Constantino Romero, the Spanish voice of Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Darth Vader, died in Barcelona on Sunday at the age of 65 from a neurological illness. More than just a dubbing artist, he was also a presenter, journalist, radio announcer and actor. He had announced his retirement just five months ago, signing off with “That’s all folks” on his Twitter account on December 12 after a 47-year career.
Romero was born in Albacete in 1947, and after spending the first years of his childhood in Chinchilla, Castilla-La Mancha, he moved to Barcelona with his family at the age of nine. He began putting his voice to work at a young age and over the course of his career it acquired such a power that he would become one of the most distinctive and accomplished stage actors of his time, often working with the director Mario Gas.
Such was his skill that even those who usually disliked dubbed movies could admire what he did with his serious and resounding voice. Over the years, he provided the voices of Robert Redford, Roger Moore, Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Kirk Douglas, Orson Welles, Schwarzenegger, Mufasa in Disney’s The Lion King, as well as Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner, among many others. “I wish I had the voice of the guy who dubbed me,” Hauer said after seeing the Spanish version of the movie. “It is much better than mine!”
But it was perhaps Clint Eastwood with whom Romero was most associated, dubbing his films from 1971 until the end. He never got to know him personally, but on the screen they were one and the same person. Even after his official retirement, he came back to dub Clint in Trouble with the Curve, admitting it would be his last work. And when Alex de la Iglesia wanted Eastwood to appear in the last scene of 800 Bullets, he had to make do with a double on screen, but he had Romero’s voice on the soundtrack.
Romero’s movie appearances in person were few. His film credits include Olimpicament mort, Bigas Luna’s Lola, Carlos Benpar’s La veritat oculta and Pau Freixas’ Héroes.
He made his theater debut in Gas’s 1984 production of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s The Threepenny Opera, going on to work with the director on productions of Brecht and Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Aeschylus’ The Oresteia, Eugene O’Neill’s Mourning Becomes Electra and Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. His last stage appearance was in Josep Maria Flotats’s production of Sacha Guitry’s Beaumarchais in 2010.