Actor, writer, director and producer Paul Naschy, known as the Spanish Lon Chaney for his dozens of roles in Spanish horror films, died Tuesday of cancer in Madrid. He was 75.
In the late 1960s, Naschy began starring in, writing and occasionally directing and producing a long string of Spanish scare titles that made him a cult figure among horror fans. Many of his roles were re-creations of classic Universal horror characters such as Dracula, the werewolf and the hunchback.
Born Jacinto Molina Alvarez in Madrid, he started out writing Western novels and made his first appearance as an extra in Nicholas Ray’s 1960 “King of Kings.” In 1968, he created the werewolf character Waldemar Daninsky with his first starring role in “Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror.” He played the character in a dozen films including “The Mark of the Wolfman” and “The Curse of the Beast.”
He moved into directing with films such as the 1976 “Inquisition, and also branched into making documentaries for Japanese TV. His wolfman pic “The Beast and the Magic Sword” was one of the first Spanish-Japanese co-productions.
Among other notable films he starred in are “Dr. Jekyll vs. the Werewolf,” “Horror Rises from the Tomb,” “Panic Beats,” “Orgy of the Dead,” “Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll,” “Rats Don’t Sleep at Night,” and “A Dragonfly for Each Corpse.” While his most productive period was during the 1970s, he continued to work even after being diagnosed with cancer. He travelled to Hollywood in 2003 to appear in on “Countess Dracula’s Orgy of Blood” and “Tomb of the Werewolf.”
He is survived by his wife, Elvira, and two children.