Valentin de Vargas - A Touch of Sweetness

A  S T A R  I S  G O N E

Santa Fe is such an amalgam of extraordinary people. You may be having coffee or lunch with a Pulitzer Prize winning author; an artist whose work is in the Smithsonian; a famous country singer; or an old-school Hollywood actor - VAL DE VARGAS - who was cast by Orson Welles for what is now considered his best and critically received film of all time - TOUCH OF EVIL.  


Val married one of my dear friends, the vivacious Diana Pace, and over the years I was privy to many wonderful happenings at their home. It was always a delight.  Val had a thousand stories about Hollywood and his roles in multiple films and  more than 150 television shows  - from the mid-1950's to the late 1990's. He brought it all to life - especially his months in Africa for the filming of HITARI, where he played Luis Francisco Garcia Lopez.

Val was always smiling, laughing and sweet; and always dashing, even as he edged into his late 70's he would turn heads and defy his true age. And he still worked - writing and reading scripts to find a great movie to produce, and  selling and managing real estate, something  he did in his early Hollywood days between movies. 

Val passed away in June and a memorial was held for him
last evening here in Santa Fe. He will be missed by his beautiful 
family and many, many friends.

Please leave a comment on the Blog if you have a special Val story. 
I know Diana would love to know about it or e-mail 




What a wonderful tribute was Saturday night's memorial. And Cynthia thank you for the Chasing Santa Fe blog to commemorate a noble spirit and a total charmer. I loved his stories of the golden years of Hollywood and seeing his delight in locations in Africa and playing sinister characters such as in Touch of Evil. Hearing how his years in Catholic schools led to a role in Blackboard Jungle. He was gentlemanly, cavalier, witty, and always charming. I'm so glad to have known him.

June Ferrill - Santa Fe, NM

It was a sweet privilege to have met and known Val. He always greeted me with a broad impish grin, enthusiastically saying "Amigo! Como esta?" Like all of us, I was amazed at the movies he was in - Blackboard Jungle, Touch of Evil and The Magnificent Seven were just a few - and fascinated by his Hollywood stories. The story of being picked up in the mornings by high school classmate Bob Denver who later became "Gilligan" was one of my favorites. These stories were like fine wine, to be savored any time they were offered. I wish I could hear them one more time.

George Jones - Santa Fe, NM    

I loved him in the movie "Hatari" as a kid. And many other shows. He was a memorable actor, I'm sure he will be very missed by his family and close friends. My condolences to all.

Stephanie Dalton -  Marietta, Georgia

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