That's right. Thank you.

Thank you so much. Thank you.

♪♪ Juliá: Well, I grew up with 'Don Quixote.'

Cervantes, who wrote the novel of 'Don Quixote,' is to Spanish-speaking countries like Shakespeare is to English-speaking countries.

I used to dream in those days to do it, and in those days, it was an impossible dream.

So the impossible dream became possible, and now I'm able to play it.

In the play, Cervantes is the character, the author.

He's brought to prison.

He starts telling the story of Don Quixote to keep the prisoners entertained so that they don't burn his novel.

So, he starts becoming the character of Don Quixote, and he's serving... Being retired, he has much time for books.

He reads them from morn till night and often through the night, as well.

And all he reads oppresses him.

Fills him with indignation.

Salesky: For a person whose native language is Spanish, you know, Don Quixote de la Mancha is the like your birthright, and everything that this character stood for were things that were very meaningful for him personally.

Juliá: It appeals to people because we all have Don Quixote inside of us.

We all are dreamers.

We all would like to see a better world.

We all would like to make a difference.

Eugenia Juliá: The dream, the impossible dream.

Juliá: ♪ This is my quest ♪ To follow that star ♪ No matter how hopeless ♪ No matter how far ♪ To fight for the right ♪ Without question or pause ♪ To be willing to march into hell ♪ ♪ For a heavenly cause Juliá: They say a man who represents himself has a fool for a client.

Well, with God as my witness, I am that fool.

Merel: They sent him the script, he read it, he liked it, he thought, 'Hmm, do I want to do Gomez Addams because if it's successful, this is a role, you know, that I will probably be remembered for.'

Juliá: For 25 years, we've attempted to contact Fester in the great beyond, and for 25 years, nothing.

Sonnenfeld: He was Gomez.

From the opening shot of the first 'Addams Family' where he's standing there sadly in this beautiful robe, talking to Thing about missing Fester, he's joyful in his sadness.

♪♪ Juliá: Unhappy, darling?

Huston: Oh, yes.

Yes, completely.

Sonnenfeld: And then he sees Morticia and wakes her up and... Huston: The sun.

Sonnenfeld: ...and has this sword fight with this beam of light because it's hurting his beautiful wife's eyes.

That was Raúl.

That was Gomez.

Juliá: Dirty pool, old man.

Huston: He had that wonderful debonair approach to Gomez, and everything was sort of, 'Hail, fellow.

Well met.'

Juliá: You were so beautiful.

Pale and mysterious.

No one even looked at the corpse.

Jones: I don't think you could bring yourself to that variety of -- of play... Juliá: Fester. Lloyd: Gomez.

Jones: ...without bringing your whole self.

That's what Raúl did.

Ricci: He definitely infused my impressions and opinions of what an actor should be with a lot of nobility and pride and responsibility.

We weren't props, and we weren't models, and we weren't machines.

We were artists.

Juliá: Mamushka!

Sonnenfeld: We had Raúl Juliá, so how do you not do a song and dance number when you've got Raúl Juliá in your movie?

So we had Marc Shaiman write this fantastic song called the Mamushka.

Juliá: And now, Fester Addams, this mamushka is for you.

Sonnenfeld: You know, Chris Lloyd is not a singer or a dancer.

Neither is Anjelica.

But Raúl brings everyone up to his level of energy and perfection.

♪♪ Smits: You could take the tango sequence in 'The Addams Family'... ♪♪ ♪♪ ...and see that he was able to kind of, like, amp stuff up.

♪♪ And have these bursts that really scare you or put you back because he knew how to punctuate or make a point.

♪♪ Juliá: [ Gasps ] ♪♪ Juliá: The tango's not just a dance.

It's everything. It's poetry.

It's a way of expressing your feelings towards each other.

[ Coughing ] Excuse me.

Interviewer: I know you're doing a lot of these today.

Juliá: Yeah. Yeah.

♪♪ Um, so, yeah, the, um, tango is not just a dance... Huston: And as it happened, Raúl was sick, not so that he would have told anyone at the time, not that he would have shared that with anyone, but he was very sick.

♪♪ Morales: 'The sixth age shifts into the lean and slippered pantaloon with spectacles on nose and pouch on side.'

Rita: 'His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide for his shrunk shank, and his big, manly voice.'

Olmos: It's time, Chico.

Juliá: It's time we had a school in Cazuela.

That's what's time.

Olmos: I keep on telling him, what good's an education without an organization?

Juliá: And I keep telling him what good is organization without education?

Olmos: [ Laughs ] Raúl and I did our final piece of work, and we did it together.

It was 'Burning Season.'

♪♪ Morales: 'The Burning Season' was about an incredible activist who was murdered for his work protecting the rainforests of Brazil.

Raúl Jr.: It's about a guy at the end of his life trying to do something important, trying to help people.

Rita: Chico Mendes was one of the first people to really stand up for indigenous peoples of the Amazon.

Juliá: So your children are hungry, and you take any work you can, and here you are, making the rich man richer.

