From Raffaella Carrà to Juan Manuel Ochoa: Famous Peruvians and the world who died in 2021

With their talent, they filled our lives in various ways: they put memorable moments to music, they brought tears and laughter to us with their performances, their books filled us with reflections and new worlds. Their absences, therefore, mark our balance sheet for 2021. From international stars to figures from the Peruvian scene, we review the artists who passed away this year.

In the foreign music scene, the 79-year-old American jazz player Chick Corea died on February 11, with a legacy that left him at the height of such figures as Bill Evans and McCoy Tyner. From Italy, at the beginning of July, gloomy news also arrived: Raffaella Carrà, the diva who made generations sing with explosive and spicy songs like “You have to come to the south” and “Hot, hot”, died at the age of 78 after a secret fight against lung cancer.

But if there was a genre that this 2021 suffered great losses, that was the sauce. Johnny pacheco, the Cuban co-founder of Fania Records, left on February 15, while in August it was the turn of the pianist Larry Harlow, ‘the wonderful Jew’ who shone in the Fania All Star. This mythical orchestra suffered another casualty with death of his ex-member Roberto Roena, founder of Apollo Sound, in September, at the age of 81.

Rock fans, on the other hand, must have mourned Charlie Watts, the legendary drummer of the Rolling Stones, who on August 24 lost the battle against throat cancer at age 80. More recently, other musical expressions were left without voices: in the ranchera, Vicente Fernández, their patron saint, interpreter of more than 300 songs, died on December 12; and at the opera, Carlos Marín, a member of Il Divo, left when he was only 53 years old.

Losses in literature and acting

They wrote essential titles and, therefore, their readers will miss Roberto Calasso, Italian publisher and writer, author of books like “K.” and “La Folie Baudelaire”, who passed away at the age of 80; to the Spanish poet Francisco Brines, who only a year ago had won the Cervantes Prize “; and to the Spanish Almudena Grandes, author of novels such as” The ages of Lulú “or” Malena is a tango name “, who could not beat cancer and he died at the age of 61.

They also left the pen in the inkwell on the centenary Lawrence Ferlinghetti, countercultural poet, painter and man on the street who made history in American literature by promoting the Beatnik Generation; Argentine writer and journalist Juan Forn, who at age 62 left a mark on generations of writers in his country; and recently the best-selling writer Anne Rice, who redefined Gothic lyrics with books like “Interview with the Vampire” and “Lestat the Vampire.”

As for the world of film and television, in February 2021, the premature departure of Dustin Diamond, best known for playing Screech in “Saved by the Bell,” overshadowed a Hollywood still reeling from last year’s losses. That same month, the cinema mecca also had news of the death of Christopher plummer, one of its great exponents who participated in iconic films such as “La novicia rebelde”, “The Insider”, “Up”, among others.

Other acting figures who left were the British Helen McCrory, at age 53, remembered for her roles in “Peaky Blinders”, the Harry Potter saga and the film “The Queen”; the actor and director Robert Downey Sr., father of the “Ironman” interpreter, who during his lifetime directed classics such as “Putney Swope”; the actor Michael K. Williams, who did memorable roles on the series “The Wire” and “Boardwalk Empire”; actor Willie Garson, recognized for playing Stanford Blatch in “Sex and the City”; and James Michael Tyler, the popular ‘Gunther’ from “Friends.”

This December, Latin America had to say goodbye to the Mexican Carmen Salinas placeholder image, a whole institution in soap operas, who at 82 suffered a hemorrhage that left her in a coma for a month; and also to the Spanish Verónica Forqué, winner of four Goya awards who at the age of 66 was found dead at her home in Madrid (Spain). From England, royalty buried Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, who died at the age of 100 on April 9. Just four days after the end of the year, the death of director Jean-Marc Vallé was announced, behind the hits “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Big Little Lies” at 58 years old.

Peruvian cinema, television and theater

Peruvians had to say goodbye to their television and film stars, some of them prematurely, as was the case of Gustavo Cerrón, who at 48 years old died on April 14 after making history on the small screen with his remembered role as Lorenzo Palacios in “Chacalón”.

Another death that came too early was that of Puno filmmaker Óscar Catacora, 34, director of one of the masterpieces of national cinema “Wiñaypacha”, whose legacy will undoubtedly inspire new filmmakers. And also, of course, that of Juan Manuel Ochoa, the unforgettable ‘Jaguar’ from the film “The city and the dogs” who at the age of 63 lost the fight against tonsil cancer that had been afflicting him for the last year.

From the tables, the theater director Jorge ‘Coco’ Chiarella, one of the founders of the Theater of the Catholic University (TUC) and the Aranwa Cultural Association, died at the age of 77; the first actress Elva Alcandré Wesche, who participated in productions such as “These kids of now” and “Brave love”, left on November 10; and the same happened with the first national actor César Valer, recognized for his comic roles.

Finally, from “Risas y salsa”, that humorous program that started so many laughter from past generations, two of its last exponents turned off their smiles this year: first it was Guillermo Campos, the popular “ugly who considered himself beautiful”, who lost the life with 92 years; and then Willy Hurtado, known as ‘Cholo Willy’ and ‘Atirrín’, who could not against COVID-19.


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From Raffaella Carrà to Juan Manuel Ochoa: Famous Peruvians and the world who died in 2021