Actor Tomas Milian dies

Posted on JUN 27, 2019

Cuban-American-Italian actor Tomas Milian died Thursday at 84.

Cuban-American-Italian actor Tomas Milian died Thursday at 84.

The versatile actor was known for bringing intensity to diverse roles, such as in dramas by directors such as Bernardo Bertolucci Stephen Soderberg, or as a Roman lowlife character.
Milian, a method actor who studied with Lee Strasberg, appeared in approximately 120 movies during a career spanning six decades.

Most of Milian's flicks were shot in Italy, where he worked with directors Michelangelo Antionini, Luchino Visconti, and Pier Paolo Pasolini.

He also acted in Spaghetti Westerns, cop movies, and also a franchise based on his Roman lowlife character 'Er Monneza' (Mr. Trash).

Later in his career, Milian moved to the United States. There, he appeared in Sydney Pollack's 'Havana,' in Steven Spielberg's 'Amistad,' among other flicks.

The actor also played corrupt General Arturo Salazar in Soderbergh's 'Traffic,' which led to him winning a Screen Actors Guild Award, with the rest of the movie's cast.

Milian was born Tomas Quintin Rodriguez on March 3, 1933, in Havana. He was the son of a Cuban general who during the revolution was arrested and jailed.

His father's jailing prompted Milian to emigrate to New York, where he studied at the Actors Studio, later becoming a United States citizen.

While plying his trade on Broadway, Milian was invited in 1958 to attend the Spoleto theater festival. He then moved to Italy after he was offered the role of a young Roman in Mauro Bolognini's 'The Big Night.'

After playing more supporting roles in other Bolognini films and dramas by other Italian amateur producers, Milian broke out as a Spaghetti Western star.

In his new role, he appeared in pictures such as Sergio Sollina's 'The Big Gundown', and in Giulino Petroni's 'Tepepa,' in which Orson Welles also starred.

Milian transitioned during the 1970s to Italy's 'poliziottesco' films violent cop films most notably appearing as a Roman police inspector Nico Giraldi, in the 'Nico Giraldi.' The picture was directed by Bruno Corbucci.

He is survived by a son, actor Tomaso Milian, Jr.