Born: 28 December 1932
Died: 22 July 1990 (heart failure)
Birthplace: General Villegas, Argentina
Best known as: The author of Kiss of the Spider Woman
Juan Manuel Puig is the Argentinian author whose best-known novel is Kiss of the Spider Woman (El beso de la mujer araña, 1976). Manuel Puig's stories were infused with sexuality and his love of Hollywood movies, which had been his escape from a boyhood in rural Argentina where he was scorned and even assaulted for dressing up in girls' clothing. He studied filmmaking in Europe and tried his hand at screenwriting during the 1960s, then published a mostly-autobiographical novel in 1968, La traición de Rita Hayworth (Betrayed by Rita Hayworth). Censored in Argentina, the book was a minor hit in France and the U.S. Manuel Puig's next book, Heartbreak Tango: A Serial (English translation, 1973), was well-received, but Puig's real celebrity stems from the novel Kiss of the Spider Woman (English translation 1979). The 1985 Hollywood film based on the book starred William Hurt and Raul Julia. Puig spent most of his career in self-imposed exile from Argentina, living in Europe, the U.S. and Brazil. He finally settled in Mexico, where he died at the age of 57. His other works include The Buenos Aires Affair (1973), The Blood of Requited Love (1982) and Eternal Curse on the Reader of These Pages (1980).
William Hurt won the best actor Oscar for Kiss of the Spider Woman. The film was also nominated for best picture of the year, losing to Out of Africa.
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