Tomás Quintín Rodriguez-Varona Milian Salinas De La Fé y Alvarez De La Campa (3 March 1933 – 22 March 2017), better known as Tomas Milian, was a Cuban-born actor and singer who spent most his career in Italy in the 1960s and 1970s, equally at home in arthouse and genre B-movies.
Though born and raised in Havana and educated in New York City, Milian became something of an Italian cultural icon for his roles in Spaghetti Western and poliziotteschi (Italian action-crime) films, often playing wisecracking police officers and impassioned criminals whom Italian audiences could closely identify with. It helped that he had a strong command of accents and local slang, often writing his own dialogue in romanesco (Roman dialect), which helped endear him to local audiences.
He later returned to the U.S., where he starred in JFK, Amistad, and Traffic (2000).
His filmography includes:
- 1966 The Big Gundown as Manuel 'Cuchillo' Sanchez
- 1967 Face to Face as Solomon 'Beauregard' Bennet
- 1967 Django Kill... If You Live, Shoot! as The Stranger/Django
- 1970 Compañeros as El Vasco
- 1971 The Last Movie as Padre
- 1972 Don't Torture a Duckling as Andrea Martelli
- 1974 Almost Human as Giulio Sacchi
- 1975 The White The Yellow The Black as Sakura
- 1979 Winter Kills as Frank Mayo
- 1982 Identification of a Woman as Niccolò
- 1985 King David as Akiss
- 1991 JFK as Leopoldo
- 1997 Amistad as Ángel Calderón de la Barca y Belgrano
- 1997 Oz as Ricardo Alvarez
- 2000 Traffic (2000) as General Salazar
- 2002 The Hire as The Passenger
- Fake Nationality: Spent most of his career playing Mexican banditos, or Italian cops and criminals. It wasn't until he moved back to the U.S. that he actually played some Cuban characters.
- Faux Fluency: Most of his early roles were dubbed, but he picked up Italian quickly and began rewriting his own dialogue and doing his own dubbing.
- Large Ham: Capable of swallowing the scenery whole.
- Method Acting: Studied under Lee Strasberg himself.
- Same Language Dub: Despite being at least tri-lingual, many of Milian's Italian films saw him dubbed into English by another actor (usually Michael Forest).