How did Delia Fiallo die? 'Mother of Latin American soap opera' dead at 96

Delia Fiallo wrote over 43 telenovelas, which were adapted for TV across various countries, reaching millions of people


                            How did Delia Fiallo die? 'Mother of Latin American soap opera' dead at 96
Delia Fiallo is hailed as the mother of Latin American soap opera (Facebook/Delia Fiallo Novelas)

Veteran Latin American TV writer Delia Fiallo died on Tuesday, June 29, at the age of 96. According to her daughter, the legendary writer died at her home in Coral Gables, Florida, surrounded by her loved ones. Her tragic demise was mourned by the Latin American entertainment industry. "(A) great writer who says goodbye to us after 96 years of life-shaping great unforgettable stories," Venezuelan TV network Venevision tweeted as a tribute to her.



 

Fiallo was hailed as the 'mother of Latin American soap opera or telenovelas' for her unparalleled contribution to the industry. She wrote over 43 stories that were adapted for the small screen across countries like Mexico, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Spain, and the US. Some of her notable creations for TV included 'Cristal', 'Kassandra', 'Lucecita', 'Pobre diabla', 'Peregrina', 'Esmeralda' and 'Leonela'. Her stories reached millions across the world and were even translated into Japanese and Czech. Fiallo's death comes on the heels of the recent deaths of veteran celebrities like Ric Romo, Lauren Berlant, and Stuart Damon. 

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How did Delia Fiallo die?

While the exact cause of her death was not revealed by her caregiver, it was told that she passed peacefully, while surrounded by her children. It is believed that she had died from age-related complications.

The veteran writer was about to celebrate her 97th birthday just five days later on July 4. She was born in 1924 in Havana, Cuba, and studied philosophy and literature. In 1948, she earned a doctorate to her name. Her debut in writing happened in 1949 in Havana, when she started writing radionovelas. In 1957, her story 'Soraya' was first adapted into a telenovela, foreshadowing her path to success. 

However, her career received a blow in 1966 when she had to leave the country with her family. She settled in Miami, Florida, and wrote most of her stories from there. She also resided in Venezuela for a while, as demanded by her work with Venevision and Radio Caracas Television. 'Lucecita', her first Telenovela in Venezuela released in 1967 and was an instant hit. 

At the peak of her career in the 1970s and 1980s, Fiallo even wrote as many as 35 pages of scripts each day, to cater to the rising demand of the audience. "Many years were devoted to that task, writing a daily chapter by 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 one the next day," she had recalled later about the prime days of her career.

Her last project 'La Felicidad' remained incomplete as she decided to retire midway through it. She married radio director Bernardo Pascual in 1952 and raised a family of five children and thirteen grandchildren with him. Pascual died in March 2019.

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