Rubén Blades

Rubén Blades

Highest Rated: 93% Do the Right Thing (1989)

Lowest Rated: 0% The Super (1991)

Birthday: Jul 16, 1948

Birthplace: Panama City, Panama

A self-styled renaissance man who has made a significant contribution to salsa with his socially conscious lyrics, Panamanian-born Ruben Blades has also enjoyed a successful career as a screen actor and, in his native country, founded the political party Papa Egora, running and placing third in the 1994 presidential election. After obtaining a law degree in Panama, he moved to the USA in 1974, staying temporarily with his exiled parents in Miami before moving to NYC where he was soon working with salseros Ray Barretto and Larry Harlow. A collaboration with trombonist and band leader Willie Colon followed, and their 1978 album "Siembra" became the best-selling salsa record in history. He branched into movies with the mediocre melodrama "The Last Fight" (1983), writing the title song as well as portraying a singer-turned-boxer vying for a championship. He also penned his first musical score for a film that year for "When Mountains Tremble." Blades gained widespread recognition in 1985 as co-writer and star of the independent "Crossover Dreams" (1985), exhibiting real screen presence as a New York salsa singer willing to do anything to break into the mainstream. He was also the subject of Robert Mugge's fascinating music documentary "The Return of Ruben Blades," which debuted at that year's Denver Film Festival. After finding himself in two 1987 stinkers, "Critical Condition" (with Richard Pryor) and "Fatal Beauty" (with Whoopi Goldberg), Blades rebounded nicely with Robert Redford's "The Milagro Beanfield War" (1988), playing the modern-day New Mexico sheriff of the charming, fanciful fable. He wrote the song "Tu y Yo" for Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing" (1989) and reteamed with Lee the following year as the hard-nosed bookie of "Mo' Better Blues." The banner year also saw him act in the "Chinatown" sequel "The Two Jakes" (directed by and starring Jack Nicholson), "The Lemmon Sisters" (starring Diane Keaton) and "Predator 2" (with Danny Glover and Gary Busey), in addition to scoring Sidney Lumet's "Q & A." On the small screen, Blades has delivered impressive performances in a number of cable movies beginning with his turn as a Death Row inmate in HBO's "Dead Man Out," his first collaboration with Glover. Though "One Man's War" (HBO, 1991) gave him the opportunity to act with the venerable Anthony Hopkins, the well-intentioned script about repression in Paraguay failed to rise to the level of more compelling, similarly-themed films. He fared better as Pepita Abatino, the Sicilian born gigolo who groomed Joseph Baker for stardom, in that year's "The Josephine Baker Story" (HBO), garnering an Emmy nomination for his efforts, and earned praise (and a second Emmy nod) as a Mexican janitor who romances Christine Lahti in "Crazy From the Heart" (TNT, 1991). He also starred as Pastor Beruman whose wife is on the freeway with their two young children in "Miracle on I-880" (NBC, 1993), a routine dramatization of the 1989 Oakland earthquake. "The Super" (1991) cast Blades opposite Joe Pesci as a crafty street hustler who gradually gets the slum landlord more attuned to the needs of his struggling tenants, and the erotic thriller "Color of Night" (1994), starring Bruce Willis, offered him as an abrasively funny police detective. Ever mindful of his onscreen image, he has stated that he tries to avoid stereotypical roles and looks for films that balance the Latino-as-bad-guy with a positive portrayal. He found such a role as Harrison Ford's partner in the muddled thriller "The Devil's Own" (1997), one of his first films after his unsuccessful 1994 bid to become Panama's president. His worldwide recognition as a champion of the Nueva Cancion (New Song) movement of salsa that brought substance to what was formerly viewed as simply dance music was not enough to sway the voters of his homeland, many unable to regard him as a serious candidate because his career required so much time outside the country. In 1997, Blades headed the cast of composer Paul Simon's first Broadway musical, "The Capeman," based on a true story about a murderous youth who becomes a poet in prison. In interviews, he has stated that he believes his biggest mistake was releasing an English-language album in 1988, just because everyone thought he should in the wake of his 1987 Grammy win for "Escenas"--a trap he sees younger singers like his "Capeman" co-star Marc Anthony falling into. Staying true to his musical vision and defying convention in nearly every way, he earned his fourth Grammy for "Tiempos" (1999), his first album with the 12-piece Costa Rican band Editus and one in marked contrast to the commercial trend of Latin music. For someone who has played his share of policemen, Blades relished his role as Mexican artist Diego Rivera in Tim Robbins' "Cradle Will Rock" (also 1999), which pitted his character's communist sensibilities against those of John Cusack's Nelson Rockefeller. He then made his first foray to regular series work with "Gideon's Crossing" (ABC, 2000-01), playing a medical colleague of star Andre Braugher in this new offering from writer-executive producer Paul Attanasio, and also appeared as a rancher in the long-awaited film version of "All the Pretty Horses" (2000), adapted from the novel by Cormac McCarthy.

