Sergio Calderón, the 'head on a stick' in 'Men in Black', dies at 77

Sergio Calderón, the ‘head on a stick’ in ‘Men in Black’, dies at 77

Sergio Calderón, the lovable Mexican character actor who made his mark in major films such as The in-laws, Men in black AND Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End, is dead. He was 77 years old.

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

Calderón played a Mexican revolutionary in the early 20th century Duck, you idiot! (1971), written and directed by Sergio Leone, and was a homicidal Mexican police chief opposite Albert Finney in John Huston’s film Under the volcano (1984).

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He starred as colorful bandit Malavida Valdése in NBC’s first episode The A team in 1983, then returned as 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 Arthur Hiller’s play The in-laws (1979) – it was the role that got him his SAG card – and the 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 US-Mexico border in Barry Sonnenfeld’s film.


Sergio Calderón in 1997’s ‘Men in Black’

Courtesy of the Everett Collection

Later, Calderon was 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 National Actors Association’s Andres Soler Institute. He then made his screen debut in The bridge in the jungle (1970), with Houston.

Among the three dozen films on his resume were The Avengers (1972), Sanchez’s children (1978), The goat (1981), Old Gringo (1989), The missing (2003), The ruins (2008) e Little Fockers (2010). He also appeared in 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 public relations firm The Mesulam Group; son-in-law Raaj; and grandchildren Krishnaavi, Emiliano and Victoria.