Ruben Blades

Actor, Singer, Composer
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 ... Read more »
Born: 07/16/1948 in Panamá, PA

Filmography

Actor (63)

Fear The Walking Dead 2014 - 2017 (TV Show)

Actor

Hands of Stone 2016 (Movie)

Carlos Eleta (Actor)

Talking Dead 2016 (Tv Show)

Himself

The Counselor 2013 (Movie)

Jefe (Actor)

For Greater Glory 2012 (Movie)

President Plutarco Elias Calles (Actor)

Safe House 2012 (Movie)

Carlos Villar (Actor)

Bad 25 2011 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Spoken Word 2010 (Movie)

Senior (Actor)

Secuestro Express 2005 (Movie)

Sergio (Actor)

Imagining Argentina 2004 (Movie)

Silvio Ayala (Actor)

Spin 2004 (Movie)

Ernesto Bejarano (Actor)

The Maldonado Miracle 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)

Actor

Assassination Tango 2003 (Movie)

Miguel (Actor)

Once Upon a Time in Mexico 2003 (Movie)

Jorge FBI (Actor)

Gideon's Crossing 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Lifetime Presents Disney's American Teacher Awards 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Performer

Soul Train Christmas Starfest 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year 2000 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Presenter

The X-Files 1996 - 1997, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

All the Pretty Horses 2000 (Movie)

Rocha (Actor)

Sessions at West 54th 1997 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

The 42nd Annual Grammy Awards 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Presenter

Cradle Will Rock 1999 (Movie)

Diego Rivera (Actor)

Storytime 1993 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Chinese Box 1998 (Movie)

Jim (Actor)

Scorpion Spring 1997 (Movie)

Sam Zaragosa (Actor)

The Devil's Own 1997 (Movie)

Edwin Diaz (Actor)

1995 NCLR Bravo Awards 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Performer

Concert of the Americas 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

The 37th Annual Grammy Awards 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Presenter

A Million to Juan 1994 (Movie)

(Actor)

Color of Night 1994 (Movie)

Martinez (Actor)

In a New Light '93 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

Let the Good Times Roll 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

The 4th Annual Desi Awards 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Performer

One Man's War 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

The Heart of the Deal 1991 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Josephine Baker Story 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

The Super 1991 (Movie)

Marlon (Actor)

A Latino Session 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Mo' Better Blues 1990 (Movie)

Stevey (Actor)

Predator 2 1990 (Movie)

Danny (Actor)

The Lemon Sisters 1990 (Movie)

C W (Actor)

The Two Jakes 1990 (Movie)

Mickey Nice (Actor)

Disorganized Crime 1989 (Movie)

Carlos Barrios (Actor)

The 31st Annual Grammy Awards 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Performer

AIDS: Changing the Rules 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

Homeboy 1988 (Movie)

Doctor (Actor)

The Milagro Beanfield War 1988 (Movie)

Sheriff Bernabe Montoya (Actor)

The Return of Ruben Blades 1988 (Movie)

(Actor)

Critical Condition 1987 (Movie)

Louis (Actor)

Fatal Beauty 1987 (Movie)

Carl Jimenez (Actor)

The 29th Annual Grammy Awards 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Performer

The 28th Annual Grammy Awards 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Performer

Crossover Dreams 1985 (Movie)

Rudy Veloz (Actor)

The Last Fight 1982 (Movie)

Andy "Kid" Clave (Actor)

Crazy From the Heart (TV Show)

Actor

Dead Man Out (TV Show)

Actor

Miracle on I-880 (TV Show)

Actor
Music (31)

Ride Along 2 2016 (Movie)

("Watch Out For This (Bumaye)") (Song)

Empire 2002 (Movie)

(Composer)

Empire 2002 (Movie)

("Plastico") (Song)

Empire 2002 (Movie)

("Plastico") (Song Performer)

Dance With Me 1998 (Movie)

(Song)

Dance With Me 1998 (Movie)

("Patria") (Song Performer)

Gladiator 1992 (Movie)

("Da Me La (Fama)") (Song)

Q&A 1990 (Movie)

(Music)

The Best of Cinemax Sessions 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Song Performer

Chances Are 1989 (Movie)

(Song)

Chances Are 1989 (Movie)

("Nuestro Adios") (Song Performer)

Do the Right Thing 1989 (Movie)

(Song)

Do the Right Thing 1989 (Movie)

("Tu y Yo") (Song Performer)

True Believer 1989 (Movie)

(Song)

True Believer 1989 (Movie)

("La Marea") (Song Performer)

Coverup: Behind the Iran-Contra Affair 1988 (Movie)

(Theme Song)

Coverup: Behind the Iran-Contra Affair 1988 (Movie)

(Theme Song Performer)

Gryphon 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Music

The Return of Ruben Blades 1988 (Movie)

(Music)

The Return of Ruben Blades 1988 (Movie)

("Buscando America" "Pedro Navaja") (Performer)

The Story of Fausta 1988 (Movie)

(Music)

The Believers 1987 (Movie)

("El Nacimiento de Ramiro") (Song Performer)

El Hijo de Pedro Navajas 1986 (Movie)

From Song("Pedro Navajas") (Song)

Por los Caminos Verdes 1986 (Movie)

(Music)

Crossover Dreams 1985 (Movie)

(Music)

Crossover Dreams 1985 (Movie)

songs("Good For Baby" "Liz's Theme") (Song)

Crossover Dreams 1985 (Movie)

("Good For Baby" "Sin Fe" "Liz's Theme" "Todos Yuelven") (Song Performer)

Beat Street 1984 (Movie)

(Music)

Beat Street 1984 (Movie)

(Performer)

The Last Fight 1982 (Movie)

(Song)

When the Mountains Tremble 1982 (Movie)

(Music)
Writer (1)

Crossover Dreams 1985 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Biography

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."

