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Rubén Blades

Rubén Blades

The Panamanian-born performer has had a thriving career in music, movies, television and even politics. After studying and practicing law in his native country, Blades obtained a master's, and later, a doctorate in international law from Harvard. Involved in music his entire life, Blades played in the bands of such legendary musicians as Ray Barretto and Willie Colon. His 1978 album Siembra, in collaboration with Colon was a major salsa best seller and he has become a leader in the creation of the Nueva Cancion salsa movement, which brought serious content to what had once been viewed simply as dance music.

Blades began his movie career in the early ‘80s with The Last Fight for which he wrote the title song. He also wrote the score for the film When Mountains Tremble and Q&A. His first major success was the independent film Crossover Dreams, which he also co-wrote. He was the subject of a documentary The Return of Rubén Blades. Other movies of the ‘80s included Critical Condition, Fatal Beauty and The Milagro Beanfield War.

In the 1990s he appeared in Mo' Better Blues, The Two Jakes, The Devil's Own, The Color of Night, Chinese Box, The Super, The Lemon Sisters, Predator 2 and Cradle Will Rock. During that decade he founded the Papa Egora political party and placed third in Panama's presidential election of 1994, pulling in 20 percent of the vote.

More recent films include All the Pretty Horses, The Maldonado Miracle, Empire and Assassination Tango. He stars in the upcoming Imagining Argentina, Secuestro Express and Spin.

On television Blades has starred in HBO's Dead Man Out, One Man's War and The Josephine Baker Story, which earned him an Emmy nomination. He received a second Emmy nod for Crazy From the Heart. Other TV performances include the telefilm Miracle on I-880. He also starred in the recent series Gideon's Crossing opposite Andre Braugher.

In 1997, he was one of the stars of Paul Simon's Broadway musical Capeman, starring opposite Marc Anthony.

Blades is a multiple Grammy award winning artist, his most recent award being for his 2002 album Mundo. He was recently nominated for a Latin Grammy award as well.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2003.

Rubén Blades Facts

BirthdayJuly 16, 1948 (75)

Selected Filmography

Safe House
The Devil's Own
Predator 2
Hands of Stone
So Close, Yet So Far
The Milagro Beanfield War
Once Upon A Time In Mexico
All The Pretty Horses
Predator 2 Blu-ray
Mo' Better Blues
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