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HOME > Biographical > 100 New Yorkers of the 1970s > WESTSIDER RAUL JULIA
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Star of Dracula on Broadway


"It's nice to be a vampire eight times a week," says Raul Julia, the star of Dracula at the Martin Beck Theatre. Last October he took over the role made famous by Frank Langella, and now Julia — pronounced "Hoo lia" by his Puerto Rican countrymen — has developed a cult following of his own, in this classic remake of the 1927 Broadway hit.

Some critics have said that the sets and costumes by Edward Gorey are the centerpieces of the show, more so than any of the performers. But Raul Julia is rapidly becoming a local matinee idol, drawing fan mail by the bagful and constantly meeting crowds of autograph seekers outside the stage door.

In his portrayal of Count Dracula, Raul takes on many characteristics of a bat. He hangs over the mantlepiece at strange angles and whips his dark cloak through the air like a bat's wings. When entrapped by three desperate men holding protective crosses and religious relics in front of them, he changes into a bat and flies out the window at the stroke of dawn.

In the dressing room prior to a performance, without his makeup, he looks neither sinister nor magnetically attractive, but seems almost boyish. His wit is matched by his humility: Raul is aware that his name is not yet a household word. Not many people realize, for example, that his natural speaking voice has the same lilting Puerto Rican accent heard everywhere in the streets and subways of New York. When asked how he accounts for his flawless onstage pronunciation, Raul shrugs and says with a grin, "Well, that's acting."

Like Richard Chamberlain, who in 1970 played Hamlet with great success on the British stage, Julia is equally at home in British and American plays. He has starred in many of Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival productions, and has received three Tony nominations for his dramatic and musical roles on Broadway.

He sips a glass of apricot juice while a makeup artist brushes his jet black hair straight back and starts to darken his eyes. Removing his shoes, Raul tells all sorts of little anecdotes about his life as the famous Count.

"I usually eat very little during the day. I go to sleep at about five, sometimes six. Maybe I'm getting a Dracula schedule," he says with a laugh. "Some people who see the show write and say they're going to keep their windows open at night.

"Dracula is a myth, although some people think there act............
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