Q: Whatever happened to Julio Iglesias? I see stuff about Enrique all the time, but never a mention of his famous father, “King of the Love Song.” Has the family patriarch hung up his pipes?
Cathy Stoltz, of Belleville
A: To all the girls he’s ever loved (and even liked) before, the all-time Latin recording king wants you to know this: Twenty years may have passed since the last of his seven Grammy nominations in the United States, but Julio José Iglesias de la Cueva is still making headlines recording and touring.
In fact just two months ago, the 73-year-old singing legend who has been making hearts melt for 50 years added yet another recording to his artistic achievements. In his May 5th release of “México & Amigos,” Iglesias teams up with fellow Latin stars for his first album of duets, which is now available, among other places, on Amazon for $9. It comes on the heels of his solo album “México,” which was released in the fall of 2015.
Having lost track of Iglesias’ career myself after his big hits with Willie Nelson and Diana Ross on his “1100 Bel Air Place” in 1984, I was again fascinated to read about the serendipitous origin of this superstar’s career. As a young man, the Madrid native was a professional football/soccer goalie for Real Madrid Castilla while studying law at CEU San Pablo University in Madrid. Then came the moment that changed everything: a serious automobile accident that severely injured his lower spine and would leave his legs permanently weakened.
Unable to walk for two years, he reportedly was given a guitar by a nurse so he at least had something to do with his hands. He didn’t know it at the time, but his future was set. In 1968, even after earning his law degree, Iglesias won Spain’s Benidorm International Song Festival with his “La vida sigue igual” (“Life Goes on the Same”), which was used in a similarly titled film about his own life. Almost quicker than you could say “olé,” he was signed by the Spanish arm of Columbia Records and issued his first album, which spent 15 weeks on the Spanish charts.
The rest, as they say, is history. In 1979, the 35-year-old moved to Miami, signed with CBS International and started singing his songs in English, Portuguese and French, among other languages. (In 1983, he was celebrated for having recorded music in the most languages ever — 14.) In 1989, he played Sophia Petrillo’s date on the Valentine’s Day episode of “The Golden Girls.” Among his latest honors, he was named the Most Popular International Artist of All Time in China and Guinness World Record holder of Best-selling Male Latin Artist — both on April 1, 2013. With the release of his latest, he now has 82 albums in his long discography.
Perhaps his family is helping keep him young. After having three kids with his first wife (Enrique is now 42), Iglesias began living with a Dutch model 22 years his junior, Miranda Rijnsburger. They had five children (including now 16-year-old twin girls and a 10-year-old son) before deciding to tie the knot in 2010. And if heredity is any indication, he may be wowing his fans for years to come. His father, Julio Sr., died in 2005 at the age of 90. Seven months later, his daughter Ruth was born. So be sure to keep up with his son’s life at www.julioiglesias.com.
“Green Grow the Lilacs” flopped on Broadway after 64 performances in 1931. Yet what monster hit show would it spawn 12 years later?
Answer to Wednesday’s trivia: Early in the first season of “The Andy Griffith Show,” Elinor Donahue — fresh from her long stint as daughter Betty on “Father Knows Best” — moved into Mayberry as the town’s new pharmacist. Sparks were supposed to fly when she met Andy and his young son, Opie, but their relationship fizzled like a soggy firecracker. Their chemistry never clicked, so the pretty 23-year-old Donahue was allowed to walk away from her three-year contract after 11 episodes.