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Argentinian Singer/Actor Sandro de America Dies

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A year ago this week, nearing the end of a whirlwind holiday trip in South America, I walked into the magnificent El Ateneo bookstore in Buenos Aires. I looked through the Argentine DVDs for something to remember the country by. On a whim, I picked up a movie starring Roberto Sanchez, aka Sandro. This is the trailer for that movie:

My homie and I watched it that night, and were immediately transfixed by his infectious gyrations, now rhythmic, now melodramatic. On our last night in Argentina we went back to El Ateneo for more Sandro for her and for friends back home, but nobody else really seemed to recognize his swarthy awesomeness.

English-language obituaries call him the Elvis of Argentina, though Sandro's musical hips are attached to a dramatic ham that Elvis never showed in his movies. Sandro's entertainment was no less than an alchemical explosion of equal parts. The world has lost Tom Jones and Richard Burton.

Sandro died on January 4, from complications arising from a lung and heart transplant. He was 64. In an interview with Mitre Radio, excerpted in the Star Tribune, Sandro cursed his fate: "I am debilitated because I cannot move. My life is my bed, my spot in the dining room where I read the newspaper, and from there I do not move, I am to blame for the condition that I am in. I deserve it; I sought it out. I picked up this damn cigarette."

May flights of angels hip-shake thee to your rest, Senor.

About Pat Padua

Pat Padua is a writer, photographer, native Washingtonian, and Oxford comma defender. The Washington Post called him "a talented, if quirky, photographer." Pat has also contributed to the All Music Guide, Cinescene, and DCist, where he is currently senior film critic.
  • Veronica

    ¡Bravo! Señor Padua. Wonderful writeup. I miss him already. ¡Viva Sandro!

  • klondikekitty

    I had never even heard of Sandro de America before, but after reading your article, I wished I had known more of him and his music . . . a very powerful tribute indeed!!

  • http://www.sharneyreyes.blogspot.com Sharney Reyes

    I was so moved by your article. By the time I was born in 82, Sandro was past his peak, although he was still very popular. My mother had been an avid fan since she was 6 years old and saw his movie “Muchacho,” which is a definite tearjerker. She listened to his LP’s when I was in her womb falling asleep to his soulful, sweet voice and when I was born, she breastfed me while watching his soap opera, “Fue Sin Querer.”

    Needless to say, the love for Sandro was passed on. Since I can remember I have loved his music, his movies and everything that had to do with him. One of the highlights of my life was when I got to meet him. My mom was a member of his official fan club in NY in the early 80s. When I was 3, my birthday coincided with a show of his and my mom took me to his dressing room along with all the fan club members. I got to sit on his lap and hug him and kiss him. I let him know that when I was grown up, I was going to marry him. He was gracious and loving and funny to boot. Very humble and down to earth-especially considering the heights his career had reached by this time. Every now and then I look at the pics I have with him and I remember him with fondness. I never had the privilege of seeing him again, although my mom was a member of his fan club until it disbanded following his retirement from the entertainment industry. He always used to jokingly tell her to take care of his little bride…

    Many say he was the Spanish Elvis, but I agree with what you stated in your article. Sandro was so much more than just the latin version of Elvis. He was a philanthropist with a heart and conscience, an entertainer in every sense of the word, and a lovely human being. The world is slightly darker now that his light is gone and he will be deeply missed by all those who were privileged to know of him.

    Thanks for writing about him and trying to share him with others. :)

  • sandy valles

    this is to sharney reyes, I was a member of the sandro fan club in nyc too. I was the treasurer of the club. I am still in nyc [personal contact info deleted]. I would love to meet the girls again. thxs.

  • http://www.sharneyreyes.blogspot.com SHARNEY REYES

    This is to Sandy Valles. My mom is Miriam Gutierrez. Do you remember her?

  • Elizabeth hernandez

    Hi Sandy, Maybe you don’t remember me but, I was in the fan club when Nerty Rios and Narcissa were vice pres and pres respectively in 1970.

  • sandy valles

    HI ELIZABETH HERNANDEZ. YES, I REMEMBER NERTY AND NARCISSA IN THE SANDRO FAN CLUB OF NYC. AND SHARNEY I THINK I REMEMBER YOUR MOTHER MIRIAM GUITERREZ. I AM ON FACEBOOK. PLEASE LOOK ME UP. SANDY VALLES.

  • Henry

    ….am a huge fan of elvis…but I do have to say..the sandro was a lot better then..elvis..and yes .. Sandro was the lating ..elvis

  • Henry

    Sandro..was also the first singer in the world..to do ..a via satelitte concert..on..april 1970..from madison square garden

  • Silvia arvayo

    Yes! he was SUPPER ! I am missing Him Dearly.
    God Bless Him.

  • Henry

    …one morething..about..sandro de america…some of sandro songs have been done in english….engelbet humberdink…did…a sandro song in english call….how I love you….in…spanish its cal…porque yo te amo…………another sandro song done in english by..nancy wilson..and…shirley bassay….is….the greates performance of my life….in….spanish its call……asi…….sandro was one of the best singer of all time in lating america…..he was much more then the latino elvis presley…..the way sandro move on stage it was incretible…..and….all his movies were great movies…sandro also was the first singer in the world todo a via satellite concet in the world….on…..april..11..1970….from madison square garden……..rest in piece sandro….you were the best….