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Spaniards pay respects to Spanish actor Fernan Gomez

Hundreds of people came to pay their last respects to Fernando Fernan Gomez, one of Spain's most important filmmakers.

Fans, colleagues from the Spanish cinema and theater world and politicians all gathered at Madrid's Teatro Espanol. The prolific actor, director and writer died Wednesday aged 86.

Fernan Gomez's coffin was covered in an anarchist flag - at his request, although he was not known to be politically active - and placed beneath a large photo of the actor smiling while holding a newspaper in his hands. Argentine tango songs - his favorites - played in the background.

Known for his booming voice, stern and imposing physical presence and sometimes irascible temper, Fernan Gomez appeared in more than 200 films, directed another 20 and wrote novels, plays and poetry.

Film critic Carlos Boyero, writing in leading Madrid daily El Pais, described Fernan Gomez as "the creator of some of the most unsettling and moving films of Spanish cinema."

Lawmakers at the Spanish parliament applauded in a brief homage to the actor on Thursday morning.

He was also a member of the Spanish Royal Academy, the official watchdog of the Spanish language.

He is survived by his second wife, Spanish actress Emma Cohen, and his son Fernando and daughter Elena from his first marriage.

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