RAUL JULIA Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Raul Julia                                                                                                           
Birth name: Raul Rafael Julia y Arcelay                                                                                     
Born: 9 March 1940 San Juan, Puerto Rico                                                                                   
Died: 24  October 1994 Manhasset, New York                                                                                 
Raul Rafael Julia y Arcelay (better known as Raul Julia) (March 9, 1940 - October 24, 1994) was a Golden Globe award       
winning actor from Puerto Rico who lived and worked for many years in the                                                   
continental United States. His career included dramatic, comic, and musical                                                 
roles in theater, film and television.                                                                                     
Raul Rafael Carlos Julia y Arcelay was born at the Floral Park subsection of San                                           
Juan on March 9, 1940. He was the oldest of four brothers and sisters; his                                                 
brother Carlos Rafael died in an automobile accident in 1960. His mother was a                                             
mezzo-soprano who abandoned a potential career as a singer when she married                                                 
Julia's father. Some relatives on his father's side were part-time musicians.                                               
Raul's father was the founder of "La Cueva del Chicken Inn", a restaurant in San                                           
Juan. It was modeled after a similar restaurant in Madrid, Spain, called "Las                                               
Cuevas de Luis Candelas". On the other hand, he hired an Italian cook in New                                               
York City who could prepare authentic Italian pizza for Puerto Rican palates.                                               
Raul's sister Maria Eugenia claims that their father was, in a way, the first                                               
fast food mogul Puerto Rico ever had, since the relatively simple food would                                               
ensure prompt service at the restaurant. He founded the restaurant at the very                                             
house where Raul and his brother Rafael were born, the brothers and sisters                                                 
literally grew up with the family business, and the property is still owned by                                             
the JuliĆ” family.                                                                                                         
Throughout his youth, the success of his father's business ensured excellent                                               
schooling for young Raul and his brothers and sisters. He finished his high                                                 
school studies at the local Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola and had a strict                                                 
Jesuit upbringing; future Puerto Rican pro-independence leader Ruben Berraos was                                           
a classmate and close friend. After spending a year at Fordham                                                             
University, and as an indirect consequence of his brother's death,                                                         
he returned to Puerto Rico and attended the University of Puerto Rico where he                                             
was a member of Phi Sigma Alpha and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree.                                                       
Julia discovered acting early in his academic career, beginning with a role in                                             
first grade. "From then on, that was it," he told Cigar Aficionado magazine in                                             
1993. "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." He was deeply involved in drama and art                                               
clubs in his high school years, and even played the role of Rodrigo in Othello                                             
at a local drama production. For a while he was also a game show host and teen                                             
program host on Puerto Rican television.                                                                                   
Upon graduation from college, Julia was faced with a difficult choice between                                               
his parents' wishes and his own. They wanted him to remain in Puerto Rico and                                               
continue on to law school. They also pointed out that his uncles were the owners                                           
of a mental hospital, and that he could have guaranteed success as a doctor. He,                                           
however, wanted to pursue an acting career. Finally, like so many aspiring                                                 
actors, he left for New York City in 1964. He asked his parents only to finance                                             
the tuition fees of any acting classes he might take, while he would support                                               
himself through various odd jobs, including selling fountain pens and serving as                                           
a telemarketer. Julia began studying drama with Wynn Handman. He soon found work                                           
in off-Broadway theater and at open air performances in New York's Central Park.                                           
In 1966, Julia began working with theater impresario Joseph Papp and the New                                               
York Shakespeare Festival. He credited his recently-developed sales skills and                                             
sheer persistence with convincing Papp after several tries of allowing him to do                                           
Shakespearean roles, which he considered the epitome of acting roles. His                                                   
Shakespearean roles included Edmund in King Lear in 1973 and the title role of                                             
Othello in 1979. Julia went on to enjoy great success on the musical stage,                                                 
receiving four Tony Award nominations for his roles in Two Gentlemen of Verona (1972,                                       
for which he also won the 1972 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance),                                               
Where's Charley? (1975), as Mack the Knife in The Threepenny Opera (1977), and                                             
in the Fellini-inspired Nine (1982). He appeared in over a dozen Broadway                                                   
productions, including the legendary 1973 flop musical Via Galactica. During                                               
this time he also starred in the critically acclaimed satirical stage rendition                                             
of Dracula. The stage successes led to his formal film debut in The Organization                                           
(1971), in which he starred opposite Sidney Poitier (he had played bit parts in                                             
two previous films, Stiletto and The Panic in Needle Park). In the early 1980s,                                             
Julia was invited to join Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope Studios company and                                               
appeared in One from the Heart (1982).                                                                                     
In 1971, Julia also appeared as a regular cast member, Rafael, on the children's                                           
TV series Sesame Street. Rafael only appeared on the show during the third                                                 
season; afterward, Julia moved on to other projects.                                                                       
Although he never became a major film superstar (he was partial towards theater),                                           
Julia had notable dramatic and comic roles in a number of films and made-for-TV                                             
movies, including his exceptional performance in the film biography of 20th                                                 
century Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis in Onassis: The Richest Man in                                             
the World in which he co-starred with the late Anthony Quinn. In 1983, he                                                   
starred in a spectacularly disastrous made-for-TV movie, Overdrawn at the Memory                                           
Bank, an adaptation of a John Varley short story which would later be mocked on                                             
Mystery Science Theater 3000. In 1984, he appeared in the Puerto Rican film La                                             
Gran Fiesta, directed by Marcos Zurinaga; his small monologue near the end of                                               
the film is regarded as the film's turning point. In Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985),                                       
he played a passionate political prisoner (he lost considerable weight to make                                             
the role credible), and in Romero (1989) he played the Salvadoran Archbishop                                               
Oscar Romero (his research for doing the film demanded that he concelebrate a                                               
Roman Catholic mass along with the two priests that served as advisors to the                                               
film's production). One of his most memorable roles came as Sandy Stern, the                                               
defense attorney of Harrison Ford's character Rusty Sabich in Presumed Innocent