Latino Talents and Legends Who Left Us in 2012

We wanted to acknowledge a few of them for the talents they shared with us throughout the years

By By Angela M. Ort?¡z, Se Fija!
Published on LatinoLA: December 31, 2012

Latino Talents and Legends Who Left Us in 2012

Originally published at Se Fija!. Republished by permission.

These articles are not easy ones to write and we can never include everyone who has passed. But we wanted to acknowledge a few for their talents they shared with us.

Julio Alem?ín, Actor, Pioneer of Mexican Telenovelas, dies at 78

Mr. Alem?ín was someone I grew-up watching on television and movies in Panam?í and on the Spanish stations here in the U.S.A. He starred in the first telenovela ever produced in Mexico. His last telenovela was produced only two years ago. He had a career that spanned over five decades.

Hector "Macho" Camacho, Puerto Rican Boxing Legend, dies at 50

He was a force to be reckoned with, both inside and outside the ring. He was quite colorful in the ring due to his unique costumes. Camacho was a professional boxer for three decades; he won a super-featherweight world title in '83, a lightweight title in '85, and two junior welterweight titles in '89 and '91.

Viredo Espinosa, Cuban Painter, dies at 83

Espinosa was a member of a revolutionary group of artists in 1950s Cuba whose Abstract Expressionism expanded the scope of the country's modern art. He fled Cuba in 1969 and settled in Southern California. The Los Angeles Times had a nice piece on him; check it out here.

Carlos Fuentes, Mexican writer, dies at 83

Carlos was born in Panam?í City, where his father was part of Mexico's diplomatic corps. His family then relocated to Washington, D.C., where the father served as legal counsel of the Mexican embassy. Fuentes received much of his primary education in the public schools of Washington, D.C.; during summer vacations, he returned to Mexico to stay with his grandparents and attend Mexican schools. He learned Mexican history and folklore from his grandmothers; while in Washington he was immersed in American popular culture. When you read his books, you get the sense of his experiences. He wrote novels, short stories, essays and political commentary.

Silvana Gallardo, Actress, Acting Coach and Writer, dies at 58

A New York native, who had been living in Paris, KY, appeared on many television shows including "Babylon 5," "Hill Street Blues," "Falcon Crest," "NYPD Blue," "The Golden Girls" and "Days of Our Lives." Her film credits include "Calendar Girl Murders," "Silence of the Heart," "Copacabana," "The Windwalker," "Death Wish II," "Out of the Dark" and "Solar Crisis." Gallardo taught and coached some of Hollywood's biggest stars, like Angelina Jolie, Keanu Reeves and others.

Lucy Gallardo, Actress in Dozens of Mexican Films and Telenovelas, dies at 82

The Argentinian actress was well known for starring in writer-director Luis Bu??uel's thought-provoking drama "The Exterminating Angel," which also starred her second husband, Enrique Rambal. She was a beloved actress in Mexico. In the U.S. she was seen in "How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer" with America Ferrera and Elizabeth Pe??a. She wrote for telenovelas and acted in theater productions. She passed away in her home in Los Angeles.

Ricardo Legorreta, Mexican Modernist Architect, dies at 80

He actually died on December 30, 2011, but we didn't hear about it until 2012, so we thought we would add him here. He was a prolific designer of homes, public buildings and a master planner in Mexico, the U.S.A. and other countries.

Patricia Medina, Actress from the Golden Age of Hollywood, dies at 92

Patricia Paz Maria Medina was actually born in Liverpool, England to a Spanish father and an English mother. She came to Hollywood in the 1940s. Voluptuous and exotic-looking, Medina was often typecast in period melodramas. She kept busy until she retired from acting in 1978, after a forty-year career.

Gabita Miller, Actress, Singer, Dancer, dies at 89

Born Adolfina Li???ín-Miller in Cuba, where she started her career in the 1940s, Gabita came to the U.S. and continued with her dancing and acting. She was barely 4'11," but large in talent. She even appeared with Guillermo D?¡az, David Zayas and Edwin Pag?ín in "Sangre/Blood."

Lupe Ontiveros, Beloved Character Actress, dies at 69

Actress, activist, mother, friendher work as an actress is well-known, and spanned more than 35 years. She was the crazed fan who killed Selena in "Selena," the housekeeper in "Goonies;" she was in "Real Women Have Curves" and "The Brothers Garcia" and "Resurrection Boulevard" and "Desperate Housewives" and "Los Americans." We wrote about Lupe here. back in July when she passed.

Jenni Rivera, La Diva de la Banda, La Gran Se??ora, dies at 43

Ms Rivera's death was a tragic one, but she'll be remembered as the solid person she was. Click here to read our previous post on Jenni Rivera.

Johnny Tapia, Five-Time Boxing World Champion, dies at 45

Tapia had an outstanding amateur career. His professional boxing career began on March 25, 1988 when he fought Effren Chavez in Invine, CA. His life had its ups and down, but he was a hometown Chicano from Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Yomo Toro "The King of the Cuatro", dies at 79

Victor Guillermo Toro was born in the municipality of Gu?ínica, Puerto Rico. He recorded over 150 albums in a 60-year career. He worked with Cuban legend Arsenio Rodriguez, Alfonso "El Paname??o" Joseph, Hector Lavoe, Willie Col??n and Ruben Blades. He even worked with the likes of Harry Belafonte, Paul Simon, Linda Rondstadt and David Byrne.

Jairo Varela, A Salsero, dies at 62

He made quite an impact on the music scene in Colombia, as one of the two founding members of one of the most widely recognized groups in all of Latin America, Grupo Niche. With their hits "Cali Pachanguero," "Sin Sentimientos," and "Canoa Rancha" they travel the world. He was producer, director, vocalist, guiro player, and songwriter for the group up until his death. Check out one of their performances here.

Chavela Vargas, La Chamana, La Voz (the voice), dies at 92

Descanses en paz, Chavela Vargas was born in Costa Rica, fled to Mexico at 14, and became a Mexican icon. Well known for her interpretations of "Llorona," but her huge hit was "Macorina." I always enjoyed listening to her voice, from its younger version to her older interpretations. As she became more mature, she sang with conviction. She lived doing what she loved, singing for US! You can listen to Chavela singing "Macorina" here.

Photo of Lupe Ontiveros by Angela M. Ort?¡z

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