Jaime Fernandez

Thesp, union leader

Mexican thesp and union leader Jaime Fernandez died of a heart attack related to chronic diabetes in Mexico City April 16. He was 67.

Fernandez was the youngest of three Fernandez brothers, who did their best-known work in Mexico’s golden age of film during the 1940s and 50s. His late brother, Emilio “el Indio” Fernandez, was a well-known director, while the late Fernando was a famous singer and actor.

Jaime Fernandez worked with el Indio on eight films, including 1954’s “Rebelion de los colgados,” (Rebellion of the hanged) for which he won a Mexican Ariel award for acting. He had previously won an Ariel for 1952’s “El rebozo de soledad,” (Soledad’s Shawl) and would win another in 1956 for his performance as Friday in “The adventures of Robinson Crusoe,” directed by Luis Bunuel.

Fernandez, who began acting when he was just 10, appeared in over 180 films and a number of telenovelas, as well as stage plays. Including “Robinson Crusoe,” he acted in four English-language films. Although his greatest roles were in the 1950s and 60s, he continued to work and was active in Mexico’s most important actors union, the National Actors Association (ANDA).

In 1966, he was elected general secretary of ANDA, the group’s highest post. Fernandez served in the position for 11 years, and was known as a strong defender of actors’ rights and the union, which faced a crisis when some members split off to form a competing union. His leadership during the incident earned him the nickname “Chief White Feather.”

After his tenure at ANDA’s helm, he remained active in union matters and was attending a meeting of union representatives at broadcaster Televisa when he suffered the fatal heart attack.

Fernandez is survived by his wife, Glenda, and four children.

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