Aleandro, Norma 1936-

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Aleandro, Norma 1936-


Born May 2, 1936, in Buenos Aires, Argentina; daughter of Pedro Aleandro (an actor) and María Luisa Robledo (an actress); married Oscar Ferrigno (an actor; marriage ended); married Edward Le Poole (a psychiatrist); children: (first marriage) Oscar.


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Writer and actress. Actress in films, including Las muerte en las calles, 1952; (as Valentina Vernisi) Gente conmigo (also known as A Nation with Me), 1967; Los herederos (also known as The Inheritors), 1969; La fiaca (also known as The Fiaca), 1969; (as Macacha Güemes) Güemes—la tierra en armas, 1971; (as Hipólita) Los siete locos (also known as The Seven Madmen), 1972; Operación masacre, 1973; La tregua (also known as The Truce), 1974; Las sorpresas, 1975; No toquen a la nena, 1976; Tobi, 1978; (as Alicia) La historia oficial (also known as The Official History, The Official Story, and The Official Version), Almi Pictures, 1985; (as Florencia Morales) Gaby: A True Story, Tristar, 1987; La entrevista, 1988; Primos, 1989; (as Edie Costello) Cousins, Paramount, 1989; Cien veces no debo (also known as A Hundred Times No), 1990; (as Henrietta Walker) Vital Signs, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1990; (as Maria) Las tumbas (also known as The Tombs), 1991; (as Voz en off) Vértigos, 1993; Facundo, la sombra del tigre (also known as Facundo, the Tiger's Shadow), 1995; Carlos Monzón, el sugundo juicio, 1995; (as Clara Goldstein) Sol de otoño (also known as Autumn Sun), 1996; Prohibido, 1997; (as Dolores) El faro (also known as El faro del sur and The Lighthouse), Alta Films, S.A., 1998; (as Juan's mother) Corazón iluminado (also known as Foolish Heart), Les Films de l'Atalante, 1998; (as Julia) Una noche con Sabrina Love (also known as A Night with Sabrina Love) Buena Vista International, 2000; (as la Varela) La Fuga (also known as The Escape), 2001; (as Norma Belvedere) El hijo de la novia (also known as Son of the Bride), 2001; (as Madre de Teresa) Todas las azafatas van alcielo (also known as Every Stewardess Goes to Heaven), 2002; (as Clarita) Deseo (also known as Desire), 2002; Cleopatra, 2003; (as Gloria Dali) Seres queridos (also known as Only Human), Canal, 2004; (as Doña Juana) Ay Juancito (also known as Only Human), Aries Cinematográfica, 2004; (as Beba Pujol) Cama adentro (also known as Live-In Maid), Aquafilms, 2004; (as Josefina) Pura Sangre, 2005.

Actress in stage productions, including La senorita de Tacna, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1981, Festival Latino, New York, NY, 1987; Sobre el Amor y Otras Cuentos (also known as About Love and Other Stories; onewoman show), La Mama Theatre, Argentina, through 1976, then Public Theatre, New York, 1985; and Master Class, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1997. Toured South America with Sobre el Amor y Otras Cuentos.

Actress in television programs, including (as Isha) Dark Holiday (made-for-television movie; also known as Passport to Terror), 1989; (as Nidia) "One Man's War," HBO Showcase, Home Box Office (HBO), 1991; Operación rescate (series), 1998; and Primicias (series), 2000. Presenter at the 58th Annual Academy Awards, 1986, and the 62nd Annual Academy Awards, 1990.


Best actress, Cannes Film Festival, best actress, New York Film Critics Circle, Academy Award for best foreign film, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 1985, Donatello Prize, and Golden Globe Award, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, all for The Official Story; Academy Award nomination for best actress, for Gaby: A True Story; Off-Broadway Award (OBIE), for Sobre el Amor y Otras Cuentos; best actress award, San Sebastian Film Festival, for Autumn Sun.


Los herederos (screenplay), 1969.

Los chicos quiren entrar (bound with Jamás un corazón ingrato, by Diego Mileo, Una vida secreta, by León Mirlas, Don Elías Campeón, by Hebe Serebrinksy, and Dos, by Agustín Vigo Giai), Sociedad General de Autores de la Argentina (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1980, also published as Los chicos quieren entrar: en un acto, con música cuatro generaciones en escena, Torres Agüero Editor (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1989.

