2 minute read

Julio Iglesias: 1943—: Singer

Car Accident Changed Career

Iglesias was born on September 23, 1943, in Madrid, Spain, the son of Julio Iglesias Puga, a prominent doctor, and Maria del Rosario de la Cueva Iglesias. His family was wealthy, and Iglesias imagined following in his father's footsteps. "Like everybody else, I wanted to be a doctor, lawyer or engineer," he told Steve Dougherty in People Weekly. He studied law at the University of Madrid for a short time, then became a goalie for Spain's premier soccer team, Real Madrid. In 1963, however, an automobile accident ended his career in sports. "One day I was a guy full of strength," he told Dougherty. "And the next I was completely paralyzed."

Iglesias remained in convalescence for three years, at which time a nurse gave him a guitar to take his mind off his physical difficulties. Iglesias knew he could no longer play soccer, but he missed being in the spotlight. He decided to try singing, though he had never been interested in it before. "I was 19 years old when I first got the guitar," he told Ramiro Burr in the Houston Chronicle. Soon he had learned to play and was writing songs. His parents, he later recalled, were less than enthusiastic about a musical career for their son. "They realized I was serious about this," he told Burr, "and I guess it helped when one day they came home and our neighbor said, 'Is this your son, the one who sings?'"

At a Glance . . .

Born Julio Jose Iglesias de la Cueva on September 23, 1943, in Madrid, Spain; son of Julio Iglesias (a gynecologist) and Maria del Rosario (maiden name, de la Cueva Perignat) Iglesias Puga; married Isabel Preisler, January 20, 1971 (annulled 1979); children: Julio José, Enrique, Chaveli. Education: Graduated from law school in Spain.

Career: Singer, songwriter, concert performer and recording artist, 1968–.

Awards: First prize, Spain's Benidorm Song Festival, 1968; first prize, Eurovision song contest, 1972; Recipient Medaille de Vermeil de la Ville de Paris, 1983; Diamond Disc award Guiness Book of World Records, 1983; Grammy award for best Latin pop performance, 1987.

He attended Cambridge University for three months, studying language by day and singing Mediterranean love songs at night. He returned to Spain in 1968, where he entered and won first prize in the Benidorm Song Festival with "Life Goes on as Usual." In 1970 he represented Spain at the Eurovision Festival, and in 1972 he returned to the festival and won first prize. To please his parents, he also completed his law degree during this time. In 1971 Iglesias moved to Hong Kong, where he remained for two years. He married Isabel Preisler, and the couple had three children, but they parted in 1979.

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: James Heneghan (1930-) Biography - Personal to Rick Jacobson Biography - PersonalJulio Iglesias: 1943—: Singer Biography - Car Accident Changed Career, Popularized More Romantic Musical Style, Named Goodwill Ambassador To Unicef