Born to a prosperous Puerto Rican family, suave and handsome leading man Raul Julia acted in school plays and in college before coming to the U.S. in 1964. After studying drama with Wynn Handman, he made his New York stage debut in 1964 in a Spanish play. In 1966 he began a long association with Joseph Papp and the New York Shakespeare Festival. After debuting onscreen in The Organization (1971) with Sidney Poitier, he did another film the same year, then went until 1976 before getting another screen role; meanwhile he built his reputation on stage and TV, and frequently appeared on the children's educational show Sesame Street. For his portrayal of Macheath in The Threepenny Opera, Julia won a Tony award. His screen career did not take off until the early '80s, when Francis Ford Coppola enlisted him for the short-lived Zoetrope Studios stock company; he went on to appear in Coppola's One from the Heart (1982). The role for which Julia received the most acclaim was as a political prisoner in Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985). Although never making it into the realm of stardom, he sustained a busy screen career; he appeared in five films released in 1988 and four in 1990. He gained recognition from a younger generation for his portrayal of Gomez Addams in the popular comedy The Addams Family (1991) and its sequel. Julia died suddenly shortly after the filming of Streetfighter in 1994.