Raul Julia


Raúl Rafael Juliá y Arcelay (March 9, 1940 – October 24, 1994) was a Puerto Rican actor. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, he took an interest in acting while still in school and pursued the career upon completion of his studies. After performing locally for some time, he was convinced by entertainment personality Orson Bean to move and work in New York City. Julia, who had been bilingual since his childhood, soon gained interest in Broadway and Off-Broadway plays. He took over the role of Orson in the Off-Broadway hit Your Own Thing, a rock musical updating of Twelfth Night. He performed in mobile projects, including the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater.

Julia was eventually noticed by Joseph Papp, who offered him work in the New York Shakespeare Festival. After gaining visibility, he received roles in two television series, Love of Life and Sesame Street. In 1978 he famously starred alongside Meryl Streep in an electric revival of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew at the Delacorte Theater. In 1979, Julia starred in the original Broadway production of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal alongside Roy Scheider and Blythe Danner. For his performance in Two Gentlemen of Verona, he received a nomination for the Tony Award and won a Drama Desk Award. Between 1974 and 1982, Julia received Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical nominations for Where’s Charley?, The Threepenny Opera and Nine. In 1991, Julia acted alongside Christopher Walken in a revival of Othello and in 1994, he starred in Design for Living with Frank Langella and Jill Clayburgh.

He is also known for his performances in films; his film debut came in 1971 acting alongside Al Pacino in The Panic in Needle Park. Other roles in the 1970s include The Organization include The Organization (1971), with Sidney Poitier; and Irvin Kershner‘s Eyes of Laura Mars (1978), with Faye Dunaway, Tommy Lee Jones, Brad Douriff, and René Auberjonois. During the 1980s, he worked in several films; he received two nominations for the Golden Globe Awards, for his performances in Paul Mazursky’s Tempest (1982), with John Cassavetes, Gena Rowlands, Susan Sarandon and Molly Ringwald; and Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985), with William Hurt and Sônia Braga; he won the National Board of Review Award for Best Actor for the latter.

He also appeared in Francis Ford Coppola‘s One from the Heart (1982), with Frederic Forrest, Teri Garr, Nastassja Kinski, Lainie Kazan, and Harry Dean Stanton; Sydney Lumet’s The Morning After (1986), with Jane Fonda and Jeff Bridges; Tequila Sunrise (1988), with Mel Gibson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kurt Russell, J.T. Walsh, Arliss Howard, and Budd Boetticher; Roger Corman‘s Frankenstein Unbound (1990), with John Hurt, Bridget Fonda, Jason Patric, and Nick Brimble; and The Rookie (1990), with Charlie Sheen, Clint Eastwood (who also directed), Lara Flynn Boyle, and Tom Skerritt.

In 1991 and 1993, Julia portrayed Gomez Addams in Barry Sonnenfeld‘s film adaptations of The Addams Family, alongside Anjelica Huston, Christopher Lloyd, and Christina Ricci. Later that year, Julia suffered several health afflictions, eventually dying after suffering a stroke. His final theatrical film was as video game antagonist M. Bison in the film adaptation of Street Fighter (1994), with Jean-Claude Van Damme, Byron Mann, Damian Chapa, Kylie Minogue, Ming-Na Wen, and Wes Studi. His funeral was held in Puerto Rico, attended by thousands. For his work in The Burning Season (1994), with Carmen Argenziano, Sonia Braga, Kamala Lopez-Dawson, Luis Guzmán, Edward James Olmos; he won a posthumous Golden Globe Award, Primetime Emmy Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award.

Each review will be linked to the title below.

(*seen originally in theaters)

(**seen rereleased in theaters)

  • The Panic in Needle Park (1971) – directed by Jerry Schatzberg
  • Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me (1971) – directed by Jeffrey Young
  • The Organization (1971) – directed by Don Medford
  • Death Scream (1975) – directed by Richard T. Heffron – TV movie
  • The Gumball Rally (1976) – Charles Bail
  • Eyes of Laura Mars (1978) – directed by Irvin Kershner
  • A Life of Sin (1979) – directed by Efraín López Neris
  • Ripe Strawberries (1980) – directed by Randal Hoey – short
  • Strong Medicine (1981) – directed by Richard Foreman
  • One from the Heart (1982) – directed by Francis Ford Coppola
  • The Escape Artist (1982) – directed by Caleb Deschanel
  • Tempest (1982) – directed by Paul Mazursky
  • Overdrawn at the Memory Bank (1983) – directed by Douglas Williams – TV movie
  • Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) – directed by Héctor Babenco
  • Compromising Positions (1985) – directed by Frank Perry
  • La Gran Fiesta (1986) – directed by Marcos Zurinaga
  • Florida Straits (1986) – directed by Mike Hodges – TV movie
  • The Morning After (1986) – directed by Sidney Lumet
  • The Alamo: Thirteen Days to Glory (1987) – directed by Burt Kennedy – TV move
  • Tango Bar (1987) – directed by Marcos Zurinaga
  • Onassis: The Richest Man in the World (1988) – directed by Waris Hussein
  • The Penitent (1988) – directed by Cliff Osmond
  • Trading Hearts (1988) – directed by Neil Leifer
  • Moon over Parador (1988) – directed by Paul Mazursky
  • Tequila Sunrise (1988) – directed by Robert Towne
  • Romero (1989) – directed by John Duigan
  • Mack the Knife (1990) – directed by Menahem Golan
  • Presumed Innocent (1990) – directed by Alan J. Pakula
  • Frankenstein Unbound (1990) – directed by Roger Corman
  • The Rookie (1990) – directed by Clint Eastwood
  • Havana (1990) – directed by Sydney Pollack – uncredited
  • The Addams Family (1991) – directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
  • The Plague (1992) – directed by Luis Puenzo
  • Addams Family Values (1993)* – directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
  • The Burning Season: The Chico Mendes Story (1994) directed by John Frankenheimer – TV movie
  • Street Fighter (1994) * – directed by Steven E. de Souza – posthumously released
  • Down Came a Blackbird – (1995) directed by Jonathan Sanger – TV movie – posthumously released