Antonio Buero Vallejo; Spanish Playwright, Enemy of Fascism

Antonio Buero Vallejo, 83, Spanish playwright who, in 1986, won the Cervantes Prize, the country's top literary honor, and was known for his longtime opposition to the fascist government of Gen. Francisco Franco. Born in the Spanish city of Guadalajara, Buero enjoyed puppet theater as a child and studied art at Madrid's School of Fine Arts as a teenager. His writing career became stalled when the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936. Buero's father was arrested by Franco's forces and subsequently executed, driving the young man into the arms of Republican opposition. He was arrested and sentenced to death in 1939, but his sentence was commuted in 1946 and he was released from prison. His experience of fighting fascism and living in prison marked his work for the rest of his life. Buero's best-known play, "History of a Stairway," explored the moral and physical decay in Spain in the early years after the civil war. In 1957, he was awarded the National Theater Prize for "Today Is a Holiday." Elected to the Royal Academy of Spain in 1971, the waning years of the Franco era, Buero used the forum to praise Federico Garcia Lorca, the playwright murdered in 1936 by fascist loyalists. On April 28 in a Madrid hospital of complications from a stroke.

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