Spanish supporting and character actress Rafaela Aparicio worked with some of her country's best directors on over 100 films. She was born Rafaela Díaz Valiente, the daughter of a merchant ship's pilot in Marbella, Spain. Before making her stage debut at age 23, Aparicio had worked as a teacher. Short of stature, round-bodied, and possessing a screechy voice, she was typically cast as a bright and happy spinster or a mother-in-law. Though she did well enough in such roles, some directors noted in Aparicio a certain eccentricity that made her ideal for art house films, in which her characters were often symbols or political metaphors. This latter aspect can be most strongly seen in Carlos Saura's Ana y los Lobos (Ana and the Wolves ) and Mama Cumple Cien Años (Mum's a Hundred Years Old ), wherein her portrayals of slightly crazed matriarchs represents Franco's takeover of Spain. Aparicio's two most famous films are Victor Erice's El Sur (The South ) and Fernan Gomez's La Vida por Delante (Life Ahead ). In 1989, Aparicio received a Goya Prize for her performance in El Mar y el Tiempo.