A quarter of a century without José Ignacio Cabrujas

An acute myocardial infarction produced the unexpected news: José Ignacio Cabrujas died. He was 58 years old when he died on October 21, 1995 on the island of Margarita. The man with the deep voice and kinky hair left the twentieth-century Venezuelan intelligentsia a widow, although his legacy remains a source of inspiration for those who retain the certainty that it is feasible to serve the public without underestimating it.

It is impossible to give Cabrujas a single word. He was an actor, director, producer, playwright, chronicler, writer, teacher, humanist, cultural manager and designer of political campaigns, among others.
It encompassed theater, film and television with the solid commitment of those who remove prejudices, to bet on the diversity of strata, abilities and interests that coexist in each media. Today more than ever it is worth remembering a great character.

Of humble origin, José Ignacio was the eldest of the three children of José Ramón Cabruja (thus without “s”, this letter would be adopted later) Esteso and Matilde Lofiego, born on July 17, 1937. Together with their brothers Martha and Francisco grew up in Catia, where reading Los miserables by Víctor Hugo made him dream of the future he wanted for himself.

As a law student at the Central University of Venezuela, he had the opportunity to approach the University Theater. And there it all began. His acting debut opened him up to everything that would come after.

His signature are the theatrical works Profundo, Sagrado y obscene, Acto cultural, The day you love me, An oriental night and The Illustrated American, among others, as well as the films The Burning of Judas, Chronicles of a Latin American Subversive, The Burning of Judas , The fish that smokes, Carmen the one who was 16 years old, The flock of the Angels and Dawn suddenly.

And many of the essential productions in the history of television: Boves, el urogalllo; Doña Bárbara (first telenovela recorded in color, although broadcast in black and white due to lack of presidential permission), La hija de Juana Crespo (first telenovela to break up), La Señora de Cárdenas (first telenovela to address the issue of divorce), La comadre, Estefanía, Natalia from 8 to 9, Gómez, La dueña, La dama de rosa, Señora, María María (first telenovela on Marte TV), Empress and El paseo de la gracia de Dios.

Many of these works have shared credits with other greats such as Salvador Garmendia, Román Chalbaud, César Bolívar and Ibsen Martínez. In addition to his work in the media, Cabrujas joined the teaching staff at the UCV School of Arts.

Another chapter

To cut a long story short, the personal life of José Ignacio Cabrujas can be summarized in three marriages and two children. He was married for a five-year period to the theater actress Democracia López, with whom he procreated Juan Francisco. Almost a decade with costume designer and producer Eva Ivanyi; and with the singer, musicologist and founder of the Caracas Camerata, Isabel Palacios, Diego's mother.

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