Mario Almada Otero
January 7, 1922 (
Fernando Almada, Horacio Almada Otero
Ariel Award for Best Actor
Hell, The Black Widow, Puerto Maldito, Under the Same Moon, Almost Thirty
Fernando Almada, Valentin Trujillo, Jorge Reynoso, Rodolfo de Anda, Jorge Rivero
October 4, 2016 (aged 94) Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico
Mario Almada Otero (January 7, 1922 – October 4, 2016) was a Mexican actor with a career lasting over seven decades. He appeared in over 300 films. He was most known for his roles in urban westerns and action pictures. He was the brother of actor Fernando Almada.
Almada was born in Huatabampo, Sonora. Apart from acting he was also a director, writer and film producer. He began his artistic career in Mexico during the 1930s. He has appeared in over 200 films, with his first being Madre Querida in 1935. In this film he acted alongside his brother Fernando as children as an extra. He would not appear in another film again until a few decades later.
Almada moved from his home city of Huatabampo to Ciudad Obregón and to Guadalajara, Jalisco, where he lived for many years until he settled down in Mexico City. Almada was born to a family connected to the film industry, and was exposed to film shootings from an early age and, when he moved to Mexico City, he began working at a nightclub called Cabaret Master that was owned by his father.
When his brother Fernando decided to take up acting, Mario decided to become a film producer. He wrote his first film script in 1963. The Almada brothers had their own family-run production company that eventually dissolved due to financial troubles from lack of profit.
In 1965 Mario played the role of Bruno Rey in the film Los Jinetes de la Bruja, in which the Almada brothers produced and Fernando acted as protagonist. Rey was injured during the shooting and Mario agreed to take his place. At the end of the decade, Mario and Fernando were starting off as film protagonists in western films such as Emiliano Zapata. The following year (1969), Mario acted as protagonist alongside Julio Alemán. The film concerns a man (the Tunco Maclovio) who is haunted by the ghost of his friend Juan Mariscal, who died at the age of 15 from an accidental shooting by Tunco Maclovio. This film won him a Diosa de Plata as “Best Co-starring Actor”.
Almada then filmed Aquellos años, Por eso, Cazador de asesinos, El puerto maldito, La viuda negra, Divinas palabras, El valle de los miserables, among others. He returned with La viuda negra and was nominated for an Ariel for his performance Although according to the official website of the Ariel, this nomination was not made until 1984, although La Viuda Negra was released in 1977.
In the 1970s Almada worked on a large number of films of the most diverse types and genres. There were times in which Mexican cinema was forced to seek new paths. Private film production almost disappeared and turned (or intended to be) progressive. It was a time of change in which Almada wanted to secure his place in film as an actor with multiple facets. He worked with westerns (Los doce malditos, 1972); historical reconstructions (Aquellos años, 1972); eschatology tapes and alarmism (La isla de los hombres solos, 1973); in second versions (Los desarraigados, 1975, based on the eponymous film of Gilberto Gazcón 1958). He agreed to become co-star alongside Vicente Fernandez (El arracadas, 1977); in drug trafficking based films (La banda del carro rojo, 1976); in literary adaptations (Divinas palabras, 1977); ranchera melodramas, (Mariachi, 1976), and urban melodramas (Para usted jefa, 1979). In his more than 200 films the subject of righteous revenge is something that remains as a constant, and especially in movies directed by Pedro Galindo such as 'Los desalmados (1970); Todo el horizonte para morir (1970); El pistolero del diablo (1973); in 1981 he reinforced this trend with Cazador de asesinos directed by Jose Luis Urquieta, which is based on the ballad of the same name by the band Cadetes de Linares.
During the 1970s, Almada's films were box office successes. In this decade, however, he changed his usual role of a hero/cowboy figure to a recurring villain in urban action films, highlighted in Peor Que Las Fieras alongside Rogelio Guerra and Yolanda Liévana. Moreover, like in the end of the 1960s, he made another change, since he began to star without his brother in many of his films during the 1980s. In addition, he worked on films dealing with other subjects, such as La viuda negra (1977) and La fuga del rojo (1982). Almada recognizes that:
“Es difícil quedar satisfecho con el trabajo que uno hace, y siempre espera que la siguiente película sea mejor, aunque la gente lo que pide es acción. Hice películas de otro género como Divinas palabras, La india y no tuvieron éxito, la gente no las fue a ver, prefieren la acción y eso ha sostenido a la industria.” ["It is difficult to be satisfied with the work you do, and you always hope that the next movie is better, but the people want action. I made films in other genres such as Divinas palabras, La india and they did not succeed, people did not go to see them, they prefer action and that has sustained the industry."]
In 1987 he was again nominated for an Ariel for the second time with his starring role as Chido Guan in the film Tacos de Oro, the story of a football team who are about to lose until Chido Guan (Almada) helps them win. Again, the film was shot in 1985, but the Mexican Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences did not nominate the film until 1987.
In 1990 Almada collaborated with Los Tigres del Norte again in the film La Camioneta Gris. Previously in 1978, Almada, alongside his brother Fernando, had collaborated with the band in the film La Banda del Carro Rojo alongside Pedro Infante Jr. From 1997 to 2001, he played an important role in the Grupo Exterminador album "Narco Corridos 2" where he appeared on the cover and also conducted dialogues for most of the album's songs. In the 1997 album El Chile Pelaiz he reappeared on the cover. In 1999 he created dialogues for the track "Contrabando en los huevos" and participated in the video that was banned by the SCT and his last appearance for the band was on the album "Reunión de perrones" where he appeared with other Mexican actors. For his contributions to the motion picture industry, Almada has been inducted into the Paseo de las Luminarias in Mexico City.
Almada's films continued with themes of drug trafficking and violence. He played the role of a godfather in the 2006 film Bajo la misma luna. The film is about a boy who crosses the Mexican-American Border in order to reunite with his mother. The film's name has been changed to La Misma Luna since January 2007 and was officially released in México on September 7, 2007 and in the United States on September 28, 2007.
In 2008 Almada played a secondary role during the second season of the Mexican television series El Pantera, playing the role of Don Almagro. In 2010 he appeared on the Narco satire El Infierno, made by Luis Estrada. He played the role of the drug trafficker known as "El Texano", an intermediary between the highland narcotics producers and the people of Jose Reyes. It is an unusual role for him to take on in his career full of mafia-related films, where he often plays an incorruptible police officer or a peaceful civilian who ends up seeking revenge.
Almada died in his sleep at the age of 94 on October 4, 2016.