The actor Rodolfo Bebán died on Saturday night at 84 years old. According to sources close to the late artist, there will be no wake. The prolific interpreter resided in a nursing home.
There was a time in Argentina when everyone looked at themselves in the actor’s mirror. Men wanted to resemble him, to take the essential features of his strong and elegant appearance, to emulate those virile weapons of seduction that seemed irresistible in his hands. And the women sighed for the eyes of infinite blue of the favorite gallant of the scenarios and from the screen and surrendered to the eloquent persuasion of his voice with deep tones and perfect theatricality.
All this happened during the 1960s, when the leading men were recognized from the emphasis on some of their manly attributes (attitudes, gestures, words) and it was common for women to accept this seductive game from a place of visible submission. It was the moment of highest popularity in Bebán’s entire career, who represented better than anyone else that climate of the time through several of his fictional characters.
His real life was always the opposite. Away from the cameras, there was never any trace of arrogance or misunderstood manhood in Bebán, but the constant recognition of a withdrawn, shy and insecure personality, which led him to naturally distance himself from contact with the media. That decision constantly fostered the misconception that the actor despised the press and treated it with disdain all the time. “The way popularity came to my career left me with some sequels. It was something very fast, ”he acknowledged. At the same time, he was always against “going to say anything” to the media. That is why political definitions were never known to him.
The moment in which he was closest to these questions was in the 90s, while he was doing Mark, the candidate, his last great leading role on TV, with Hugo Moser. The character’s honesty was so emphatic that some imagined the possibility of nominating Bebán, who had lived all his life in the western area of the suburbs, as a candidate for mayor of Morón to curb the dominance that another man of the media, the questioned former broadcaster Juan Carlos Rousselot.
Bebán was born on May 25, 1938 in Ciudadela and grew up in Morón, where his mother always lived and his best friends lived. He spent his childhood very far from any hint of artistic vocation, between sports and night outings to tango strongholds. His first dazzle came with Virulazo. From then on, dancing tango became one of his great joys, which he could not continue when fame came to him. “It is no longer so comfortable, so nice to go to a public place to dance. It is one thing to be someone from the crowd and another to make firuletes when everyone is looking at you, ”he lamented before LA NACION in 2014. He was also very fond of fencing, but had to give it up as well. “People came to see me because she was the little figure on television. Stop doing this. I am very shy,” she admitted.
For a man of that personality, reaching the show and the media could not be something desired or driven by will. To Beban, access to that world came to him thanks to a stroke of luck, the first of many that he acknowledged having lived. When he was about to travel to Córdoba to pursue a career as an airline pilot, he decided to accompany a friend to an acting test held in front of the Municipality of Morón. the play was ovejuna and Bebán finally stuck with the character. “From that day on, the stage imposed itself on me as something irreversible and I couldn’t move away anymore. I played it ”, he recognized years later. It was the last thing he expected mother, who had separated from Miguel Bebán, Rodolfo’s father, precisely because of the theater. “I saw my father a few times in my life, as an actor. He was very harsh in criticizing him. Having him was a challenge and I think he finally felt proud of his son, although he never told me,” he confessed later.
Although they never got along, Miguel Bebán was responsible in 1969 for one of his son’s great television moments as the person in charge of directing and staging a version of Othello, broadcast by Channel 13. It was the last of the big bets of this type made by the Constitución channel, defeated that same night (June 27) by a parody of the same character by Osvaldo Pacheco in a special broadcast by Channel 9 by Alexander Romay.
By then he already had a well-earned recognition as a solid stage actor and a popularity that did not stop growing thanks to his television appearances. This last door was opened to him thanks to what Bebán always remembered as a second stroke of luck. Shortly after returning from a long stay in Europe he was completely removed from the artistic environment. He earned a lot of money as head of promotion and public relations for a credit house. Until a prompter heard that Channel 13 was looking for a leading man to add to the cast of love has a woman’s face and seduce the character of Bárbara Mujica. They went to look for him at his house in Castelar, he accepted the proposal and the next day he was already rehearsing. He debuted on television on May 17, 1965. That day began the true artistic career of Rodolfo Bebán.
In the decision to definitively embrace acting, what he experienced in Europe must have had a lot to do with it. She had traveled there in the early 1960s wanting to make a globetrotting life. He walked for a long time doing nothing and when money was scarce along with plans for a resigned return to Argentina he heard someone shout his name while walking through the Plaza Mayor in Madrid. That meeting ended in an agreement to tour all of Spain with the texts of Aeschylus’ Oresteia, which he memorized in record time.
