Sergio Calderón, the “Head on a Stick” in ‘Men in Black,’ Dies at 77 – TheFantasyTimes

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By Jitin Gambhir

Sergio Calderón, the amiable Mexican character actor who made his mark in such notable films as The In-Laws, Men in Black and Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End has died. He was 77.

Calderón died Wednesday in a Los Angeles hospital of natural causes, a family spokesman announced.

Calderón portrayed a Mexican revolutionary at the turn of the 20th century in Duck, You Sucker! (1971), written and directed by Sergio Leone, and was a murderous Mexican chief of police opposite Albert Finney in John Huston’s Under the Volcano (1984).

He guest-starred as the colorful bandit Malavida Valdése on the premiere episode of NBC’s The A-Team in 1983, then returned as the river pirate El Cajón (The Coffin) at the start of the show’s third season a year later.

Calderón played Alfonso, one of the Hondurans, in the Arthur Hiller comedy The In-Laws (1979) — it was the role that got him his SAG card — and fans of the original Men in Black (1997) know him as the “head on a stick” held by an extraterrestrial “illegal alien” attempting to sneak across the U.S.-Mexico border in the Barry Sonnenfeld film.

Sergio Calderón in 1997’s ‘Men in Black’
Courtesy Everett Collection

Later, Calderon was the Spanish pirate lord Capt. Vallenueva in Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End (2007).

Born on July 21, 1945, Calderón moved from his home in a tropical village to Mexico City when he was 10 and studied at the Andres Soler Institute of the National Actors Association. He then made his onscreen debut in The Bridge in the Jungle (1970), starring Huston.

Among the three dozen or so films on his résumé were The Revengers (1972), The Children of Sánchez (1978), The goat (1981), Old Gringo (1989), The Missing (2003), The Ruins (2008) and Little Fockers (2010). He also showed up on the final season of the FX series Better Things last year.

Survivors include his wife, Karen Dakin; children Patrick Calderón-Dakin and Johanna Calderón-Dakin, vice president of the PR firm The Mesulam Group; son-in-law Raaj; and grandchildren Krishnaavi, Emiliano and Victoria.

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