Carlos Sanchez, 71, has been playing Sr. Valdez for some 37 years. The role was first created in 1959 and played by Cuban-American actor José Duval for 10 years before Sánchez took over. At the time, Sanchez ran a small printing workshop.
From the article:
The fictional Juan Valdez, one of the most recognizable Colombians ever, portrays a positive alter-ego to the image of narco-traffickers.
"I feel like a flag representing the country when I'm outside of Colombia," Sánchez told reporters proudly, his eyes watering at times from the memories of a lifetime in the limelight.
But he added that he feels he's grown too old and too heavy to continue a grueling schedule promoting the world's second-largest coffee-producing nation.
Sanchez's faithful mule, Conchita, could not be reached for comment about the upcoming retirement.