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Actor Roger Cudney Speaks About his Career in Mexico

He is best known for his roles in "Total Recall," "License to Kill," "La dictadura perfecta," "No se aceptan devoluciones" and "Rubí"
By The News · 12 of October 2016 08:30:43
Veteran character actor and U.S. native Roger Cudney has played heroes and villains on both sides of the Rio Grande for decades, No available, photo: The News/Sandra Constantine

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Despite usually being the bride’s maid rather than the bride, character actor Roger Cudney has carved out a comfortable living in the entertainment industry in Mexico and has had fun while doing it.

“It’s fun because of the people I’ve worked with over the years,” the Ohio native said recently during an interview with The News.

Some of those people include Angelina Jolie and the late actress Elizabeth Taylor.

Cudney played an international jewel thief in the iconic commercial for Taylor’s White Diamonds perfume, which still plays in department stores and airs on television decades later.

Cudney got to meet Jolie on the set of “Original Sin,” a movie in which he played the ship’s captain. He was very gratified that the reigning Hollywood sex symbol recognized him.

“She said ‘I’ve seen you in lots of movies. I know who you are.’”

That isn’t surprising because Cudney has been in more than 120 different movies and television shows, mostly in work below the Mexican-U.S. border. Some of his most famous work in Mexico includes “La dictadura perfecta” (The Perfect Dictatorship), “No se aceptan devoluciones” (Instructions Not Included) and the classic telenovela “Rubí.” He is also known for his roles in U.S. films “Total Recall” with Arnold Schwartzenegger and “License to Kill” of the James Bond franchise.

The Interlomas resident came to Mexico City in the 1960s singing in musical performances of “Showboat” and “Carousel.”

He took a liking to Mexico City and in 1968 ended up using his excellent radio voice as an announcer and interviewer for CBS’s VIP radio. He even had the opportunity to cover the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, as well as the Acapulco Film Festival.

After about two years of that, an acting career opened up for him when he costarred with Charles Bronson in the film “The Evil That Men Do.”

He recently appeared in the Mexican telenovela “Sueño de Amor” as an Interpol official. Cudney, who like many actors says he prefers playing before a live audience to film, recently came off a nine-month run of a Spanish-language version of the musical “The Scarlet Pimpernel.”

Cudney said it is very gratifying to get applause from a live audience, something that gives him a lot of personal satisfaction.

But his favorite character to play is a cowboy, which he had interpreted in about 20 different westerns. He enjoyed learning how to control a horse and got a thrill out of riding on horseback through a herd of long-horned steers.

One of his favorite western gigs was playing a cowboy working for a King Lear-type character in “The King of Texas.”

Many of his roles have been very minor, he admits.

“Half of them are things I would like to forget,” Cudney said, explaining that this is because many were small roles or in poorly received movies.

He spoke about the many times he has died on film. “I’ve been shot, stabbed and stomped on by a horse, a bomb explodes in my face. I have died many ways,” he said.

He estimates about half his roles have been bad guys. Cudney said he has no problem playing villains.

One of Cudney’s most recent gigs was playing Donald Trump for Youtube with his friend and fellow actor Eugenio Derbez, with whom he also acted alongside in the 2013 Mexican hit “No se aceptan devoluciones.”