Spain's Fernando Fernan-Gomez dies at 86


MADRID -- Spanish actor, writer and director Fernando Fernan-Gomez, one of Spain's most emblematic faces in international cinema, died Wednesday in Madrid at the age of 86 after two days in hospital. The family declined to detail the exact cause of death.

With a career that spanned the Franco dictatorship, the transition to democracy and the recent boom of Spanish cinema, the Peruvian-born Fernan-Gomez boasted a filmography second to none in Spain, including Victor Erice's "The Spirit of the Beehive," Fernando Trueba's "Belle Epoque," Jose Luis Garci's "The Grandfather" and Pedro Almodovar's "All About my Mother."

Author of 11 novels and nine plays, and director of 28 films, the versatile thespian starred in more than 200 films and won more than 38 awards during his film career.

Honors include three awards from the Berlin International Film Festival -- among them a 2005 honorary Golden Bear -- Spain's National Film Award, six Goya Awards from the Spanish Film Academy and two awards from the San Sebastian International Film Festival.

A member of Spain's prestigious academic society the Real Academia Espanola, Fernan-Gomez also won the 1995 Price of Asturias Prize for the Arts.

"We've lost the great man of Spanish theater and film of the second half of the 20th century," said Carmen Caffarel, head of the Instituto Cervantes, designed to propagate Spanish culture abroad.

He is survived by his actress wife Emma Cohen, actress daughter Helena Fernan-Gomez and son Fernando Fernan-Gomez.