The return to Argentina and the call of the TV determined from there the destiny of his career. Acting in classical plays was the ideal state for him. “My great love is the theater. I was born and raised in it. When I don’t, I miss it. However, I have to admit that television is what gave me notoriety and the possibility of great jobs. I can’t spit against the wind”, he said in 2014. He always remembered Alfred de Musset’s Lorenzaccio (which he played alongside Alfredo Alcón in a memorable Omar Grasso staging) already A handsome man from the 900, by Samuel Eichelbaum, as his most accomplished appearances on stage. He knew how to move skilfully in those two worlds (the theater and TV) that successively gave him many successes and a name of his own in the firmament of local entertainment, further strengthened by the repercussions of his marriage to Claudia Lapacó, with whom he had two children (Rodrigo and Diego). But when the effects of popularity got beyond a point he could reasonably handle, he reverted to his armor, to his sullen and pessimistic frame of mind, and little or nothing was heard of him for a time.
On television he was the great figure (along with José María Langlais, Eduardo Rudy and Jorge Barreiro) of Four men for Eva, which came immediately after love has a woman’s face and with the same success on the small screen in the mid-1960s, at the hands of Nené Cascallar. In 1966 she also made for TV a well-remembered version of Romeo and Juliet with Evangelina Salazar and directed by María Herminia Avellaneda.
At the end of that decade he met Gabriela Gili, with whom he maintained a deep and extensive personal and artistic bond. He was the love of her life. They had three children (Facundo, the only one who pursued an artistic career, Daniela and Pedro) and a deep emotional connection that lasted until the blonde and beautiful actress died on December 29, 1991 in her sleep due to an unexpected heart attack. The episode further reinforced Bebán’s decision to distance himself from the world, enveloped in despondency and discouragement. He always recognized that he only found lost mental strength in his six children (he had one more, Dolores, with the Brazilian actress Luz Amaral) and based on her he was encouraged to return to work.
The great success of the Bebán-Gili duo had been Malevo, a story of handsome men written by Abel Santa Cruz who took full advantage of the strong image and powerful declamation of the actor and preserved throughout his career (from 1972 to 1975). high rating figures. Then they starred in the failed melodrama no need to love you and recovered with a return to the sources of Malevo. In the quarterer, Bebán was Prudencio Navarro, a “tough with the handsome and tender for love” who became strong in Barracas. In the following decade, Bebán would return to that world with another work signed by Santa Cruz: Nazareno Reyes.
In those years he really enjoyed being the central figure in some adaptations of classic theater and literature texts in single productions or miniseries format. Among these last was highlighted wuthering heights, that he did together with Alicia Bruzzo. Until in 1989 she was revealed for the first time as the main character of a sitcom, The others and us written under a pseudonym by the then very prolific Rodolfo Ledo. There, Bebán and Silvia Montanari played a couple (she separated, he a widower) with seven teenage children between them. The couple personally took care of choosing the youth cast, which included the then almost unknown Adrián Suar, Florencia Peña, Diego Torres and Gloria Carrá, among others. “It costs me much less work to make a Hamlet than a comedy character –Bebán recognized at that time-. This answer makes sense because I am a being turned towards depression and anguish and when I am faced with a role where the funny or the funny have to emerge, I experience a great fear of not hitting the right key, precisely because I am not even funny nor amused”.
Bebán’s last great television success was the price of power (1992). Its author, Hugo Moser, used the central character (an unscrupulous businessman named Lucio Santini) to launch a battery of noisy denunciations against corruption and drug laundering. Author and actor would meet again a couple of years later with the much less successful Mark, the candidate, portrait of an honest politician who, as we said, led some to imagine in vain that Bebán could go from fiction to reality in this field. Later he was an investigative journalist (in The sign, along with Pablo Echarri), Homicide detective (in city of poor hearts) and in 2014 he had his first and only experience in a daily telenovela, road to love, with which he fulfilled an old promise he had made to producer Enrique Estevanez. “I had never done a strip before, always in weekly programs. This is terrible! The work is exhausting, and the truth is that I have a hard time. But I bank it, ”she confessed at the time.
He seemed to take much more pride in that almost artisanal work than in most of the successes in his long career, because there he showed himself as he was even if he did not have to act. “Being true to oneself requires a great responsibility,” he once said. It is not always the easiest path. I intend never to have to betray myself.” Faithful to that mandate and to a temperament that he did not want to change, in recent times he carried to the last consequences his desire to get away from public life and stop being seen. That heartthrob who seemed irresistible fought until the end but ended up surrendered to the pain of a loss that he could never overcome. At that end of the road, Rodolfo Bebán chose to take a definitive distance from those who never stopped admiring him as an actor of integrity, one of the most important that Argentina had in the last half century.
This is how the death of Rodolfo Bebán was reported.