TV screenwriter Delia Fiallo nicknamed “Mother of the Latin American soap opera” has died aged 96

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Television screenwriter Delia Fiallo, nicknamed “Mother of the Latin American soap opera”, has died aged 96

  • Fiallo died surrounded by loved ones on Tuesday, daughter said
  • Glittering career has seen her nicknamed “the mother of the Latin American soap opera”
  • Fiallo, of Cuban origin, wrote more than 40 remarkable works
  • Fiallo fled Havana for Florida in 1966 and settled in Coral Gables
  • She wrote up to 35 pages of scripts per day during the early years of her career
  • Fiallo lambasted modern telenovelas, claiming they were too violent
  • She said viewers preferred to watch shows that emphasized ‘feelings’

A veteran television writer whose distinguished career has seen her nicknamed “the mother of the Latin American soap opera” has died at the age of 96.

Delia Fiallo died Tuesday at her home in Coral Gables, Florida, her daughter announced. She is said to have died peacefully and surrounded by her loved ones, although more information on Fiallo’s cause of death has not been shared.

Paying homage to Fialla, Venezuelan TV channel Venevision tweeted: “(A) great writer saying goodbye to us after 96 years of living shaping great, unforgettable stories.”

The veteran writer’s most famous screenplays include the soap operas Esmeralda and El Privilego de Amar.

Fiallo learned her craft writing for shows in Cuba and Venezuela, and said she had to write 35 pages of scripts every day to keep the bosses of TV companies happy.

Famous Latin American screenwriter Delia Fiallo has died at the age of 96. She is pictured in 2018 receiving an award from the Miami Cuban Cultural Heritage Organization

Fiallo has written over 40 remarkable soap operas and radio series, which have been adapted around the world.  His study - complete with framed posters for his shows - is illustrated

Fiallo has written over 40 remarkable soap operas and radio series, which have been adapted around the world. His study – complete with framed posters for his shows – is illustrated

Recalling those early years of his career, Fiallo said: “Many years have been spent on this task, writing a daily chapter myself, with the soap opera on the air. I couldn’t get sick, I couldn’t rest; sometimes I would finish a novel today and start another the next day.

Fiallo’s stories have been adapted into Telenovelas – Latin American soap operas – in Mexico, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Spain and the United States.

Her career peaked in the 1970s and 1980s, with her prolific and popular production that led Fiallo to be affectionately known as “the mother of the Latin American soap opera”.

But she decried how much the genre has changed during an interview in 2018.

Fiallo lambasted writers who had followed in his footsteps for “destroying” soap operas by focusing on action, violence and drug trafficking, and “forgetting the feelings,” according to Televisa.

Fiallio is pictured with her husband Bernardo Pascual in Coral Gables, Florida in 2004. The couple married in 1952 and remained married until his death in 2019.

Fiallio is pictured with her husband Bernardo Pascual in Coral Gables, Florida in 2004. The couple married in 1952 and remained married until his death in 2019.

She said the producers “don’t realize or don’t want to see that they’re producing for a minority who love violence, morbidity.”

One of Fiallo’s most recent projects, which she started in 2018, has seen her turn the scripts on her shows into novels.

She was honored by the Cuban Cultural Heritage Organization of Miami in the same year.

Fiallo studied philosophy and letters in Havana, then began writing radio soap operas in Havana in 1949.

She fled Cuba for Miami with her family in 1966, and based herself there while writing soap operas for Mexican and Venezuelan television stations.

Fiallo retired from television writing in 1985. She married radio director Bernardo Pascual in 1952 and married him until his death in March 2019.

Fialio is survived by his five grandchildren and 13 grandchildren.


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