Poemas y cuentos de Atenázor, Editorial Sudamericana (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1985.

Diario secreto, Emecé Editores (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1991.

Puertos lejanos, Océano/Temas (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 2000.

De rigurosa etiqueta y otras obras, Temas Grupo (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 2002.


Norma Aleandro has been one of the premiere actresses of Argentinian stage and screen for much of her life, despite the fact that she spent many years in exile after a military junta took over her country in 1976. Aleandro grew up in a theatrical family: her parents and grandparents were also involved in the theater, and her sister, María Vaner, has appeared in dozens of films. Aleandro acted in her parents' theater troupe as a child, and by the time the junta came to power Aleandro had established a reputation for herself in films, television, and radio, and on Avenida Corrientes, Argentina's equivalent of Broadway.

Immediately upon taking power, the junta started working to eliminate Argentinians whom it thought might be subversive, and Aleandro, who had lent her name to several liberal causes, was on their list. One night, three months into the junta's rule, Aleandro was performing her one-woman show Sobre el Amor y Otras Cuentos (About Love and Other Stories) on Avenida Corrientes when someone threw a canister of tear gas onto the stage. There was a note with the canister that read, "Go away, we don't want you here." That same night, while Aleandro was in bed in the apartment that she shared with her second husband, Edward Le Poole, and her son, Oscar, a bomb exploded in the lobby of Aleandro's apartment building. Minutes later Aleandro's husband received a phone call saying that Aleandro had twenty-four hours to leave the country, or be killed. The family was in Uruguay by the next morning.

Aleandro, her husband, and her son lived in Uruguay for eighteen months while they worked to get their affairs in order. Finally, after Le Poole had returned to Argentina and sold their apartment and belongings, they took the equivalent of 30,000 dollars that the sales had netted them and moved to Madrid, Spain, where some other Argentine exiles were living. Aleandro's father and sister were also blacklisted and could not work, but they elected to remain in Argentina. "We were a very close family, and my being in exile was extremely hard on my father," Aleandro later told People interviewer John Stark.

Being in exile was hard on Aleandro, too. Another Argentine actor in exile in Madrid died, essentially of homesickness, early in 1981. "At his funeral I saw a director friend who told me that I should go home or else I would suffer the same fate," Aleandro told Stark. "Even though I was scared of going, I was more scared of the alternative." Besides, Aleandro's son, Oscar, had already returned to Argentina to perform his compulsory military service, and she wanted to be closer to him. In February of 1981 Aleandro returned to Argentina, although her husband remained in Madrid until late in 1982. She was still blacklisted, but one theater risked hiring her anyway. For the next two and a half years, until democracy returned to Argentina in October of 1983, Aleandro lived in constant fear, but she was once again doing what she loved, performing in her home country.

Aleandro is most famous for her role in La historia oficial (The Official Story), a role which writer/director Luis Puenzo wrote specifically for her. The two first met to talk about the film in 1981, at a time when it looked like the movie would never be made: the plot of the movie deals with the dark side of life under the military junta and would not have been looked favorably upon by that regime. But Puenzo kept working on his script, and finally, after the democratically elected president Raul Alfonsin took office, it was possible for Puenzo to begin filming. Crowds came to the filming locations to cheer for the bravery of these people who had been blacklisted, who had survived the junta (unlike thousands of other dissidents), and who were now making a movie that exposed the regime's crimes.

In The Official Story, Aleandro plays Alicia, a history teacher at an exclusive private school. Her husband, Roberto, is a successful businessmen, and the two have an adorable five-year-old adopted daughter, Gaby. The film is set in 1983, as the junta's power is on the wane, and the story is set in motion by a visit from Alicia's childhood friend Ana, who has just returned from exile. Ana tells Alicia of her own torture by the regime, and she also tells her about the thousands of other torture victims who were not so lucky and who were killed. Many of the children of these victims were put up for adoption, and Ana speculates that Gaby may have been one such child. Alicia begins to investigate, and she eventually discovers that Gaby probably was the daughter of a young woman who was murdered for disagreeing with the junta. Along the way, Alicia also discovers that her husband was more complicit in the junta's crimes that she had ever suspected.

