Raul Julia, the darkly handsome actor who starred with equal aplomb as Othello on stage and lusty Gomez Addams in The Addams Family movies, died Monday of complications from a stroke. He was 54.
The Puerto Rican-born star died at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, on Long Island, where he had been admitted after suffering a stroke last week. He will be given a state funeral in Puerto Rico on Thursday.
He played a tormented South American political prisoner befriended by a gay man _ William Hurt, in his Oscar-winning performance _ in the 1985 movie Kiss of the Spider Woman. He also played opposite Anjelica Huston as the libidinous Gomez in The Addams Family in 1991 and its 1993 sequel, Addams Family Values.
"He was a wonderful, wonderful person, one of the greats," Huston said from Los Angeles. "It's an absolute heartbreaking loss."
He was known for a commanding presence, a thoughtful manner, a strong, resonant voice and a grandly theatrical, physical style.
Mr. Julia had credited Errol Flynn's Robin Hood with inspiring him to seek an acting career. "It was one of the first movies I saw, and I decided that was the life for me," he said.
The versatile actor made a name for himself in the late 1960s at Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival.
"Raul's involvement not only on stage but off, as a board member, has meant a great deal to the institution," said George C. Wolfe, the festival's producer. "He will be deeply missed."
Over the years, he was seen in the title roles in Man of La Mancha, Macbeth and Othello; the Fellini-like film director in Nine; Proteus in a musical Two Gentlemen of Verona; Maj. Saranoff in Shaw's Arms and the Man; and Mac-heath in The Threepenny Opera.
He was nominated for Tony Awards for Nine, The Threepenny Opera, Where's Charley and Two Gentlemen of Verona.
"My ideal is to go back and forth between theater and film," he once said. "The experiences contribute to one another."
Mr. Julia had little use for television _ "It's awful," he said _ but he did appear for a season in the early 1970s as handyman Rafael on Sesame Street.
Actor Edward James Olmos praised his friend's versatility.
"Not too many of them can sing and do musicals and dance, and at the same time dramatic pieces and do comedy." And, on a personal level, Olmos said, Mr. Julia "was a very, very caring and kind and giving man."
Offscreen, Mr. Julia and his wife, dancer Merel Poloway, were active in the Hunger Project, which aims to eliminate world hunger by the year 2000.
In addition to Poloway, his survivors include two sons, his mother and two sisters.
Titus Andronicus, 1967
No Exit, 1967
You Own Thing, 1968
The Persians, 1970
The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 1971
Where's Charley, 1974
The Threepenny Opera, 1976
Arms and the Man, 1985
Man of La Mancha, 1992
The Panic in Needle Park, 1971
Eyes of Laura Mars, 1978
Kiss of the Spider Woman, 1985
Compromising Positions, 1985
The Morning After, 1986
Tango Bar, 1988
The Penitent, 1988
Moon Over Parador, 1988
Tequila Sunrise, 1988
Mack the Knife, 1989
Presumed Innocent, 1990
The Rookie, 1990
The Addams Family, 1991
The Plague, 1992
Addams Family Values, 1993
Sesame Street, 1971
The Richest Man in the World: The Story of Aristotle Onassis, 1988
The Burning Season, 1994