March 12, 2004

Bullfight World
By Lyn Sherwood

The Days of Wineskins and Roses

Matador Antonio Lomelín Dies in México City

Matador de Toros Antonio Lomelín, 59, was found dead, in his bedroom, Monday night from a heart attack.

The story of Antonio Lomelín is one of the most tragic in Mexican bullfight history.

He was born Dec. 12, 1945, to a wealthy family in Acapulco and lived a life of privilege. He was considered somewhat of a playboy. In the early 60s, he was in college, studying to be a veterinarian, when he discovered bullfighting and soon announced that he would seek the life of a matador. The announcement caused a huge rift in his household. His father disowned him. But, Lomelín was resolute.

On Nov. 2, 1965, he made his first appearance in La Plaza Mexico. Scarcely two years later, he received his alternativa of matadorship in Irapuato, Mexico. His sponsor was Manuel Capetillo; the witness was Joselito Huerta. He then confirmed his alternativa in Madrid’s Plaza de Las Ventas on May 28, 1970.

For the next several years, Lomelín climbed to the top of the Mex-ican taurine ladder. The fans were captured by his regal elegance. The women fell in love with his dark, brooding eyes. He was good with the cape, banderillas, and muleta.

Oddly enough, it was the placing of banderillas—supposedly, the least dangerous part of bullfighting—that proved to be his undoing. In a period of only 18 months, while placing the sticks, he was terribly gored, three times. The worst was in Mexico City. When they carried him from the ring, he held his intestines in his hands and was screaming, “Me muero!, Me muero!” (I’m dying!)

From that point forward, his life and his career spiraled downhill. He began drinking, heavily, and was using cocaine. He got into numerous scrapes with the police. He became known for his violent temper. One of his sons died of a cocaine overdose. Eventually, Lomelín was convicted of rape. He spent a year in prison. When he was released, he announced that he was back in shape, off the drugs, and would return to the arenas.

But, it became obvious to everyone that he would never again realize the glory that had once been his. He seemed to have lost his courage and dedication. He no longer placed banderillas. His artistry began descending to tourist-pleasing tremendismo. The Antonio Lomelín who we had known and for whom we had cheered and cried, was a mere shadow of his former self, his former greatness. He became embroiled in the Hollywood scene. There were scandals with females. And, soon, he had once again slipped back into retirement and his former flamboyant lifestyle. He was finished as a torero.

For the next few years, he knocked around the Mexican bullfight scene, performing a variety of jobs, and reinforcing his reputation as a hard drinking playboy. For a while, he operated a restaurant in Acapulco, but it wasn’t a successful venture.

He had nothing to live for. And, last Monday, he reinforced that reality by leaving this life, either by his own hand or by that of the fates that determine such things.

Adios, Antonio. It was a good run. Now, the pressure is off.

Rest in peace!

Return to the Frontpage