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Raúl Rafael Juliá y Arcelay (March 9, 1940 – October 24, 1994) is probably only known (especially by the younger generation) as Gomez Addams in the Addams Family films, but he was a much better actor than just that.  He was born in Puerto Rico,  in San Juan, he gained interest in acting while still in school. Upon completing his studies, he decided to pursue a career in acting. After performing locally for some time, he was convinced by entertainment personality Orson Bean  to move and work in New York City. Juliá, who had been bilingual since his childhood, soon gained interest in Broadway and Off Broadway plays. He performed in mobile projects, including The Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre.

Juliá was eventually noticed by Joseph Papp, who offered him work in the New York Shakespeare Festival.  After gaining notoriety, he received roles in two television series,  Love of Life and Sesame Street:

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For his performance in Two Gentlemen of Verona , he received a nomination for the Tony Award and won a Drama Desk Award.

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In 1978 he featured in The Eyes of Laura Mars directed by Irvin Kershner (Star Wars, Robocop 2) with Faye Dunaway, Tommy Lee Jones, Brad Dourif from a script written by the great John  Carpenter.

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One From the Heart (1982)

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The Escape Artist (1982)

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Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)

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William Hurt wins an Oscar for Kiss of the Spider Woman and “shares” it with Raul (when you watch this clip, Jon Voight is sitting next to his young daughter – Angelina Jolie)


Oscar, BAFTA and Cannes  winning, performance by William Hurt, Nominated for Best Director Oscar (Hector Babenco), and winner of numerous other awards including NBR Award for Raul.

The Morning After (1086)

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The Penitent (1988)

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Moon Over Paradour (1988)

Comedy romance with Kiss co-star Sonia Braga, Richard Dreyfuss and Sammy Davis Jnr!

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Tequila Sunrise (1988)

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Presumed Innocent (1990)

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Between 1974 and 1982, Juliá received Tony Award nominations for Where’s Charley?, The Threepenny Opera and Nine.

. In 1994, he filmed The Burning Season 

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In 1991 and 1993 he portrayed Gomez Addams in two hugely successful film adaptations of the Addams Family TV series in The Addams Family (1991) and Addams Family Values (1993)

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Interview about playing Gomez Addams


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Later that year, Juliá suffered several health afflictions, eventually dying after suffering a stroke, he died on 24 October 1994 aged just 54.  His funeral was held in Puerto Rico, being attended by thousands. For his work in The Burning Season, Juliá won a posthumous Golden Globe and Emmy Award