Highest rated movies

Bad 25
Mo' Better Blues
Once Upon a Time in Mexico
The Two Jakes
Cradle Will Rock
Chinese Box
The Milagro Beanfield War
Safe House

Photos

Filmography

Movies

Credit
No Score Yet No Score Yet Red Pill Rocky (Character) - 2021
No Score Yet No Score Yet Ruben Blades Is Not My Name Self,
Music
- 2018
45% 52% Hands of Stone Carlos Eleta (Character) $4.7M 2016
33% 23% The Counselor Jefe (Character) $16.9M 2013
20% 77% For Greater Glory President Calles (Character) $5.7M 2012
53% 63% Safe House Carlos Villar (Character) $126.1M 2012
92% 88% Bad 25 Unknown (Character) - 2012
46% 39% Spoken Word Senior (Character) $32.7K 2009
52% 75% Kidnap Express Carla's Father (Character) $302.3K 2004
43% 69% Spin Ernesto Bejarano (Character) $9.9K 2003
66% 64% Once Upon a Time in Mexico Jorge FBI (Character) $55.8M 2003
No Score Yet 73% The Maldonado Miracle Cruz (Character) - 2003
31% 71% Imagining Argentina Silvio Ayala (Character) - 2003
47% 32% Assassination Tango Miguel (Character) $970.2K 2002
21% 62% Empire Original Music $17.5M 2002
32% 42% All the Pretty Horses Hector de la Rocha (Character) $15.5M 2000
64% 71% Cradle Will Rock Diego Rivera (Character) $2.9M 1999
35% 41% The Devil's Own Edwin Diaz (Character) - 1997
64% 54% Chinese Box Jim (Character) $2.2M 1997
No Score Yet No Score Yet Scorpion Spring Border Patrolman Sam Zaragosa (Character) - 1995
No Score Yet 60% A Million to Juan Bartender (Character) $1.2M 1994
22% 30% Color of Night Martinez (Character) $19.7M 1994
No Score Yet No Score Yet Miracle on I-880 Pastor Beruman (Character) - 1993
No Score Yet 71% The Josephine Baker Story Count Giuseppe Pepito Abatino (Character) - 1991
No Score Yet 67% One Man's War Perrone (Character) - 1991
No Score Yet 82% Crazy From the Heart Ernesto Ontiveros (Character) - 1991
0% 43% The Super Marlon (Character) $10.6M 1991
30% 44% Predator 2 Danny Archuleta (Character) $28.3M 1990
71% 75% Mo' Better Blues Petey (Character) $15.9M 1990
87% 60% Q & A Original Music $10.5M 1990
65% 38% The Two Jakes Michael 'Mickey Nice' Weisskopf (Character) $9.4M 1990
93% 89% Do the Right Thing Original Music $26M 1989
50% 57% Disorganized Crime Carlos Barrios (Character) $7.4M 1989
14% 19% The Lemon Sisters C.W (Character) $3M 1989
No Score Yet No Score Yet Dead Man Out Ben (Character) - 1989
59% 75% The Milagro Beanfield War Sheriff Bernabe Montoya (Character) $12.7M 1988
No Score Yet 36% Critical Condition Louis (Character) $20.1M 1987
23% 42% Fatal Beauty Carl Jimenez (Character) $10.8M 1987
No Score Yet No Score Yet Crossover Dreams Rudy Veloz (Character) - 1985
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Last Fight Andy `'Kid'` Clave (Character) - 1983

TV

Credit
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Walking Dead: Best of Morgan Daniel Salazar (Character) 2021
75% 65% Fear the Walking Dead Daniel (Character) 2015-2021
No Score Yet No Score Yet Fear the Walking Dead: Episode Diaries Daniel Salazar (Character) 2021
No Score Yet No Score Yet America's Antiques Roadshow Guest 2021
No Score Yet No Score Yet Tavis Smiley Guest 2014
No Score Yet No Score Yet 106 & Park Unknown (Character),
Guest
2012
50% No Score Yet Gideon's Crossing Dr. Max Cabranes (Character) 2000-2001
74% 86% The X-Files Conrad Lozano (Guest Star) 1997

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