Renowned Argentine actor Hugo Arana died from coronavirus

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The actor Hugo Arana, with an extensive career in theater, film and television died at the age of 77 at the School Sanatorium. The renowned artist had been hospitalized a few days ago for a domestic accident. However there he was swabed, which confirmed that he was infected with COVID-19.

Hugo Arana belonged to that select group of essential people. Those people who transcend not only by their art but also by their coherence. Dear and respected by all, he managed to travel the last stage of his life in a state reserved for the few: wisdom. Because Arana could laugh at her false death heralded three times by twiter and deny for the umpteenth time with a smile that Facundo Arana was her son.

But he was also seen marching for the reasons he considered fair, collaborating with short films of a film student with more ideas than resources or responding with kindness and sincerity to the questions of a famous journalist but also those of a barrial newspaper or those of a student of a journalism school.

His childhood and adolescence took place away from the stage. He grew up in Monte Grande where his parents were the landlords of a fifth. The salary was enough to cover only the basic needs. The kitchen was wood-burning, at night it lit a sun at night, the shower was a punctured can and the toothpaste was filled with coarse salt. "At 11, we moved to Lanús and for me it was stepping on the asphalt for the first time. When I opened the canilla and water came out I lived it as a miracle," he recalled without grudges. In his teens he was a bricklayer, painter, electrician, carpeter and even a player from the lower lanús. With a friend, Carlos Herrera became friends with the local film designer who from the booth and for free allowed them to enjoy the films. It wasn't time for pochoclo combos but they were matte and sponge cake and leaving the cinema dreaming of being reluctant as Marlon Brando but never an actor.

Hugo Arana (Credit: Telam)
Hugo Arana (Credit: Telam) 

But although acting was not his goal, it was at his destination. "One day I went to the Center to buy screws and saw a sign that said: Become an actor, experimental film center. And I stayed like ice cream. I've never seen theater before, although I really liked movies. I was desperate to do something in my life." On the day he turned 22, July 23, '65, enrollment was given to the school. "I had no idea of acting, but within a few months I was already with a little role on stage in a play about Lee Harvey Oswald, played by Enrique Liporace. And I felt: nobody gets me out of here anymore. It was the first time I cared about something."

It was intense years of work and training with teachers Marcelo Lavalle and Augusto Fernandes. Between classes and stages he met Marzenka Nowak, the love of his life, as beautiful as it is surprising, Polish by birth, with a leading father of resistance acting underground against the Nazis. She was refined, never missed an insult and he was a mixture of tormentor, tenderness and arrabal. The discovery of the opposite gave way to love, they married and became the parents of Juan Gonzalo. They were together for 44 years when an ACV took Mayenka. Do you miss life as a couple? "I miss my wife, " he answered pierced by grief. "It was many years, and beautiful. There wasn't a day that said, 'I'm leaving.' Never. Neither she nor I. I think there's a misconception of what a couple is. For me it's like an orchard, you have to take out the yokes, you have to water and plant again, it's a laburo. It's naive to believe in the miracle that something works because it does, alone."

Consolidated in the family, with an acting career that was beginning to be recognized by peers, the great leap to popularity was missing and came in an unthinking way: with an advertisement. In 1970 a roommate from the theater workshop told him that Juan José Jusid was looking for an actor for a wine advertisement. "I flatly refused. But I saw Ulysses Dumont make a warning of kaleons and Norman Briski, razor blades and they were two well-known and admirable actors. So I went to the test and recorded the notice." There he embodied a man who learns that he will be a father when his wife shows him some escarpines. In the nineteenth minute of the notice – something unthinkable for this time – Arana deploys a series of emotions ranging from wonder to happiness to tenderness and fear generated by the news of her fatherhood. The notice impacted so much and so strong that in 2016 the actor received a statuette for "starring in the most remembered advertising of Argentine television". That image of a tender, good and loyal man would accompany him all his life. Because Arana may never have been a gallant who fell in love, but if she represented that ideal son-in-law, the faithful friend who won't leave you in the stand. Those who knew him and worked with him said he never needed to act like a good guy because he just was.

Always honoring the acting profession, in film he was part of more than forty films including El santo de la espada, La tregua, La vuelta de Martín Fierro, La historia oficial, Made in Argentina, Las puertitas by Mr. López, El side oscuro del corazón, El verso, Yanka and the spirit of the volcano. On television he participated in Papa Corazón, the Golden Rocket band, Good Neighbors, The Successful Pells, The Sonics, To Dress Saints, I Will Resist and La Leona among the most remembered. His great television success was in Marriages and something else. There directed by Hugo Moser he incarned groncho in the sketch El Groncho and the lady who starred with Cristina del Valle. He also portrayed Spider-Huguito, who repeated the stereotype of effeminate homosexual of that time. The character was born in 1982 in the midst of dictatorship and the military wanted to ban it as "a bad example". The solution was to "marry" the character with that of actress Monica Gonzaga, but maintaining her sexual identity. Huguito Araña conducted impromptu interviews that unsealed the interviewee like the one he did to goalkeeper Sergio Goycochea after tackled the penalties at the World Cup in Italy and passed out on him after smelling his perfume.

The theatre was his great passion starred in countless works such as "Baraka", "El saludador", "Filomena Marturano", "La nona", "Made in Lanús" and "Los tutores". Recognized by critics and their peers, loved by the public, the lights of fame never made him dizzy. "For me, success is the ladder you put on and up step to step, depending on how you feel at every step. Success isn't out there, it's not recognition. That's not in my hands. I seek to climb a step and feel that I can turn a hatch into a white horse and ride horses." He claimed that he loved the profession because it helped him understand that life is a game, but a sacred game.

Hugo Arana in "Broken Love" (Credit: Mario Sar / Teleshow)
Hugo Arana in "Broken Love" (Credit: Mario Sar / Teleshow)

Perhaps that's why he missed great novels like those on Channel 7, with fifteen-day essays and with actors such as Norma Aleandro, Héctor Alterio and with ideas and scripts that were bought all over the planet. He repeated with humor that he did not want to die on stage because he was concerned about the shock that would cause him to collapse in front of colleagues and the public and that he preferred to spare them that bad drink. "I'll act until I can. I did not study theatre all my life for the duty of nothing, but for the pleasure of the quest to build a behavior, a character." For him to build a character was always a wonderful adventure. Those who knew him say the real wonder was to meet him.

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