Juan Carlos De La Madrid was Terry Malloy…in one of film history’s most famous scenes from the 1954 Academy Award winner “On The Waterfront”, Terry (Marlon Brando) says, “I could have had class, I could have been a contender, I could have been somebody”….in similar disarmingly frank, self-deprecating  language La Madrid would say about himself, “In my life, I have done all of the bad things you can imagine and in the end I am no one”…like Malloy, Juan Carlos was a boxer, a sparing partner for 3 pesos a round and a meal when he was lucky; when he wasn’t boxing he dabbled at dancing and singing tango…ten years later the celebrated Hector Maure would have a similar fate…Maure’s dreams of boxing glory were cruelly ended one evening when a left from no where sent him to the canvass for the 10 count and an injury that ended his career; he became a tango singer… La Madrid was part of Buenos Aires’ underbelly…he was a constant presence in the city’s cheap barrooms, its smoke-filled gambling dens where desperate, unshaved men crouched over roulette tables only to disappear just a few minutes later into oblivion…”Juanito” was liked by its assorted actors, the hoods, its loan sharks, the pimps, its fools and its street poets with whom he generously shared his spare change…he was proud of his ability to hold his whiskey…


It was very much of a macho world and Juanito, a keen observer, wrote about it, “mine are men’s poems, from a man’s world”…he wrote in lunfardo, “the language of the people of the streets” he would say…his tango lyrics were real…the legendary Astor Piazzolla called him to write the lyrics for his “Fugitiva” which he recorded to great acclaim with the voice of Maria De La Fuente in 1952…Juan Carlos De La Madrid (Scorpio), was born in the neighborhood of Flores in Buenos Aires to a poor family…he had little formal education but he was curious and he loved to read….already as a child, he demonstrated the intensity and passion which would later characterize him as an adult…the roar of the sea was his palliative….to survive he tried many things including having been a journalist, a literature teacher, a book salesman, a radio and television program organizer and even a Shakespearean actor…at the certain point he began to lose his eyes sight and became immensely depressed…contemplating suicide, he recalled one of his favorite lines from Hamlet: “o, that this too solid  flesh would melt, thaw and resolve itslef into dew…how weary stale flat and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world”…but his indomitable spirit jolted him to continue on, “I realized that I loved living like an actor who must go on with his assigned role until the curtain comes down”….his two books of poems, “Hombre Sumado” (The Sum of Man) and “Pequena Rosa Lunfarda” are still traded among collectors


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