Alfonso Arau

Alfonso Arau Incháustegui, or Alfonso Arau, was born on January 11, 1932, in Mexico City, Mexico, to Enrique Alvarez Alatorre, a dentist, and his wife, Maria Felix. He is a Mexican filmmaker, actor, and singer. Arau has been acting in and directing Mexican and American productions for over four decades and is well-known for movies including “Like Water for Chocolate” and “Picking Up the Pieces.” The famous movie, “Like Water for Chocolate,” which he directed, was based on a novel authored by his former wife, Laura Esquivel. He has three children, and his two sons have earned acclaim in the entertainment industry as well.

Fast Facts

Full Name:

Alfonso Arau Incháustegui

Birth date:

January 11, 1932



Zodiac Sign:



5' 9"

Relationship Status:


Net Worth:

$19 million


Alfonso Arau Incháustegui, known professionally as Alfonso Arau, is an actor and filmmaker, born in Mexico City, Mexico, to a dentist father. Not much is known about his early years; he began his career in the entertainment industry in 1954 with an uncredited role in the movie “Looks That Kill,” followed by another one in “El Casto Susano” in the same year.

In 1975, Arau married Esquivel, a prominent Mexican novelist, screenwriter, and politician. In 1992, he directed “Like Water for Chocolate,” a movie based on a novel written by her. This acclaimed movie received various awards and became the turning point of his career and his international breakthrough. However, the couple divorced in 1995. His other directorial hits include “A Walk in the Clouds” (1995) starring Keanu Reeves and “Picking Up the Pieces” (2000) starring Woody Allen, Kiefer Sutherland, and Sharon Stone, to name a few.

Apart from directing, Arau has acted in over 50 movies. One of his most well-known movies as an actor is “Three Amigos,” in which he shared the screen with Steve Martin. He is a five-time Ariel Award winner. He also won an award for Best Director for the movie “Like Water for Chocolate.” In 2017, he gave his voice to the character named Papá Julio in the animated movie “Coco.” During his 68 years in the industry — which in itself is impressive — he has worn many hats and has earned the right to be a legend. In 2004, he was honored by the Santa Fe Film Festival for his contribution to cinema.

Career timeline

His First Movie Role

Arau is cast in the movies, “Looks That Kill” and "El Casto Susano" in uncredited roles.

He Acts With Steve Martin

Arau stars in the film “Three Amigos” alongside Martin.

He Receives Critical Acclaim

Arau directs "Like Water for Chocolate," which is critically acclaimed and recognized internationally.

His Italian Movie

He directs the Italian movie, "The Trick in the Sheet."

His Voice-Over Act

Arau voices the character of Papá Julio in the animated movie "Coco."

Why We Love Alfonso Arau

  1. His contribution to the Mexican film industry

    Arau has been honored at the Santa Fe Film Festival for his work in cinema. The non-profit organization, which “presents important world cinema that represents aesthetic, critical, and entertainment standards highlighting New Mexican film,” presented him with the honor.

  2. He is versatile

    Arau has not kept himself restricted to one area of filmmaking. He is an amazing actor, a trained ballet dancer, and also a celebrated director. He is an explorer and is very multi-talented. He has tried several things, including scriptwriting and voiceovers for animated movies.

  3. He followed his heart

    Although his father was an upper-middle-class dentist who could provide him with a comfortable childhood, Arau decided to take a different career course altogether. Initially, he decided to study medicine, but instead studied ballet and theater. He is an inspiration for all those who wish to follow their hearts.

5 Surprising Facts

  1. He has three children

    Arau has three children: Fernando Arau, Sergio Arau, and Eduardo Gamboa.

  2. His dancing act

    Arau was one half of a dancing and singing comedy duo, Corona y Arau, with partner Sergio Corona on Mexican television.

  3. He is a film writer

    He has over eight writing credits to his name, including a recently announced one.

  4. He faced an allegation

    In 2017, actress Debra Messing claimed that Arau body-shamed her in her debut movie "A Walk in the Clouds."

  5. He has acted in several projects

    Arau has acted in a total of 53 movies to date.

Alfonso Arau FAQs

Who played Mando in “Gunsmoke”?

Arau played the character ‘Mando’ in “Gunsmoke” for one episode.

Did Alfonso Arau re-marry?

After divorcing his wife, Esquivel, Arau did not marry again.

How old is Alfonso in 2022?

The legendary director and actor will be 90 years old in 2022.

Alfonso Arau’s birthday dates

2025January 11Saturday
2026January 11Sunday
2027January 11Monday
2028January 11Tuesday
2029January 11Thursday

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