Ancash resident and Peruvian actress Claudia Dammert (68) passes away

B eloved actress and devoted resident of the Ancash region, Claudia Dammert, sadly passed away this week. She was 68, and suffered a heart attack whilst cycling. The death was very sudden and a shock to her family, as it appears she was in good health prior to her death.

Dammert was a multitalented actor, comedian, and presenter. She was born in San Isidro, Lima in 1949 to a prestigious family, and she later moved to the US to undertake a degree in Communications at Lindenwood College, Missouri. During the sixties, she began her foray into the theatre, performing in Miami, Washington, Madrid and Caracas and of course, her hometown Lima. During this time she became the first woman to perform one-man shows, during which she created many characters in a scathing satire of the Lima elite. She was known for being voracious; during the military dictatorship of Juan Velasco Alvarado in the early 1970s, she was imprisoned for a number of days following one of her solo shows that expressed ideas counter to those of the revolution. She also later marched against controversial president Alberto Fujimori in July 2000 when he was accused of fraud and bribery.

Dammert hit Peruvians screens nationwide in 1984 in the popular telenovella Carmín, which was the first international success for Peru of its kind in a while.

In 2000, she appeared in the action film Proof of Life, alongside Meg Ryan and Russel Crowe, and recently she was almost unrecognisable as the terrifying Ursula in the 2016 Peruvian horror film, Cementario General 2. She completed her first cinematic endeavour as the protagonist in “Deliciosa fruta seca”, released this summer to stunning acclaim. She also appeared this year in the play “Tu madre, la Concho”, a comedy about a middle aged man living with his overbearing mother written by Angelo Condemarín and directed by Paola Vicente, also to positive reviews. With these two critically acclaimed performances recently under her belt, it does indeed seem that Claudia Dammert’s time came too soon and that she still had a great deal to offer.

Dammert had spent the later years of her life living a peaceful existence in the Valley of Huaylas. From an interview she gave in 2005, it is clear she was very content with her new home, choosing to raise her youngest children there. She had two houses, one in the town of Caraz, and a second home in the more remote Huaripampa. She was a great fan of nature, citing the beautiful blue skies, endless horizons and stunning stars as what she valued the most about living in Ancash. In her countryside house, she didn’t even have electricity and she remarked that when she first moved from Lima, what struck her the most was the “terrifying” silence. However, she said that later she learned to love the tranquility of the Ancash countryside. She believed that god had made nature and man had made cities and, and yet paradoxically man is now destroying the nature, and god must offer protection and hope to those now living in those cities. After a time, she became somewhat of a cultural ambassador for the Andean way of life, helping to cement Andean identity with intercultural television and radio programmes.

Since Dammert’s death, many notable actors, journalists and authorities took to social media to express their grief. The Minister of Culture, Salvador del Solar, said of her death,”We have lost an extraordinary, unforgettable actress. Rest in peace, dear Claudia.” No doubt Claudia will live on in the memory of Peruvians who saw her vibrant and passionate performances.

Author: Nicola Phillips
Photo: Claudia Dammert, first recognised Peruvian actress (Facebook/@mariaclaudiadh)

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