The Official Story brought her to the attention of American filmmakers, and Aleandro appeared in several Hollywood productions in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Since then, Aleandro has appeared mostly in Argentinian films, although several of these, including Sol de otoño (Autumn Sun) and El hijo de la novia (Son of the Bride), have had good runs in American theaters and have won Aleandro even more awards for her fine acting.

Aleandro is also the author of screenplays and short stories. She wrote (and acted in) her first screenplay, Los herederos, in 1969. Additionally, she is the author of 2002's De rigurosa etiqueta y otras obras.



Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, Volume 35, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 2001.

International Motion Picture Almanac, 1996 edition, Quigley Publishing (New York, NY), 1996.

Kanellos, Nicolas, The Hispanic-American Almanac, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1993.

Keller, Gary D., A Biographical Handbook of Hispanics and United States Film, Bilingual Press (Tempe, AZ), 1997.

Pickard, Roy, The Oscar Stars from A-Z, Headline Book Publishing (London, England), 1996.


American Film, November, 1986, review of The Official Story, pp. 15-18.

Americas (English edition), February, 1997, Paula Durbin, review of Master Class, p. 4.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 19, 2002, Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, review of Son of the Bride, p. P12.

Buffalo News, June 21, 2002, Elizabeth Barr, review of Son of the Bride, p. G5.

Commonweal, November 29, 1985, Tom O'Brien, review of The Official Story, pp. 671-672; March 24, 1989, Tom O'Brien, review of Cousins, pp. 177-178.

Cosmopolitan, January, 1986, Guy Flatley, review of The Official Story, pp. 26-27.

Entertainment Weekly, July 30, 1993, Lawrence O'Toole, review of Gaby: A True Story, p. 64.

Glamour, January, 1986, Joy Gould Boyum, review of The Official Story, pp. 111-112.

Los Angeles Magazine, January, 1986, Merrill Shindler, review of The Official Story, pp. 32-33; December, 1987, Merrill Shindler, review of Gaby, pp. 295-296.

Los Angeles Times, September 14, 1997, Sheila Benson, review of The Official Story, p. 5; November 13, 1998, Kevin Thomas, review of Autumn Sun, p. 6; March 22, 2002, Kevin Thomas, review of Son of the Bride, p. F-8.

Ms. Magazine, February, 1986, Mary McNamara, review of The Official Story, pp. 22-23.

New Leader, February 10, 1986, Daphne Merkin, review of The Official Story, p. 20.

New Statesman, September 20, 1985, John Coleman, review of The Official Version, pp. 33-34.

Newsweek, November 25, 1985, David Ansen, review of The Official Story, pp. 107-108.

New York, November 18, 1985, David Denby, review of The Official Story, pp. 88-89; April 22, 1991, John Leonard, review of One Man's War, p. 81.

New Yorker, March 6, 1989, Pauline Kael, review of Cousins, pp. 97-98.

People, February 17, 1986, John Stark, "After Years in Exile, Argentina's Norma Aleandro Returns to Triumph in The Official Story," pp. 57-59; April 30, 1990, Ralph Novak, review of Vital Signs, pp. 20-21.

Philadelphia Magazine, March, 1986, Richard Fuller, review of The Official Story, p. 58.

Seattle Times, April 5, 2002, Moira Macdonald, review of Son of the Bride, p. H28.

Seventeen, January, 1986, Edwin Miller, review of The Official Story, p. 57.

Time, December 2, 1985, Richard Schickel, review of The Official Story, p. 101.

U.S. Catholic, September, 2001, review of The Official Story, p. 47.

Variety, September 9, 1981, review of La senorita de Tacna, p. 102; April 24, 1985, review of La historia oficial, p. 34; September 23, 1987, review of Gaby, p. 26; May 17, 1989, review of Dark Holiday, p. 63; April 11, 1990, review of Vital Signs, p. 29; April 22, 1991, review of One Man's War, p. 55.

Video Review, October, 1989, Jeffrey Lyons, review of Cousins, p. 110.

Virginia Pilot, December 12, 1998, Mal Vincent, review of Autumn Sun, p. E5.

Vogue, December, 1985, Molly Haskell, review of The Official Story, p. 72.

ONLINE, (January 31, 2003), "Celebrity Biography: Norma Aleandro."

Internet Movie Database, (April 20, 2006), "Norma Aleandro."

MSN Entertainment, (January 31, 2003), "Celebs: Norma Aleandro."