Jorge Ortiz de Pinedo experienced a tragedy that shaped him and helped change the professional direction of his career. (Photo by Adrian Monroy/Medios y Media/Getty Images)
Sooner or later opportunities arise. After breaking through in the sixties and seventies to carve out a place for his work in theater, film and television, Jorge Ortiz de Pinedo began to have a greater presence as, not only because of the influence of his last name Actors available in the early and mid eighties. His career was on the rise when a tragedy completely changed his future plans.
Mexico suffered from the fatal consequences of the earthquake of September 19, 1985. National attention was focused on rebuilding buildings and treating victims. Pain, sadness and helplessness were the feelings that prevailed in the collective mind of the population. There was no desire to think about anything else. Due to this fact, there were film premieres that went unnoticed by the general public. This is the case with Gavilán o paloma (Alfredo Gurrola, 1985), a film in which Ortiz de Pinedo appears as a supporting actor alongside José José, one of the great musical stars of today.
Two months after the earthquake and the release of the film, Ortiz de Pinedo had to face the adversity and devastation of a terrible international event marked by terrorism, in which his mother and sister died. When he starred in the play Marriage Dinner, During the break, the actor was told that the plane on which his relatives were traveling had been hijacked by the Palestinian extremist group Abu Nidal. It was world news at that moment.
The EgyptAir flight departed from Athens, Greece and flew to Cairo, Egypt, a country where both women were traveling to visit a friend. The passengers never imagined that they would be captured on board by members of the terrorist organization, which demanded that the route to Libya be rerouted. However, The pilots stated that this was not possible due to a lack of fuel and therefore decided to make an emergency landing in Malta. The only country that allowed them to use runways because there was a multinational agreement to prevent the descent of aircraft during terrorist activities.
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At the same time that Ortiz de Pinedo was managing the procedures and support for the immediate travel to Greece (territory from which his relatives had departed), The terrorists began murdering passengers after killing a Jewish woman while rescuing hostages. Likewise, human error led them to open fire on the entire crew as part of a firefight with the Egyptian Rescue Brigade, an inexperienced command that assumed responsibility for the operation without having any concept of combat operations in the circumstances. They acted with the approval of the Maltese government, which rejected the intervention of experienced brigades such as the French, Germans and British.
Speaking from Washington, USA, the actor was told by a consular official that he had to travel to Malta as his mother and sister were among the fatal victims in the shooting. It began to be a torture for him because He didn’t speak the language, didn’t have a visa to enter the Mediterranean island, connections were lengthy and he had no diplomatic support from Mexico. Thanks to the help of foreign pilots, diplomatic representatives of other nations and journalists who acted as correspondents, he managed to achieve his goal to undertake another crossroads: the identification and repatriation of the bodies.
“As for my mother’s body, they knew where it was. He was at the University of Malta, that’s where he was identified. Afterwards I had to go into the hangar and see people being suffocated, shot and burned until I found my sister. “This impression is something powerful, it breaks my heart” Comments in an interview with journalist Matilde Obregón on her YouTube channel.
He stayed in Malta for four days to organize the repatriation of the bodies. He had to deal with two unforeseen obstacles: Refusal to transport coffins and no crematoria. When Ortiz de Pinedo saw that airlines wouldn’t carry the bodies, he thought about cremating his loved ones to make it easier for them to return to Mexico. However, there were no crematoria in Malta. Luckily for the actor, a plane was prepared to transport him and the coffins to Rome, Italy, a city that also had no burial facility and did not allow flights carrying victims of the tragedy.
“No airline wanted to take me. “As they said it was a hard line against terrorism and this was a result of terrorism, no one wanted to get involved.” he explains to Matilde Obregón. “Until the Mexican ambassador in Spain contacted me, he managed to help me travel to Madrid and from Madrid the airline Aeroméxico took me to Mexico,” he elaborates on his bitter experience, ending it with the fact that he was able to bury his mother and sister with him. to the remains of his father, the first actor Oscar Ortiz de Pinedo.
After experiencing this tragedy and accepting his losses, Jorge Ortiz de Pinedo took refuge in work to heal his wounds. Focusing on his job also enabled him to identify new paths in the professional field. He wanted to be a producer, i.e. produce his own projects. He was interested in comedy, so I think Candido Pereza successful television series that aired from 1987 to 1993.
In this show and in “A Family of 10,” he uses humor to tell stories about what he values most after what happened: family. In the fiction he is happy again with his loved ones and combines acting with producing.