Antonio Bolivar Dead: ‘Embrace of the Serpent’ Actor Dies of COVID-19

Antonio Bolivar

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Antonio Bolívar, the actor who played the role of shaman Karamakate in the Oscar-nominated movie Embrace of the Serpent, has died of coronavirus. Deadline confirmed the actor’s death, saying they received notice of his death through representatives of the film’s director, Ciro Guerra. He was 75 years old, according to most outlets.

The actor was admitted to the hospital sometime last week in Leticia, Colombia, after suffering from symptoms of the COVID-19 coronavirus. He passed away on Friday, May 1.

Leticia is the most southern city in the country and it’s the capital of the department of the Amazonas. It borders Brazil and Peru as well as the Amazon River. According to The City Paper Bogota, Leticia has 104 confirmed cases of coronavirus and four deaths, including Bolívar.


Bolívar Was a Member of the Huitoto Indigenous People & a Translator of Languages

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Bolívar was a member of the Huitoto indigenous people and he was also one of the last members of his tribe. In addition to acting, Bolívar worked in Colombia as a translator of different indigenous languages, such as the Tikuna and Cubeo that are spoken in the Orinoco and Amazon region.

The City Paper Bogota described the actor as being the same in real life as how he appears on the screen, having “ancestral wisdom, knowledge of the botanical world and a natural talent for acting.” In addition to appearing as Karamakate in Embrace of the Serpent (El Abrazo de la Serpiente), Bolívar also appeared in another Guerra production, the Netflix series Green Frontier (Frontera Verde).

Embrace of the Serpent was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2015 Academy Awards. It’s a black-and-white movie that’s shot in the Guainía department close to the Mavecure mountains, where the Huitoto people live. Bolívar’s character Karamakate welcomes in two Amazon explorers, Theodor Koch-Grunberg, an early 19th century German explorer, and Richard Evans-Schultes, an American botanist and cultural anthropologist.


Many Have Been Posting Tributes to the Late Actor on Social Media

Many people took to social media when they found out about the actor’s death to coronavirus. One person posted:

He wrote: “Heartbreaking to learn that Colombian actor Antonio Bolívar, who played elderly Karamakate in EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT, has passed away of coronavirus at 75. He will forever be immortalized in Ciro Guerra’s stunning film. He also appeared in the Netflix show GREEN FRONTIER. RIP.”

Another posted:

The tweet reads: “A jaguar’s farewell to Karamakat: Antonio Bolivar, Ocaina indigenous man who played leading role in Oscar-nominated film ‘Embrace of the Serpent”‘, has died at age 75 of coronavirus in the Amazonian town of Leticia.”

The Twitter page for the International Film Festival for the Amazon posted about the actor’s death in Spanish:

The tweet reads: “With immense sadness from the Ficamazonía Foundation team, we say goodbye to Grandfather Antonio Bolivar, a recognized actor and an emblematic and ancestral figure of the Amazon. He will always be a great man. He leaves a seed in each of us.”

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