Alfonso Arau (born 1932)

Born on January 11th, 1932, Alfonso Arau is a renowned Mexican actor and director. Known primarily for his role as El Guapo in The Three Amigos, Arau has had a long and storied acting and directing career in both the United States and Mexico. Formerly married to Laura Esquivel, the author of Like Water for Chocolate, Arau has had a long and storied film career both in front of and behind the camera. Arau is one of the most successful Mexican actors of all time, and one of a select few actors who has crossed over successfully into the United States.


As aforementioned, Alfonso Arau is a rewnowned Mexican actor and director. Born in Mexico City in 1932 to a doctor father and homemaker mother, Arau has been involved in the motion picture industry in some shape or form since 1954. Arau was married to well-known author Laura Esquivel for twenty years, and is the proud father of two children, Fernando and Sergio. From his early days as an actor and voice actor in films such as The Jungle Book, and The Wild Bunch, to later iconic roles in The Three Amigos, and Romancing the Stone, Alfonso Arau is a well recognized actor by face, if not by name.

What He Did

Arau either acted or directed in motion pictures. Aside from his seminal role in The Tree Amigos, Arau also acted in movies ranging from Used Cars to Tivoli. After many succesful years as an actor, Arau succesfully transitioned behind the camera and embarked on a second career as a director. Two of the more prominent films directed by Arau were the film portrayal of his ex-wife’s novel, Like Water for Chocolate, and A Walk in the Clouds. Through his work as both an actor and as a director, Arau has worked with many major film stars including Steve Martin, Martin Short, Chevy Chase, Anthony Quinn, and Keanu Reeves.

What Made Him Famous

While due to his line of work, Arau was consistently in the public eye, he did not truly become famous until 1986, when he portrayed “El Guapo,” in the Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Chevy Chase cult classic, The Three Amigos. Between his movie roles and his work as a director, Arau is one of the classic character actors in all of Hollywood. While he might not be a name star, the majority of film aficionados are well aware of Arau and his work.

Arau is the rare actor from outside of the United States who has achieved critical acclaim stateside. Between his work as an actor and a director, Arau has worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood and simultaneously made quite a name for himself. While his contributions to the world of film are varied, Arau will forever be most well-known for his role as “El Guapo.”