Fernando Casado Arambillet
(September 20, 1917 – March 9, 1994), best known as Fernando Rey
, was a Spanish
film, theatre, and TV actor, who worked in both Europe and the United States. A suave, international actor best known for his roles in the films of surrealist director Luis Buñuel
, 1970; Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
, 1972; That Obscure Object of Desire
, 1977) and as a drug lord
in The French Connection
(1971), he appeared in more than 150 films over half a century.
The debonair Rey was described by French Connection
producer Philip D'Antoni
as "the last of the Continental guys". He achieved his greatest notoriety after he turned 50: "Perhaps it is a pity that my success came so late in life", he told The Times
in 1973. "It might have been better to have been successful while young, like El Cordobes
in the bullring
. Then your life is all before you to enjoy it."
Rey was born in La Coruña
, Spain, the son of Captain Casado Veiga. He studied architecture
, but the Spanish Civil War
interrupted his university studies.
In 1936, Rey began his career in movies as an extra
, sometimes even getting credited. It was then that he chose his stage name
, Fernando Rey. He kept his first name, but took his mother's second surname, Rey, a short surname with a clear meaning ("Rey" is Spanish for "King").
In 1944, his first speaking role was the Duke of Alba