Relationships

Ruben Dario Blades Sr

Father
a basketbal star and conga player accused of being a CIA agent by then-Colonel Manuel Noriega, in charge of Panamanian military intelligence, and forced into exile

Anoland Blades

Mother
deceased worked on a radio soap opera born in Cuba

Lisa Lebenzon

Wife
met while attending Harvard married in December 1986 divorced

EDUCATION

University of Panama

1974

University of Panama

1974

Harvard Law School

Cambridge , Massachusetts 1985
specialized in international law(LLM)

Milestones

2012

Appeared in "Safe House" opposite Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds

2009

Acted in the drama "Spoken Word"

2005

Played the father of a kidnapped young woman (Mia Maestro) in the crime drama "Secuestro express"

2003

Featured in Robert Rodriguez's Western thriller "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" opposite Johnny Depp, Salma Hayek, and Antonio Banderas

2000

Co-starred with Andre Braugher on the ABC medical drama "Gideon's Crossing"

2000

Acted in Billy Bob Thornton's "All the Pretty Horses", adapted from the best-selling novel by Cormac McCarthey

1999

Appeared in "Cradle Will Rock" as Mexican artist Diego Rivera

1997

Made emergency trip to Panama to assume the presidency of the political party Papa Egoro in an effort to rescue it from internal dissent

1997

Played Harrison Ford's police partner in "The Devil's Own"

1997

Brought some mild humor to small role as a photojournalist in Wayne Wang's "The Chinese Box"

1997

Starred in the Paul Simon-Derek Walcott Broadway musical "The Capeman"; played older incarnation of title character Salvator Agron, who as a teen gang member stabbed to death two NYC teenagers

1994

Ran for the presidency of Panama; placed third; first free elections in Panama in a quarter century

1994

Portrayed an abrasively funny L.A. detective in Richard Rush's "Color of Night"

1992

Launched the political party Papa Egoro ("Mother Earth") in his native Panama

1992

Garnered second Emmy nomination for leading performance as a janitor romancing Christine Lahti's high school principal in "Crazy From the Heart" (TNT)

1991

Received first Emmy nomination for supporting role of the gigolo who groomed the title character for stardom in the HBO biopic "The Josephine Baker Story", starring Lynn Whitfield

1991

Acted opposite Anthony Hopkins in HBO's "One Man's War," portraying a reluctant attorney who helps Hopkins in his pursuit of justice

1990

Reteamed with Glover in "Predator 2"

1990

Composed the score for Sidney Lumet's "Q & A"

1990

Played Stevey in Lee's "Mo' Better Blues"

1989

Wrote and performed the song "Tu y Yo" in Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing"

1989

TV acting debut as a Death Row inmate in "Dead Man Out" (HBO); first collaboration with actor Danny Glover

1988

Portrayed Sheriff Bernabe Montoya in "The Milagro Beanfield War"

1985

Profiled in the documentary "The Return of Ruben Blades"; aired on PBS in 1988

1985

First film as co-screenwriter, "Crossover Dreams"; also starred and composed score

1984

Signed with Elektra records

1983

Composed first musical film score for feature "When the Mountains Tremble"

1983

First film as actor, "The Last Fight" (also wrote songs), directed by and co-starring Fred Williamson; also co-starred Colon

1976

Teamed up with trombonist Willie Colon for a series of albums including Siembra, one of the biggest-selling salsa records

1975

Moved to NYC; rented a tiny apartment on East 61st Street for $175 a month, within walking distance of Fania Records, where he would get a job in the mailroom for $125 a week; sang with salseros Ray Barretto and Larry Harlow (known as 'El Judio Maravillos

1974

Returned to U.S., remaining for a year with parents in Miami, FL

1969

Recorded and released first album in New York, De Panama a Nueva York

1966

Recorded first album with Los Salvajes del Ritmo (The Rhythm Savages)

1964

Student riot against U.S. forces in the Canal Zone awakened his political sensibilities; 21 Panamanians were killed and another 500 wounded; from that point on, stopped singing in English

Grew up in the working-class neighborhood of Carrasquilla in Panama City, Panama

Went back to Panama to obtain law degree

Bonus Trivia

.

On Willie Colon: "Willie is one of the first musicians who traveled from New York to Latin America and received a lot of information from other places. He developed a Pan American message of social awareness, and when he met me he found someone with more fluency in Spanish capable of articulating many ideas. He contributed with his New York street culture, his talent as a producer and an incredible, truly Latino, pure tropical energy. A mixture of prankishness and sense of humor, of virility and feeling. He's extremely sensitive, and one of the most intelligent persons I know."I'm grateful to him because he's the one who gave me the chance to show my music. He was like my artistic godfather, and no record label could say no to my music, because he was behind it at a time when he was the No 1 salsa star in the world." – Blades quoted in The Los Angeles Times, Sept. 12, 1993

.

Regarding the disintegration of his political party Papa Egora: "One of the huge, bitter lessons that I learned is that in order for this effort to continue in an efficient way, I have to be in Panama 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. But my problem is that I don't support myself through politics, so I needed to work – and work took me out of Panama. And when I was away, people that I had delegated authority to, these people took the opportunity and used it for their own benefit. They dragged the party to the precipice.""All I want to do right now is work, pay my bills. It's not that I'm disappointed. I just try to take one step at a time." – Blades in Daily News, Dec. 5, 1999

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