And when you've burned and when you've cut down the trees, then we'll all be hungry together.

And all that for 20 cruzeiros a day?

If the land is used for grassland... Raúl Jr.: I saw that my dad really felt that he could create change in the world and be an activist as an actor and through the roles that he played.

Braga: I think Raúl found, you know, his place, you know, in this character.

[ Applause ] Olmos: When we did that film, it became real evident that things had gotten worse.

[ Crowd chanting 'Chico, Chico!' ] Morales: After dinner, you know, sometimes people would pull out a guitar, and I had just learned or was in the process of learning the chords to a Puerto Rican classic, 'En mi Viejo San Juan.'

And I started playing it to see if he could hear it, and, immediately, he heard and he started singing.

Juliá: Morales: At the end, I give him a huge hug, and everybody's like, 'No, no, no.'

And I felt he had, like, a box.

There was something attached to him.

It was like a pump for medication or something.

Juliá: Olmos: We both knew that where we were going and how close it was, it was very, very close to the end.

And yet, we were both very alive and very much willing to understand ourselves to the fullest.

♪♪ [ Rain falling gently ] Rita: 'Last scene of all that ends this strange, eventful history is second childishness.'

Merel: Tell us about the dinner that we had.

Juliá: We had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, and, um, Susie cooked the turkey.

It was delicious.

And, uh, now we've washed all the dishes and are resting.

And -- And, um, we're lighting a fire.

Maria Juliá: The interesting thing is, washed all the dishes?

Not the guy with the cigar, mind you.

Susie: He called me and he told me that, uh, he had something wrong with his stomach and that they had to operate him.

And look at me, 'Well, it's polyps.

You have polyps in your stomach.'


'Do you mean to tell me that it's --' 'Yes, it's cancer.'

Juliá: [ Speaks Spanish ] ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ Juliá: That was a good ride, Raúl boys, huh?

Raúl Jr.: Yep. Merel: There you are.


♪♪ Juliá: [ Laughs ] [ Coughing ] That's great.

Very good.

Look at it this way, guys.

It's better than being on an airplane.

♪♪ Hey!

♪♪ Raúl Jr.: We'd see him getting treatments at home and things like that.

We knew something was going on, but, um, he never explicitly talked about it or dwelled on it.

'Cause I genuinely think that he thought he was gonna be okay.

Juliá: Yeah, I think that would be nice for your birthday, wouldn't it?

11 is a very special -- Benjamin: Are you taping me?

Merel: Yes, I am. Juliá: Two very special numbers.

7, 11.

But those are lucky numbers.

Merel: Raúl continued working.

He did 'Street Fighter,' 'Down Came A Blackbird,' and he was getting ready to go do 'Desperado' with Robert Rodriguez.

♪♪ Sawyer: And in New York today, the actor Raúl Juliá has died.

Brokaw: Actor Raúl Juliá died today in New York a week after suffering a stroke.

Primus: It's so hard to believe.

We had talked about this stuff about death, and now, suddenly, there was this thing there.

You know, death.

Olmos: To this day, 20 years later, it's just been one of the most difficult realities that I've faced.

♪♪ Man: [ Speaking Spanish ] ♪♪ We always talked about going back to Puerto Rico together.

This is the tragedy.

We did. We went back.

First time I ever set foot on Puerto Rican soil was with Raúl.

♪♪ Curry: Thousands of people turned out Thursday as actor Raúl Juliá, the stage and screen actor hailed as Puerto Rico's brightest star, was buried in his native land.

♪♪ [ Applause ] Elliot: The best thing to do to honor Raúl was to party, and we partied.

And to sing and dance.

Garcia: If he was there, he would have said, 'Why all the crying? Come on.

Let's dance, let's sing. Wait, I want to sing a song.'

Juliá: ♪ This is my quest to follow that star ♪ ♪ No matter how hopeless, no matter how far ♪ ♪ To fight for the right Garcia: I think he broke -- continued to break new ground as an actor, as an artist, as a human, you know.

I think he made his mark on an industry, on the world.

Morales: His success was the lighthouse that kept me going.

Eustis: And there are artists who we work with today -- folks like John Leguizamo or Lin-Manuel Miranda -- who are Latino artists who are inspired by Raúl and who now claim their place at the center of the American theatrical experience.

Juliá: The future progress, I think, has to do with the process.

It has to do with what the artist himself decides to do.

He has to take responsibility for his art and be willing to expand, and I think the progress will come the more we show ourselves out there, the more we put ourselves into the media and into the public, showing our own souls, our own individual cultures, the more enriching will be the general artistic atmosphere of the country.

It's that simple.

Merel: That's what he tried to be, an example of what's possible, of what could be.

'Here I am. I'm doing what I can, I'm choosing the best parts, but let's say something else was possible.

Let's say we created the parts, we told our own stories, we produced things.'

I think that's in the direction that he would have loved to have gone.

Just, well, ran out of time.

♪♪ Juliá: ♪♪ [ Applause ] [ 'En Mi Viejo San Juan' playing ] ♪♪ ♪♪ Announcer: ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪


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