SI Vault
Gilbert Roland
December 10, 1984
I had a friend once.He was a bullfighter. A slender man with sad eyes, a sad smile and a long deep scar on his face. There were other scars, but you only saw the one on his face.
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December 10, 1984

A Famous Actor Writes A Touching Ode To Manolete, The Bullfighter

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In the infirmary they gave him four transfusions.
He knew he was going to die, smiled, asked for a cigarette, took two puffs, that was all, he could not smoke.
The poor priest from the poor church gave him the last sacraments, made the sign of the cross and went out the door.


Early in the morning, at exactly 5:12, he kissed the holy medal around his neck, mumbled a prayer and died.
He died with a silent prayer on his lips in quiet dignity in a poor hospital where poor people die.
He did not live long, 29 years is not a long time.
But it is no secret. Manolete knew how to live, and how to die.


Years later I went to Cordoba to see his mother, Do�a Angustias. She was quite old now, losing her eyesight. She was still dressed in black, mourning; Manolete's sisters in black.
We sat in the sala of the home he built for her. We had a glass of manzanilla, and she wept and said in Spanish:
"You are the man who gave my son the gold ring with your mother's words?"
"Si, se�ora."
"I have the ring. Do you want it back?"
"No, se�ora."
"My son, Manolo, loved you much," she sobbed.
"And I loved him, Doha Angustias." We sat in silence as she wept, then I kissed her wet cheeks, went out the door, got in the car and drove back to Madrid.

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