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Caesar Cordova, the memorable character actor from the Al Pacino films Scarface and Carlito’s Way, died at the age of 84 of natural causes in Atlantic City, New Jersey on Wednesday, per his family’s announcement. Throughout his career, Cordova was a member of the Actor’s Studio, appeared on Broadway, produced the indie film Paco and is survived by his wife and his seven children.
The news of Caesar Cordova’s passing comes from his actor son, Panchito, per The Hollywood Reporter. He is well-recognized for playing the taco-stand cook in Brian De Palma’s Scarface and a barber in Carlito’s Way.
Cordova was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1936, but was raised in New York City and served in the army during the Korean War. His first film was Cornel Wilde’s Sharks’ Treasure in 1975, setting off steady appearances on TV through the ‘70s, including Kojak and Police Woman. In 1980, he had a role in Bill Murray’s semi-biographical comedy about journalist Hunter S. Thompson in Where the Buffalo Roam. He also had small credits in the Jeff Bridges’ film Cutter’s Way and Sylvester Stallone’s Nighthawks.
Along with his other work in Al Pacino’s most famous films, Caesar Cordova worked with the Scarface actor on Broadway for Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?. The 1969 play, a racially-charged drama about a group of teen drug addicts in a rehab facility together, has been credited with launching Al Pacino’s career. Pacino was in his ‘20s when he won a Tony award for Best Dramatic Actor in a Supporting Role in the play, later revived in 2002.
Caesar Cordova's work with Al Pacino in the 1993 Golden-globe nominee Carlito’s Way was his last acting credit. He was married to Gladys Gomez, with whom he had four children: Panchito Gomez, Luis Gomez, Ana Sanchez Gomez and Elena Gomez Martinez. From a previous marriage, he had three kids: Damarys Cordova, Abigail Cordova and Jesse Cordova. We pass along our condolences to the Cordova and Gomez family as we think of his Hollywood legacy today.
Plans for a Scarface sequel are currently underway from the Italian director behind Call Me By Your Name and 2018’s Suspiria remake, Luca Guadagnino. He replaced Antoine Fuqua and Diego Luna, who had previously been tapped to direct and star, respectively, in the retelling of the gangster flick. Joel and Ethan Coen are working on a rewrite for the screenplay.
Another Scarface movie has been on the words of Hollywood’s mouth for almost a decade, so we’ll have to see how it pans out. For now, the late Cordova’s frequent co-star, Al Pacino, is set to star in the Gucci movie, a new take on Shakespeare’s King Lear and a period piece called Axis Sally. Cordova’s work as a supporting player in a few of the most iconic Pacino movies will remain immortalized on film as we remember him today.